First up: Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union chatted with Still Not a Democrat Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders about (so-called) President Trump when Tapper asked about changes to the Dodd-Frank regulations.
You know, it's hard not to laugh to see President Trump alongside these Wall Street guys. I have to say this Jake. And I -- I don't mean to be disrespectful. This guy is a fraud. This guy ran for president of the United States saying "I, Donald Trump, I'm going to take on Wall Street. These guys are getting away with murder." And then, suddenly, he appoints all these billionaires. His major financial advisor comes from Goldman Sachs and now he's going to dismantle legislation that protects consumers...
So, I hope that all of those folks who voted for Mr. Trump because he - they thought that he would stand up for working people, man, this guy is - you know, he's a good showman. I will give you that. He's a good TV guy. Look at his cabinet. We have never had more billionaires in a Cabinet in the history of this country. Look at his appointees. These are people who are going after the needs of working families. the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. That is called hypocrisy. And by the way, I think people like Mitch McConnell...who is a mainstream conservative politician, are going to be put into a very, very difficult place.Next, we checked in with John Dickerson on CBS' Face the Nation, where VP Mike Pence was trying to defend his boss's indefensible comments to Bill O'Reilly about America, and Russia. ICYMI, O'Reilly asked if Trump respected Putin. Here's how it went
POTUS: I do respect him
O'Reilly: Do you? Why?
POTUS: Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with them. He is a leader of his country...
O'Reilly: He is a killer, though. Putin is a killer.
POTUS: A lot of killers. We have got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?Pence, for the defense, talking with Dickerson:
This is a -- this is an enormously important moment in - in the life of our - our nation on the world stage because we now have a president who is re-engaging a world from which America has been stepping back over the last eight years...Dickerson challenged again.
When you re-engage the world, you have to do it with a moral voice...I will quote from Bret Stephens who is on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, who tweeted "President Trump puts the United States on moral par with Putin's Russia. Never in history as a president slandered his country like this." A president speaks with a moral voice when he is re-engaging the country. He suggested America was on the equivalent par with somebody who was a killer.Pence:
I simply don't accept that there was any moral equivalency in the president's comments. Look, President Trump throughout his life, his campaign and this administration has never hesitated to be critical of government policies by the United States in the past. But there was no moral equivalency...What I can tell you is there was no moral equivalency in what the president was saying....but we recognize, we recognize the extraordinary superiority of the ideals of the American people and the implementation of those ideals. But...Dickerson asked, at least twice, whether America was morally superior to Russia. The first time, Pence reiterated Trump's re-engaging the world blather. The second time, when Dickerson applied a yes or no to the end of the question, Pence answered
I believe that the ideals that America has stood for throughout our history represent the highest ideals of humankind.Dickerson tried one last time, wondering if we shouldn't be able to just say yes to the question, that America is morally superior to Russia. Pence, one last time, failed to just give that simple answer
I think it is without question...That American ideals are -- are superior to countries all across the world. But again, what the president is determined to do, as someone who has spent a lifetime looking for deals, is to see if we can have a new relationship with Russia and other countries that advances the interests of America first and the peace and security of the worldAnd my patriotism is questioned?
Finally, on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace chatted with California Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Dem on the Senate Judiciary Committee, about the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as Trump's first SCOTUS pick. Feinstein is one of the senators still in office who approved Gorsuch's appointment to the federal appeals court bench by a unanimous voice vote back in 2006. Wallace asked if Gorsuch was a mainstream pick. Feinstein's answer?
Well, at this stage, I can't comment. Let me tell you where we are at this stage. Friday evening, the questions went out from the committee to the nominee. I view the minority party's challenge to do a full and fair hearing, and to have the time to garner the facts to really understand the history of this nominee. And we will do that. And I believe the chairman has given us the tine to do this, and also believes that the hearing should be full and fair.
If it's a product of this hearing, we make the decision that he is not in the mainstream of judicial thought, that there are some positions he holds which are, in fact, egregious - I do not know that at this time - then it's a different story. But I want the Democratic side to start out from a neutral base and really do the proper exploratory work and then be able to hold full and fair hearings. And we will do that.Hear, hear.
And with that, the classroom lights are off until next Sunday.