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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson got a solid thrashing on Twitter when he posted a video of him calling President Donald Trump “the most transparent president in history.”

Johnson made the comments on Greta Van Susteren‘s show Full Court Press as part of a discussion of the coronavirus pandemic and Bob Woodward‘s bombshell new book, Rage, that was based on hours of recorded, on-the-record interviews with the president.

“I don’t think anything he says to any reporter, or reported in any book, really comes across as a surprise to anybody, because he’s already said it publicly,” said Johnson.

.@realDonaldTrump is the most transparent president in history.

— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) September 15, 2020

Johnson continued, giving credit to Trump for shutting down travel from China and Europe, and claiming “it’s the Democrats who weren’t taking it seriously — President Trump was.”

“As President, do you want to further panic the American public?” said Johnson, adopting an argument that was tried unsuccessfully by several Trump campaign and administration staffers. “The line between civilization and anarchy can be pretty thin in a case where the public panics. So I think it was the responsibility of the President of the United States to do what he did and I think  the administration did a great job.”

The trouble, of course, with Johnson’s defense of the president is that Woodward recorded with Trump’s knowledge and permission their mind-boggling eighteen interviews, and the news has been dominated for the past week with clips from those tapes — often followed by clips from Trump’s public comments directly contradicting what he told Woodward.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has been a repeat offender of this same flub, saying Trump “never downplayed the virus” when he literally told Woodward that’s exactly what he wanted to do, and then just in the past twenty-four hours claiming Trump has always said face masks are a good idea, when he said the opposite on an ABC town hall Tuesday evening.

Predictably, Johnson’s framing of Trump’s pandemic response as “transparent” and a “great job” struck many Twitter users as Manchurian-esque, evoking the classic film’s brainwashed characters who dutifully recite the line about their fellow soldier Raymond Shaw’s kindness and bravery when prompted.

I get the lying. The misplaced loyalty. Cowardice. Grandstanding. Demagoguery. That’s politics. What continues to astound me is the complete and utter lack of shame. The willingness to debase themselves for an unimpressive man they all hated four years ago. That part feels new.

— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) September 16, 2020

Back to reality, Donald Trump is still refusing to disclose his:
* Tax returns and financial records.
* His high school and college degrees.
* His medical records.
* His DNA.
* Phone transcripts of his phone calls with Putin.#TrumpHidTheTruth

— Republicans for Joe Biden (@RepsForBiden) September 15, 2020

Trump’s tax returns and White House visitor logs could not be reached for comment.

— Paul ???? (@pablo_honey1) September 15, 2020

Wow Ron you have gone full blown loony. Where are his tax returns? His Walter Reed visit? Did he sit with Mueller? Those phone calls with Putin? I could go on and on

— Suzanne Lindbergh (@suzannebuzz) September 15, 2020

Transparently corrupt, yes.

— Chris D. Jackson (@ChrisDJackson) September 15, 2020

He’s transparent alright. He’s doing his crimes right out in the open for all to see.

— James “Wear a Mask and Stay Away From Me” Morrison (@JamesPMorrison) September 15, 2020

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Sen. Graham reverses earlier statements, supports Trump filling SCOTUS vacancy

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham reversed earlier statements on Saturday and said he will support “any effort” by President Trump to seat another Supreme Court justice.

The support came as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his GOP caucus to “keep your powder dry” in regard to filling the seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader GInsburg’s death on Friday.

Separately, Maine Sen. Susan Collins said, “The decision should be made by the president who is elected on November 3rd.”

In a series of tweets, Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “The two biggest changes regarding the Senate and judicial confirmations that have occurred in the last decade have come from Democrats.”

The first was when former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the rules to allow a simply majority, rather than a super majority, confirm Circuit Court nominees. The second, Graham said, was when Democratic New York Sen. “Chuck Schumer and his friends in the liberal media conspired to destroy the life of Brett Kavanaugh and hold that Supreme Court seat open.”

“In light of these two events, I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg,” tweeted Graham, who is in a tight reelection race.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham


Maine Sen. Susan Collins

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September 19, 2020

The loyal Trump supporter told CNN in July that he didn’t know how practical it would be to try to fill a SCOTUS vacancy in the remaining months of the president’s first term.

He made a statement in late 2018 after the Kavanaugh hearings, “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election.”

In early 2016, while McConnell was blocking a vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, Graham supported the move and claimed that the Republicans were establishing a new rule that would “stand the test of time.”

“We are setting a precedent today, Republicans are,” he said at a Judiciary Committee meeting March 10, 2016. “Based on what we’re doing here today. That’s going to be the new rule.”

“If there is a Republican president (elected) in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say: ‘Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next President, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you could use my words against me, and you’d be absolutely right,” Graham said.

Collins, also in a tight race and trailing her opponent in several polls, said it’s an issue of fairness.

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“In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently — no matter which political party is in power,” she tweeted in a statement.

She expressed no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing a Trump nominee.

“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” she said. “In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the president or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also said it is too close to the election and the precedent set in 2016 should stand.

Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate, meaning that if four GOP members refuse to support Trump’s nominee, there would not be enough votes to seat a new justice.

Filed under donald trump ,  lindsey graham ,  ruth bader ginsburg ,  supreme court ,  susan collins ,  9/19/20

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