Editor’s Note: Say What? is the segment of Liberty Nation Radio where we unveil some of the most wacky, astonishing, and damnable things uttered by politicians and the chattering class.
Tim Donner: As Democrats tried for a second bite at the Trump impeachment apple, they had already managed to convince five Republican senators to put their stamp of approval on the whole proceeding. But not to actually convict the 45th president because an unattainable 67 votes would be required for the left to get what it wants, which is the verdict that Donald J. Trump will never again be allowed to run for office. No, this was all designed as a show trial, just like the first impeachment, but it was notable that two more Republicans decided to vote for conviction, bringing to seven the number of GOP senators defecting from Trump — first, it was Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy.
Bill Cassidy: I said I’d be an impartial juror. Anyone listening to those arguments, the house managers were focused. They were organized. They relied upon both precedent, the Constitution, and legal scholars. They made a compelling argument. President Trump’s team were disorganized. They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand. And when they talked about it, they glided over it almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments. Now, I’m an impartial juror and one side is doing a great job, and the other side is doing a terrible job on the issue at hand. As an impartial juror, I’m going to vote for the side that did the good job.
Tim: So remember that name. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is added to that of another surprise defector who ultimately voted to convict Trump, Richard Burr of North Carolina, along with Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and the expected trio of Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and, of course, Mitt Romney of Utah. We shall see how those votes go over with the 74 million people who voted for Trump in November.
But there’s no doubt the impeachment presentation in the Senate by lead house manager Jamie Raskin was power-packed. He described the moment he heard a sound on the day of the Capitol siege, sitting in his office with his kids.
Jamie Raskin: The sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. It’s the most haunting sound I ever heard and I will never forget it … The kids hiding under the desk, placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their goodbyes … watching someone use an American flagpole, with the flag still on it, to spear and pummel one of our police officers ruthlessly, mercilessly … People died that day … Two officers have taken their own lives.
Tim: That was just part of a high-intensity, though ultimately futile, presentation by Raskin. But it did not speak to the issue of incitement by former President Trump — on whether he’s to be held responsible for the actions of that mob of insurrectionists. And Trump’s enemies came up ten votes short of conviction.
Meanwhile, with more than a million people being vaccinated for COVID every day and cases falling in more than 80% of the nation and flat in the rest of the country, it was somewhat surprising to see Joe Biden’s Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg float and then hem and haw about the idea of requiring COVID tests for airline passengers, which the CEO of Delta Airlines, Ed Bastian, says is exactly the wrong thing to do at the wrong time.
Pete Buttigieg: The CDC is looking at all its options, but there’s got to be common sense, medicine, and science really driving this.
Ed Bastian: I think it’d be a horrible idea for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, we’re carrying as a U.S. industry over a million people a day on average. And that number is starting to grow again, which we’d like to see. Travel domestically and the air transportation system is the safest form of transportation. I think we all know that. Incidents of spread aboard any of our planes is absolutely minimal, and it’s hard to get tests. There’s days of delay still. I think it would be a logistical nightmare and would set, not just the transportation and travel industry back, but the whole hospitality sector, the hotels. It’d set us back at least probably another year in the region.
Tim: And speaking of the recovery, how long will it be before it’s safe to go back in the water, so to speak? How long, oh Lord, before we can rid ourselves of those godforsaken masks? Anthony Fauci says it’s all about getting as many people vaccinated as possible.
Anthony Fauci: I have used this as an estimate. It’s not definitive, that if we can get 70% to 85% of our population vaccinated and get to what we would hope would be, to a degree, of herd immunity, which really is an umbrella or a veil of protection against the community where the level of virus is so low, it’s not a threat at all, then at that point, you could start thinking in terms of not having to have a uniform, wearing a mask.
Tim: Fauci’s guesstimate is that we can probably go about our lives mask free by about November.
But while the news on the coronavirus continues to be encouraging as of this hour, the new president has started to deal with the fallout from some of his earliest actions. Foremost among them, the shutdown of construction of the Keystone pipeline and the many jobs created by it on his first day in office. And the head of the huge AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, tried his best not to attack Biden too hard about the impact on his union.
Richard Trumka: I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day because the Laborers International was right. It did and will cost us jobs in the process.
Axios interviewer: You think Biden realizes that that was a mistake, that announcement?
Richard Trumka: I think so, yes.
Tim: Biden continues to get pushback on his Keystone pipeline decision from many quarters — as he did almost right away on his statement about China this week, trying to separate himself from his predecessor as much as possible.
President Biden: We need not have a conflict, but it was going to be an extreme competition. And I’m not going to do it the way that he knows this, because he’s sending signals as well, that I’m not going to do it the way Trump did. We’re going to focus on international rules of the road.
Tim: That means the return of what I like to call the New Old World Order, where China is viewed by Biden and his administration as essentially a constructive, rather than destructive, force around the world. And the Republican senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, says, well, at least Biden is trying to sound a little tougher on China.
Tom Cotton: Look, it was a year ago this week that I started demanding investigations into the labs in Wuhan, and whether they could have been the source for the plague that China unleashed on the world. The media at the time hyperventilated that I was spouting conspiracy theories. Now they’re admitting it’s plausible, it needs to be investigated. Meanwhile, a year later, we’re still dealing with the fallout here in America. Our schools are closed and kids are not getting educated, in no small part because of Chinese communist malevolence and negligence.
Tim: Indeed, Biden will have to prove that he’s got a different view of and policy toward the Chinese communist rulers than when he said months ago that they’re good people.
And now that Biden is in and Trump is out, how’s the view from the people who held power under the last president? Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows says the difference is as stark as can be.
Mark Meadows: We see a Biden administration that’s very active, but not on behalf of the American people. It’s on behalf of special interests. We’ve seen it with all these executive orders and not only are they prepared with executive orders that were probably written by special interest lobbyists, but they’re going against the very heart of America. It’s going against energy. It’s going against our immigration policy. We also see the Biden administration coupling up with Iran, getting applause from the foreign minister of Iran for actions that they’re taking there. I can tell you, it is not about America first, it’s about America last. And we need to make sure that we fight back on behalf of the American people.
Tim: But first things first, Republicans have to decide who we is. Seven Republicans were fine with convicting Trump after he left office. And many others have made noises about separating themselves from the former president as the GOP spirals downward, desperately seeking their post-Trump identity.
Read more from Tim Donner.