May 27, 2018

Sunday School 5/27/18

I decided to give Chuck Todd and NBC's Meet the Press a visit today - the only classroom I visited on Memorial Day.

You may recall I ignored him last week because they had the non-Democrat from Vermont on the show, so I thought it would be in the spirit of fair play to drop in this week. The main guest today was Lame Duck Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake.

Flake talked a little about North Korea (denuclearization may not happen), and a little more about Chinese company ZTE (Flake is against a deal with them), but mostly about the president.

Todd played a portion of Flake's commencement speech to grads of the Harvard Law School - take a look:
How did we arrive at a moment of such peril - wherein a president of the United States publicly threatens - on Fox & Friends, historians will note - to interfere in the administration of justice, and seems to think that the office confers on him the ability to decide who and what gets investigated, and who and what does not? Obviously, ordering investigations is not a legitimate use of presidential power.
The questions to Flake were whether he believed that president Trump was abusing his power, if Congress would get to the point of doing something, and would that lead to an impeachment proceeding.
Well, let me just compliment the Congress in the last couple of days. The president had this diversion tactic, obviously, with so-called Spygate. I don't think any of us were referring to it in that way. But Congress said no. To have a briefing like the president wanted with just one party was not right. And so, it wasn't just some of the Democrats saying that was not proper, a lot of Republicans were saying that as well. So I, i saw the kind of pushback that we need to have. But it needs to happen more often. When the president says things that are totally wrong, it's the responsibility of members of Congress, particularly those in the president's party, to stand up and say "That is not right. Truth is not relative. And there are no alternative facts here. And I have seen instances where we haven't done that well. And we've got to to it better.
Flake also expressed some feeling behind the scenes that Trump might be "laying the groundwork  to move on" Robert Mueller or perhaps Rod Rosenstein, but that there was hesitance on some people's part to address his actions publicly. When asked where the hesitance might come from, Flake's answer was not really all that surprising.
This the president's party. And if you're running in a primary right now, and you stand up to the president, to stand up in some cases for empirical truth, then you have a -- you have trouble in the primaries. And that's no doubt. So i, I I do think that, you know, as we get through the primary season - perhaps, then many of my colleagues will find a voice. But right now, it's difficulty politically.
I don't know about you, but I think the commencement address, the comments on the Rs not pushing back hard enough on the president's lies, and that until the primaries are over, there shouldn't be any high expectations re: the Republicans are all spot on.

There was one last question; Todd wanted to know if Flake had completely ruled out running for president.
It's not in my plans. But I've not ruled anything out. I do hope that somebody runs on the Republican side other than the president, if nothing else, simply to remind Republicans what conservatism is. And what Republicans have traditionally stood for.
I'm going to leave it there. See you around campus.

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