Virginia Senator Tim Kaine joined Chuck Todd this morning on Meet The Press to discuss the chaos going on in the White House. One of the biggest points was when Kaine actually said that his office and others are getting slammed with phone calls imploring them to resist Trump's nominees. Clearly, they are listening, they are getting our calls and are taking our concerns seriously.
Please keep calling your senators. Here is a link to the entire list of Senate members: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
Please keep calling, no matter what their political party. Many Republicans are feeling the heat from their more moderate constituents against some of the blatantly unqualified Trump nominees. In some cases, we only need 3 GOP to switch sides to prevent dangerous cabinet members from being approved (like DeVos).
Another huge moment was when Kaine and Todd talked about the omission of the word "Jew" from the Holocaust Remembrance Statement. Kaine actually went there, calling them "Holocaust deniers", which was a 'drop-the-mic' moment. Note, Todd didn't say a word to defend the White House. Considering the views of many in the White House (Bannon, Flynn, etc) it is a fairly reasonable expectation that they are anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers. But to SAY it openly, that's bold.
Thank you, Senator Kaine.
Here is part of the transcript of the exchange, although the video is actually a pretty excellent interview.
CHUCK TODD: Let me start with getting your reaction to this Executive Order and to Reince Priebus' defense of it. Is there any part of the idea of pausing the refugee program that you support, even if you don't support how President Trump worded it in this order?
SENATOR TIM KAINE: Well, Chuck, I'll just go right to what Reince said. He demonstrated complete confusion about what the order did because he went back and forth in the interview with you over whether it did or did not affect green card holders. It does affect green card holders and they're being caught up in it.
It affects people on special immigrant visas like interpreters who've helped the U.S. military in foreign countries. And now their lives are at risk and so we've given them a special status to come to this country. Who would help the United States if they knew we would abandon them when they're trying to come here? It's a religious test, as you pointed out. It imposes a different burden on Muslims than others. And the irony is not lost on me that it was issued the same day as the White House issued their Holocaust Remembrance Day proclamation that unlike any previous administration removed all reference to Jews. So you put a religious test on Muslims and you try to scrub reference to Jews in the Holocaust Remembrance. This was horribly, horribly mishandled. So it's not a pause in a traditional sense.
CHUCK TODD: Senator, that's a tough charge. You think it's more than a coincidence that it all happened on Friday?
SENATOR TIM KAINE: I think all of these things are happening together. When you have the chief political advisor in the White House, Steve Bannon, who is connected with a news organization that traffics in white supremacy and anti-Semitism and they put out a Holocaust statement that omits any mention of Jews.
Remember, earlier administrations have done these statements. And so the first thing you do is you pull up to see what earlier statements have said. And the earlier statements, President Obama, President Bush always talk about the Holocaust in connection with the slaughter of Jews.
The final solution was about the slaughter of Jews. We have to remember this. This is what Holocaust denial is. It's either to deny that it happened or many Holocaust deniers acknowledge, "Oh yeah people were killed. But it was a lot of innocent people. Jews weren't targeted." The fact that they did that and imposed this religious test against Muslims in the executive orders on the same day, this is not a coincidence.
Holocaust Denial 101 is to use the "All Lives Matter" type excuse, as Hope Hicks did in a statement:
Back to the interview. Todd brings up a tweet that former DNC chair Howard Dean sent to Kaine insinuating that Dems need to *DO* something. Here is how Kaine responded:
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you something that you tweeted about something you tweeted yesterday, you said this, "If we turn our backs on widows and orphans fleeing the very evil we despite we do not defeat our enemies, we surrender to them." Interestingly former DNC chair, Howard Dean, retweeted you but then said this, "Tim, this is great. But the Dems in the Senate actually have to do something about this stuff. You are being left behind by your base." How do you respond to Governor Dean on that, the implication being Democrats aren't doing enough?
SENATOR TIM KAINE: Hey, we're doing plenty. Two weekends ago, on Martin Luther King day, Democrat senators led 'Save our Health Care' rallies all over the United States. Tens of thousands of people participated. My colleagues and I were thrilled at this massive peaceful protest last weekend to hold the Trump administration accountable.
Many of us participated in that. We are holding Trump nominees' feet to the fire, demonstrating to the world that many of them are either unqualified or extreme or ethically challenged. And I'll tell you, Chuck, I have never seen calls to my office from folks the way I've seen them over these cabinet nominees.
And that's because a lot of us on the Democratic side are cast in a spotlight on what they're doing. The notion that, you know, there's a base and there's elected officials, we're all in this together. Here's what we think. Here's what we think, the Trump administration is posed to do horrible danger to our country, our values, our people and our reputation. And we're going to do everything we can in Congress, in the courts, in state houses, in ballot boxes, online and in peaceful protests to make sure that this administration doesn't hurt the country that we love.
Great interview, lots of interesting questions. Good to hear that the Senate is actually paying attention to our calls and that they are considering what their constituents are demanding. Let's keep the calls coming!