U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) on Friday tried once again to not actually answer reporters’ questions about his position on abortion. He narrowly escaped having to admit his actual beliefs, while trying to present a sufficiently far-right anti-choice message that might resonate with GOP voters, just two days after he announced a presidential exploratory committee and one day after being widely mocked for his word salad remarks on the subject.
It is a remarkable move for a Senator whose position for the past decade has been that life begins at conception, and embryos should have the full personhood protections of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In short, Senator Scott believes in a nationwide ban on abortion, likely a complete and total ban, but now that he’s likely to enter the race for the White House, he’s afraid to say so.
How do we know?
He told us, a decade ago, in this video of his 2013 speech before the Values Voter Summit, a right-wing annual conference sponsored by several anti-LGBTQ hate groups, a speech he linked to on his official government website, where he also states: “I regard all life as sacred, and am proud of our values and traditions. For this reason I am committed to protecting the unborn and continuing to take a stand in defending traditional and religious values.”
On Friday, Sen. Scott offered this compromise claim: “If I were president of the United States, I would literally sign the most conservative pro-life legislation that they can get through Congress.”
That’s what Senator Scott, who holds the most extreme abortion beliefs possible, told reporters Friday – while falsely claiming that “the people” have decided elected politicians should have the right to determine at what point an abortion ban should be implemented.
Potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) dodges when asked if he would sign a national six-week abortion ban as president, “I’m not going to talk about six or five or seven or ten.” pic.twitter.com/GHYvi3FUbj
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) April 14, 2023
He also sidestepped the question of medication abortion.
More from our interview with Tim Scott: I asked if he agreed with the abortion medication ruling, and whether judges should overrule the FDA. “I believe SCOTUS will take this issue” and find a solution. Watch: pic.twitter.com/ssMmxbbkof
— Caitlin Huey-Burns (@CHueyBurns) April 14, 2023
Scott refused to constrict himself to a six-week abortion ban, like the one Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis quietly in the dark of night with no reporters around, signed behind closed doors late Thursday night. He also refused to commit to the 15-week national abortion ban Sen. Lindsey Graham, his fellow South Carolina Republican, has proposed.
While taking the position that “the most conservative pro-life legislation that they can get through Congress” is wildly unpopular, Sen. Scott at least delivered it somewhat better than the statement he made when asked Thursday by a Newsmax reporter (video below) if he would support a complete federal ban on abortion (which he has said he would in the past.)
“I would simply say that the fact of the matter is, when you look at the issue of abortion, one of the challenges that we have, we continue to go through the most restrictive conversations without broadening the scope and taking a look at the fact that Thursday I’m a hundred percent pro-life,” Scott began.
“I never walk away from that. But the truth of the matter is that when you look at the issues on abortion, I start with the very important conversation I had in a banking hearing where I was sitting in my office and listening to Janet Yellen, the Secretary of the Treasury, talk about an increase in the labor force participation rate for African-American women who are in poverty by having abortions,” he continued, falsely characterizing the Treasury Secretary’s remarks, as he did during that hearting last year.
“I think we’re just having the wrong conversation. I ran down to the banking hearing to see if I heard her right. Are you actually saying that a mom like mine should have an abortion so that we increase the labor force participation rate? That just seems ridiculous to me,” Scott declared. “And so I’m going to continue to have a serious conversation about the issues that affect the American people. I want to start by pointing out the absolute hypocrisy of the left on the most one of the more important issues.”
“When you look at the issue of abortion, one of the challenges that we have is that we continue to go to the most restrictive conversations.”
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) April 13, 2023
Also on Thursday, Sen. Scott tried out for size answers on a 15-week or 20-week abortion ban.
2024 Watch-NEW Tonight: @SenatorTimScott tells @FoxNews during a stop in New Hampshire that there’s “no question” he would support a 20-week federal ban on abortion and would potentially consider a 15-week limit. https://t.co/UnwUPFDP1f #2024Elections #FITN #scpol #foxnews pic.twitter.com/i7XMjMiDER
— Paul Steinhauser (@steinhauserNH1) April 14, 2023
On Wednesday Sen. Scott tried this response to the critical issue of a woman’s right to choose.
GOP Sen. Tim Scott declines to say whether he supports Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposed 15-week federal abortion ban.@CHueyBurns: “If you were president, would you advocate for federal limits?”
Scott: “I’m 100% pro-life.”
Huey-Burns: “So, yes?”
Scott: “That’s not what I said.” pic.twitter.com/SjXUP0gqIh
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 12, 2023
Sen. Scott is taking a fair share of mockery and criticism.
CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere on Thursday tweeted, “Yesterday Tim Scott was evasive when asked if he’d back a national abortion ban at 15 weeks. This morning he said he favored one at 20 weeks. Now he says he’d consider one at 15 weeks. (In 2021, he co-sponsored a bill that would be a total national abortion ban.)”
In response, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison on Friday said, “The common thread on all of this is that Tim Scott supports a national abortion ban.”
Thursday night MSNBC’s Chris Hayes summed up the South Carolina Repubkican’s word salad responses: “Tim Scott’s answers were like the rhetorical equivalent of watching someone who is not very good at swimming—like a kid who’s just learned—desperately flail about in a pool looking for something to hold on to so they don’t drown.”
“If Tim Scott had $1 for every different answer he’s given on abortion this week he’d have a campaign war chest bigger than Trump’s and DeSantis’ combined,” snarked Max Steele, the communications director of the anti-gun violence group Everytown.
The American Independent’s Oliver Willis declared, “Tim Scott, who will not be the nominee, supports an unpopular federal abortion ban, just like all the other Republicans, and American voters – especially women- do not. Period.”
NBC News’ Lawrence Hurley appears to agree: “Seems a pretty clear statement that Scott would sign a strict nationwide abortion ban,” he tweeted.
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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‘I’m Broke’: One Day Before Shutdown and With No Plan McCarthy Says He Has ‘Nothing’ in His ‘Back Pocket’
Just 30 hours before his own Republican conference likely will have succeeded in shutting down the federal government of the United States, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy candidly admitted to reporters he’s run out of ideas.
Earlier Friday in an “embarrassing failure,” 21 House Republicans killed legislation from their own party, a short-term continuing resolution, that would have kept the federal government open.
Later on Friday afternoon, swarmed by reporters, McCarthy was asked if he was going to tell them what his plans are. He sarcastically replied, “No, I’m going to keep it all a secret.”
When pressed, he said he would “keep working, and make sure we solve this problem.”
“What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?” another reporter asked, pressing him for an answer.
“Nothing right now. I’m broke,” he admitted, apparently referring to options and ideas to avoid a shutdown.
But another reporter asked Speaker McCarthy the main question: Would he partner with House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to put the Senate’s bill before the House.
He refused to answer.
After Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) failed House vote to keep the federal government open…
Reporter: “What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?”
McCarthy: “Nothing right now. I’m broke.” pic.twitter.com/pB2SWhOSVr
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2023
Just before 5 PM CNN’s Manu Raju reported on the ongoing House Republicans’ closed-door meeting with the Speaker, a meeting where the 21 Republicans who will likely be effectively responsible for the shutdown reportedly did not attend.
“McCarthy is telling [Republicans] now there aren’t many options to avoid a shutdown, according to sources in room. He says they can approve GOP’s stop-gap plan that failed, accept Senate plan, put a ‘clean’ stop-gap on floor to dare Democrats to block it — or shut down the government.”
He adds, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) largely responsible for the impending likely shutdown and the impending possible ouster of McCarthy said: “We will not pass a continuing resolution on terms that continue America’s decline.”
At midnight Saturday Republicans will likely have succeeded in furloughing 3.5 million million federal workers – two million of them service members in the U.S. Armed Forces – and countless contractors, while financially harming untold thousands of businesses that rely on income from all those workers to keep running – unless Speaker McCarthy puts a bipartisan continuing resolution approved by at least 75 U.S. Senators on the floor, legislation every House Democrat is likely to vote for.
Should he do so, many believe he will have also signed his own pink slip.
But whether or not the government shuts down, and whether or not McCarthy puts the Senate’s CR on the floor, according to The Washington Post the far right extremists in his party are already moving to oust him “as early as next week.”
The Biden campaign is making certain Americans realize the blame for the impending shutdown sits at McCarthy’s feet.
Here is Kevin McCarthy a few months ago praising the deal he made with President Biden to avert a government shutdown, which he is now reneging on pic.twitter.com/B4rVNzNXkZ
— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) September 29, 2023
At 6:23 PM Friday evening, Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman wrote on social media: “HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PLAN TO KEEP GOVERNMENT OPEN.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
‘See How Easy That Is to Say?’: GOP Mocked for ‘Weaponization’ of DOJ Claims as Democratic Senator Gets Indicted
The U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed an indictment against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez late Friday morning, accusing the New Jersey Democratic lawmaker of bribery as prosecutors showed photos of gold bars and nearly half-a-million dollars in cash stuffed into a jacket that bears his name and the seal of the U.S. Senate.
Many on the left immediately demanded Senator Menendez resign, a demand he is refusing. He will step down as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, which Senate Democrats require when a chair is criminally charged.
It took little time for liberals to mock Republicans who have been claiming President Joe Biden and Democrats in general, along with the “deep state,” have “weaponized” the Dept. of Justice against conservatives, especially after Donald Trump’s four indictments on a total of 91 criminal felonies.
“Let me get this straight,” wrote journalist and progressive SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah. “To the GOP, when DOJ indicts President Biden’s son and a senior Democratic US Senator that is great. But when DOJ indicts Donald Trump for attempting a coup and for 32 counts of Espionage that is DOJ’s ‘weaponization’ of criminal justice?!”
“This is the second time that Sen. Bob Menendez has been indicted for corruption. He needs to resign and allow Gov. Murphy to fill that vacancy with someone who does right by the people of New Jersey,” wrote former Human Rights Campaign press secretary Charlotte Clymer. “See how easy that is to say, GOP?”
Journalist, author, and former Clinton White House aide Keith Boykin posted video of the prosecutor announcing the indictment.
US Attorney Damian Williams shows photos of the Mercedes Benz, gold bars, and cash the government alleges Senator Robert Menendez received in bribes. pic.twitter.com/h4hYYwzKVQ
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 22, 2023
Boykin later sarcastically commented, “There goes Biden again weaponizing the Justice Department to prosecute political leaders in his own party.”
“President Joe Biden’s weaponized Department of Justice has now indicted Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and *checks notes* Joe Biden’s son,” observed veteran intelligence officer, activist, and social media personality Travis Akers.
Attorney and former Republican George Conway quickly responded, saying, “senile sleepy Joe is playing 65-dimensional chess again.”
“Menendez should resign. Today,” demanded historian and author Kevin M. Kruse.
“One of the nice things about rule of law is that truly believing in it ensures that you don’t end up as a partisan hypocrite,” observed The Atlantic’s Brian Klaas, an associate professor in global politics at University College London. “If Menendez is guilty, he should go to prison as anyone else would. (And it would be prudent to resign swiftly).”
Meanwhile, some used Friday’s indictment of Sen. Menendez to focus on other political figures.
Foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf, warned, “The Menendez case should have Jared [Kushner] and Clarence [Thomas] ordering extra strength Tums today.”
Rachel Bitecofer, the political strategist and analyst also appeared to point the finger at Justice Thomas and his wife, Ginni.
You know who else hid money from the IRS and ran his bribes through his wife?! pic.twitter.com/kWJuAPCtbJ
— Rachel Bitecofer 📈🔭🇺🇲🇺🇦 (@RachelBitecofer) September 22, 2023
‘Total Breakdown’: House Sends Members Home – Experts Warn ‘Republicans Can’t Govern’ And Have No ‘Working Majority’
Nine days before an increasingly-likely shutdown of the federal government of the United States, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has effectively adjourned the House for the rest of the week, with GOP leadership telling members they may go home and come back next week, after a procedural vote to fund the Dept. of Defense failed for the second time this week.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram reports, “Note that the House has not officially dismissed everyone.. but everyone expects they are done for the week. Why? They House lacks the VOTES TO ADJOURN.”
He later added that “Things are very fluid,” and “there could be votes TOMORROW or this weekend still in the house. This could be a problem if some members already got on flights.”
Fox News online is reporting, “House abruptly cancels votes for the week without spending deal after series of defeats for GOP leaders,” and notes members are not expected back until Tuesday.
McCarthy this week has repeatedly denigrated and attacked the extremist members of the House Republican conference on camera to reporters, and Thursday was no different, saying, “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) blasted House Republicans upon hearing the House was about to adjourn for the week.
“What you need to understand is that chaos is the point for a big chunk of House Republicans. They came to congress to BURN THE GOVERNMENT TO THE GROUND,” the Connecticut Democrat wrote. “Their goal is a shutdown.”
The sentiment is being echoed by political experts, but many of those are placing the blame on Speaker McCarthy.
Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor to former Obama Cabinet secretary Julián Castro Thursday afternoon wrote: “Reminder: Kevin McCarthy could put a clean bill to fund the government on the floor right now and it would pass easily. Instead, he’s sending members home for the weekend with 9 days until a shutdown—all because he’s afraid he’ll lose his job.”
Evidence that the far-right extremist House Republicans, led by U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are effectively in control comes via Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman:
At 1:13 PM ET Sherman posted that Rep. Gaetz had “just emerged from” Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s suite. “Gaetz said that he’s advocating for pausing consideration of the Pentagon spending bill and moving to bills that cut spending. He mentioned: State-Foreign Ops, Agriculture, Energy and Water.”
Sherman noted that Gaetz “said again there are not enough votes” for a continuing resolution, legislation to keep the government open temporarily, possibly 30 days past the September 30 deadline.
“Just to review, the plan right now is to begin passing 11 appropriations bills with relatively open rules allowing for amendments between next tues (possibly wed) and Sunday.”
At 2:40 PM, Sherman added, “This is now the strategy. They’re going to bring up individual approps [appropriations] bills next week, per lawmakers who just met with @SpeakerMcCarthy.”
Others were less pleased.
Veteran foreign policy journalist Laura Rozen wrote: “truly insane. Mccarthy surrendered to Gaetz.”
Even before McCarthy adjourned the House for the rest of the week, political experts had warned the volatile situation was worse than it may have appeared.
Sherman, late Thursday morning, issued this warning on social media after the failed Defense Dept. vote: “Just to put this in context, republicans cannot even agree to debate the pentagon spending bill. This bill usually passes by big margins. It failed twice this week. Kevin mccarthys House Republicans are in a state of crisis.”
Josh Chafetz, Georgetown Law professor of law and politics, responded to Thursday’s failed Defense Dept. procedural vote, writing: “if you can’t pass the procedural stuff you don’t have a working majority.”
Aaron Fritschner, the Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) is calling the state of the GOP House a “total breakdown.”
“I started working in the House nearly 11 years ago, I’ve seen some crazy days and some chaotic votes but never seen anything like what is happening with this majority. Just a total breakdown,” he wrote Thursday morning.
Professor and American historian Aaron Astor on Thursday asked, “Does the GOP actually have a working majority in the House?”
Veteran journalist John Harwood quickly replied, “clearly not.”
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