The lucky winner today was CBS News' Face the Nation, with Major Garrett hosting. His guests were Kentucky's junior senator Rand Paul; Budget Director and acting head of the CFPB Mick Mulvaney, Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee, and House Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows of North Carolina.
Let's start with Mulvaney, who described the the Rob Porter situation as "reasonable and normal," much to Garrett's surprise. Here's how Mulvaney explained things:
The president had someone working for him who came to him and said, look, I have been accused of this. I have been falsely accused of this. Please don't believe it. It's not true.
If your cameraman came to you and said that to you, you probably would give that person the benefit of the doubt, or at least you would want to do that because you know that person and you trust that person.
That's what the president did up until the time that it became obvious, when the photographs came out, that the person was not being honest with the president. And that person after that happened, we dismissed that person immediately.
So, that's an ordinary, and it's a very human reaction to the set of circumstances. You don't want to throw people based just upon the allegation. But as soon as it became apparent to us that the allegations were true, Rob Porter had to go.Mulvaney failed to respond to questions about Trump's comments that Porter was denied due process and that hopefully he'll go on to great things, while his ex-wives, well, you know...
On the budget, he blamed the Democrats for the deficits. Here's that exchange.
MM: We were hoping that we could sit down with the Democrats and figure out a way to get additional funds to the military to respond to these threats. Publicly, the Democrats said they wanted to help fun the Defense Department. Privately, though, what they said was, they would not give us a single additional dollar for defense unless we gave them dollars for social programs
MG: You knew they were going to say that...
MM: Well, but publicly they were not saying that. Publicly they were saying they wanted to defend the nation. They all say that Democrats care as much about defense as Republicans do. But when the rubber meets the road, they don't. They held the Defense Department hostage, and we had to pay that ransom.Apparently, it seems, Mr. Mulvaney did in fact just fall off the turnip truck. Who knew?
Next up? Rand Paul, not in Kentucky but in Palm Beach - not sure if he was at Mar-a-Lago or some other swanky place. He was on the show to talk about deficits. Garrett asked him about the trillion-dollar Trump deficits, after Paul talked about going into office to fight the trillion dollar Obama deficits.
...I think one of the questions, see, Republicans, I think, are not willing to ask themselves is, can you be fiscally conservative and be for unlimited military spending? There's sort of this question, is the military budget too small, or maybe is our mission too large around the world? And because Republicans are unwilling to confront that, they want more and more and more for military spending...
I think the mission is beyond what we need it to be. We're actively in war in about seven countries, and yet Congress hasn't voted on declaring or authorizing the use of military force in over 15 years now.Garrett pressed him on his support of the Republican's tax cuts which also added to the deficit and to our debt problems, and how he reconciled that.
I think if you're for tax cuts and for increasing spending, that's hypocritical. But if you're for tax cuts and you're also for cutting spending a corresponding amount, see, I would offset the tax cuts with spending cuts. And there are a few of us that would actually do that.But, of course, the Senator voted for the Republican tax cuts, which had no spending cuts, just growth, growth, growth to make up for the $1.5T added to the deficit. Hmmm...
When we had the budget deal that lowered the taxes, I also had an amendment to look at and try to control entitlement spending at the same time to pay for the tax cuts. But, interestingly, I could only interest three other Republicans. We had four votes total to try to control entitlement spending. And that's where the money is.So, even if we have out of control military spending and unauthorized wars in seven countries, we need to cut domestic spending to pay for tax cuts. Hmmm...
Adam Schiff did his usual shtick about FISA and the Nunes Memo and the FBI and Mueller - nothing new there,so not repeating any of it.
Mark Meadows, on the other hand, is a fresher voice, and he's not happy with the Republican leadership
I can tell you, the real problem with this particular one is that our leadership caved, the swamp won, and the American taxpayer lost... At some point, we're going to have to say, Mitch McConnell, enough is enough. 51 votes on anything that is of national security interests, it is time that we change this. The American people, you viewers right now, could care less about the traditions of the Senate.What Meadows and others of his ilk don't appreciate is that many of us don't care a hoot about having a simple majority decide things as important as national security... And if Americans had wanted the Republicans to shove whatever they wanted down our throats, McConnell would have his 60-vote majority in the Senate. But I'm pretty sure that's falling on deaf ears, would you agree?
See you around campus.