Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich exposes the shameful priorities of Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans during the coronavirus crisis.
GOP senators are refusing to extend expanded unemployment benefits, proposing instead to cut them down by $400 a week out of concern for the national debt. But the debt didn’t seem to matter to them when they passed a $1.9 trillion tax cut for the wealthy and corporations in 2017.
That’s just the beginning of the GOP’s handouts for the super-rich and big corporations. As soon as the pandemic hit, McConnell and Senate Republicans were quick to give mega-corporations a $500 billion blank check, while only sending Americans a paltry $1,200 check.
And as the virus surged and the economy cratered, McConnell called the Senate back into session only to confirm more of Trump’s extremist judges and advance a $740 billion defense spending bill. Throughout it all, McConnell has insisted his priority is to shield businesses from COVID-related lawsuits by customers and employees who have contracted the virus.
Time and again, they’ve shown that they only care about their wealthy donors and corporate backers. If they had an ounce of concern for the nation, their priority would be to shield Americans from the ravages of COVID and American democracy from the ravages of Trump. But we know where their priorities lie.
Mitch McConnell’s Do Nothing Republicans
Mitch McConnell’s Do-Nothing Senate Republicans have refused to serve as a check on Donald Trump’s power or take up the nearly 400 bills passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. Fortunately, voters can send many of them packing come November.
The Lincoln Project generated strong criticism within Republican circles a few weeks back for “going after” a member of the Republican majority in the Senate including an ad comparing Sen. Susan Collins unfavorably to past senators from her state of Maine, including Margaret Chase Smith — best known for being one of the few Republicans to stand up to Joe McCarthy and McCarthyism.
Chase Smith was fearless and will be forever remembered for her “Declaration of Conscience” speech in which she called out national leadership and declared the rights to protest, criticize and hold independent thoughts as basic principles of “Americanism.”
It is hard for any serious student of history to deny the common themes of McCarthyism and Trumpism. Both are constructed on a foundation of “us vs. them,” suspicion of those who were not born in America, attempts to silence protest and dissent, and demonizing those who hold independent or unpopular beliefs.
Margaret Chase Smith was a heroine of freedom. Susan Collins is not. And neither is any other Republican currently serving in the Senate, with the exception of Utah’s Mitt Romney.
Living in fear of a mean Trump tweet
The Republican majority in the Senate has become nothing more than protection racket for a president who has repeatedly declared he would accept foreign assistance in his campaigns and was impeached for trying to get a foreign leader to help him win.
And the Republican Party is angry that some of us refuse to go along for the ride. That includes the Lincoln Project, which is dedicated to the electoral defeat of Trump and Trumpism.
Donald Trump’s three-and-a-half years in office have been a relentless assault on the foundational principles of American democracy. He has driven the divides within our communities, undermined our ability to stand as an example to other nations, and battered our Constitution to within an inch of its life.
The president has sought to isolate our nation from our allies, cozied up to tyrants and dictators and defended white nationalists. He has attacked the free press and our right to protest and fired a military colonel for telling the truth about Trump’s corruption.
Last year, in a shocking action during these times of confirmed, corrupt attempts by America’s enemies to influence the outcome of our presidential elections, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, blocked a requirement that political campaigns report offers of assistance from foreign nations to the FBI. Trump thanked her publicly.
Now he is so mismanaging our response to a global pandemic that we have lost over 155,000 American lives.
Rather than strengthening their resolve to preserve the great ideal of America, Republican senators have become progressively more anemic in their response to this wannabe strongman of a president. They have become puny and faint-hearted, spineless and weak-willed. They have proven they are not worthy of the constitutional responsibilities bestowed upon them by their election to the esteemed United States Senate.
Worst of all, for over a year, Trump has ignored U.S. intelligence assessments that Russian President Vladimir Putin may bepaying bounties to the Taliban for killing our soldierson the battlefield. Every day, hundreds of thousands of America’s sons and daughters wake up prepared to give their lives in defense of our nation, in defense of you and me and our families, and Republican senators remain feeble and limp before this president, living in fear of a mean tweet.
There are no such heroic voices among the Republican senators up for reelection today.
They have been cowed by this president. They have been silent when the country needs them to speak, weak when our nation needs their strength. And every one of them should expect to be held accountable one way or another. The Susan Collins ad will not be The Lincoln Project’s last one reminding voters of these Republican senators’ fealty and weakness.
Voting against a bill that would have failed anyway, opposing a procedural motion and dismissing the president’s threatening tweets as “jokes” does not excuse their feebleness in face of the grave danger Trump poses.
Elections are about leadership and accountability. Republicans will pay a price for lacking both.