Distinguished pol of the week: Someone finally put their foot down observes Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post.
And with thanks to Sherry, Scriber’s Editor-at-Large.
There were many outstanding figures worthy of recognition this past week. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Sen. Rand Paul during a hearing on Tuesday that the Kentucky Republican didn’t know what he was talking about when he accused the National Institutes of Health of funding research that resulted in the coronavirus pandemic. “And I want to say that officially,” Fauci declared to the amusement of many tired of the persistent Paul’s unfounded accusations and belly-aching about lifesaving pandemic restrictions.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Wednesday said what any honest observer should acknowledge: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), given his peddling of propaganda about Jan. 6, would be unfit to serve as speaker should the GOP win back the House. “The rhetoric we have heard from the minority leader is disingenuous. … At every opportunity, the minority leader has attempted to prevent the American people from understanding what happened.” She added, “Any person who would be third in line to the presidency must demonstrate a commitment to the Constitution and a commitment to the rule of law, and Minority Leader McCarthy has not done that.”
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) outshone them all by deciding she would not allow two obstreperous Republicans to throw the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection into chaos. She accepted three of McCarthy’s appointees (one of whom voted against accepting the electoral count) but rejected Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) (infamous for shouting utter rubbish about Ukraine during the impeachment hearing) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) (who has absurdly tried to blame Democrats for the violence at the Capitol).
"As you know, well over 100 people were injured. Some died. It was a horrible, horrible thing. I’ll never forget the trauma it caused, not only for our members, but for our staff and for the people who work in the Capitol to make our work here possible,” Pelosi emotionally recounted at her Thursday news conference.
She offered a bipartisan commission to investigate the events. The Republicans in the Senate filibustered it. She offered a committee, but McCarthy offered two unhinged and unserious figures to serve on it. And even though she offered to keep his three remaining Republicans (and may appoint more Republicans), McCarthy withdrew all five in a huff.
Pelosi made clear she was in no mood to let the committee become a farce: “This is about seeking the truth.” She explained that given her “respect for the integrity of the investigation, with concern that the American people want to know the truth, and in light of statements and actions taken by them, I could not appoint them.” She added, “I said that while this may be unprecedented, so was an attack on the Capitol. I’m not going to spend any more time talking about them.”
Finally, someone is willing to put their foot down. Someone is refusing to let Republicans make a mockery of the House, of the investigation into the insurrection and of an assault on the Constitution. Republicans can try that routine on right-wing media, but not on a committee designed to hold people — perhaps some GOP members — responsible for an unprecedented, violent insurrection sparked by the disgraced former president and others.
Hopefully, the American people comprehend just how reckless, irresponsible and wildly dishonest the MAGA Republicans are. For defending the House, protecting the integrity of the committee and exposing McCarthy as a dangerous pawn in the former president’s attempt to undermine our democracy, we can say, well done, Madam Speaker.