September 19, 2020

House Republicans may not have effectively defended Trump but they excelled at faux-outrage, disturbing conduct

While they may not have convinced anyone to change their minds, House Republicans had many dramatic and disturbing moments.

Trump said Democrats “trivialized impeachment” after the House Judiciary Committee held their final vote at prime hours for public viewing on Friday morning. Although Republicans on the committee did their best to puff up, yell about unfairness, and anything else they could think of in the faux outrage category, they failed if the goal was to push the vote to the wee hours of the night.

Instead, Chairman Jerry Nadler, like a disciplinarian father, served up a well-deserved surprise to Republicans, possibly recognizing their true goal and closing the hearing just before midnight without holding the vote. That way, the hearing would reconvene in the morning, and the vote would take place when all Americans would have a better chance of witnessing it on live TV. Republicans who may have wanted to hold the vote at midnight were forced to reluctantly return on a Friday morning, the 13th.

“It is now very late at night,” said Nadler. “I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days, and to search their consciences before we cast their final votes.” So Nadler closed the hearing with the announcement that they would take up the vote at 10 AM and “let history be our judge.”

Throughout the day and into the night, Republicans had done their level best to obfuscate and derail the hearings on purpose, objecting and “striking the last word” after it took just ten minutes to read the articles of impeachment.

To be sure, Republicans offered no compelling evidence to disprove that Trump involved Ukraine in a quid pro quo to deliver dirt on his political rival, Joe Biden, in exchange for releasing financial aid.

According to the Washington Examiner:

“Trump’s withholding of military assistance from Ukraine involved improper delay of congressionally authorized federal appropriations that were not at his discretion, and it contradicted unified, public, official policy of the United States.”

But let’s give credit where credit is due. Republicans excelled at smarmy antics, bad faith arguments, and faux outrage

And the winner is…

Top awards for disturbing claims to Republican John Ratcliffe, who, according to the Daily Kos, proved Republicans are willing to endorse foreign election interference, which could be considered fascist.

Ratcliffe took the bait after Rep. Pramila Jayapal challenged her colleagues to defend the notion that any president could rightly ask a foreign government to interfere in US elections. Thus, he seems to argue that breaking the law to win elections is acceptable.

“This is the answer Rep. Jayapal was fishing for, and the answer that should alarm every voter: Yes, a House Republican is asserting that using the tools of government to extort foreign countries into granting personal favors is not just defensible behavior, but commonplace. From this we can assume with near certainty that Ratcliffe—and, presumably, Devin Nunes, and each member whose campaign may have been a beneficiary of Lev Parnas’ Russian cash—considers it acceptable to break those laws himself.”

The next award goes to the committee’s ranking Republican member, Rep. Doug Collins, who declared that impeaching hearings are why Americans don’t like Congress rather than their often disturbing conduct. His behavior was so bad that Republican strategist Rick Wilson dubbed Collins a “screeching, histrionic drama queen.”

Collins also dramatically stormed out the hearing after calling the impeachment articles a “pathetic argument” and “besmirking [sic] the dead” as Chairman Jerry Nadler looked on.

Wilson didn’t hold back in his comments about Collins on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour.”

“I don’t want to say that Doug Collins is a screeching, histrionic drama queen, because that would insult screeching, histrionic drama queens,” Wilson said. “…but this whole thing is a bad faith effort, performative in every way.”

“Every one of these guys on this committee, they’re out there waving their junk around to the maximum possible degree to distract from the fact that the president committed crimes, high and otherwise, in the course of trying to extort a foreign power to manipulate a United States election.”

 

Runners-up: Representatives Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, and Louie Gohmert

Self-described, “Florida man proudly serving the First District in Congress,” Rep. Matt Gaetz was like some sort of parody during the hearings. Below was his standout moment, when he was called on the carpet for his incredible hypocrisy after attacking Hunter Biden for addiction issues. See Rep. Hank Johnson from Georgia tell him like it is.

And who will ever forget the jacket-less Rep. Jim Jordan from Ohio? He introduced an amendment to strike “Abuse of Power” from the Impeachable Articles, somehow attempting to base it on truth and facts. However, Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) countered with “the fact that the aid was released after the president knew of the whistleblower.”

A memorable exchange between Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Jordan took place when she argued against Matt Gaetz’s statement that Trump really cared about Ukraine’s fight against Russia. Jordan attempted to derail her, but she would not allow him to.

“Why then did he decide he was so concerned about ‘corruption’ that he was not going to release military aid?” Jayapal said, prompting Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio to demand that she yield the floor.

“I am not yielding!” Jayapal exclaimed. “I am not yielding. I am not yielding.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Louie Gohmert is always there to make Texas proud. This time, his behavior helped inspire a wave of followers to join the Democrat running against him, Hank Gilbert. On Twitter, Gilbert went from 1,000 to over 8,500 followers in a few hours.

Gohmert’s worst moment came when he publicly named a person who he and Trump’s allies think is the whistleblower. On Wednesday night, Gohmert included the person’s name in a list of witnesses read aloud.

According to POLITICO:

“Gohmert did not identify the person as the potential whistleblower, but Republicans have demanded that the whistleblower be subpoenaed to testify, a call that Democrats have swatted away as irresponsible and even dangerous.:

“Democrats say any effort to identify the whistleblower could endanger the person’s life and chill future whistleblowers from revealing alleged wrongdoing in government.”

House Intelligence Chairman, Adam Schiff, has indicated identifying the whistleblower could be an ethics violation.


Featured image: Screenshots via YouTube

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