Despite Buena Vista job losses, Cline stands with Trump on trade war

(Photo by WSET TV)

Despite the closure (due to Trump’s trade war) of the Northwest Hardwoods sawmill in Buena Vista at the cost of 30 jobs, Congressman Ben Cline said “he credits President Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge China for what he calls bad trade agreements that have hurt American industries.”

How many American jobs are you prepared to sacrifice in order to support Trump’s “challenge,” Congressman?

Cline’s form letter non-response

Replying to my recent message— asking Congressman Cline when he would start putting country above party and above his fear of being “primaried,” and stop overlooking Trump’s wild behavior and flagrant abuse of power– he has sent me the following unresponsive form letter.

October 4, 2019

Dear Mr. Zitver,

Thank you for contacting my office to express your opinion on the potential impeachment of President Trump. I appreciate hearing from you on this matter.

The potential impeachment of a President is a serious matter and must not be taken lightly, nor should it be used as a partisan political tool. Unfortunately, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I have witnessed Democrats on the committee repeatedly trying for months to find evidence to support a case for impeaching the President.

While there have been several resolutions introduced to authorize the initiation of formal impeachment proceedings, none has garnered enough support in the U.S. House to move forward. In fact, in a procedural vote that would have allowed impeachment to proceed, Congress voted 332-95 against the measure. Additionally, to appease certain elements within her own Democrat Caucus, Speaker Pelosi has now moved forward with an “impeachment inquiry” against the duly elected President without a vote of the full House. In every other impeachment effort, the decision to proceed was made by a majority of Members of Congress through a vote of the full House of Representatives.

In the meantime, our seniors are paying too much for their prescription drugs, our farmers need access to more markets, our immigration policies need reform, and our borders need securing. Unfortunately, all these issues will now potentially be sidetracked due to this partisan rush to impeach.

It is an honor to represent you and all of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance. To receive the latest updates from my office, I encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter at or like my FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Ben Cline
Member of Congress

The procedural vote on impeachment to which Cline refers occurred two months before the latest revelations on President Trump’s efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on a domestic political opponent.

Trump dismissed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s promise to work with him on  prescription drug prices and a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico as “camouflage for trying to win an election through impeachment.” That suggests an unwillingness by Trump– not Pelosi– to deal seriously on these matters.

As for immigration and border security, Trump thinks the solution lies in sharp spikes, moats filled with alligators and snakes, and shooting people in the legs. Do you agree with this approach, Congressman?

Congressman Cline, you write that it is an honor to represent me. The feeling is not mutual. It is not an honor to be represented by you.


Cline and Riggleman will hold town hall October 9 in Bedford County

Congressman Cline and 5th District Congressman Denver Riggleman have announced plans to hold a town hall meeting on Wednesday October 9 in Bedford County from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Bedford Campus of Central Virginia Community College, 1633 Venture Boulevard, Bedford, Virginia.

Bedford County is split between Cline’s and Riggleman’s districts.

According to the announcement:

Citizens of Bedford County will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall.

Constituents may register for the town hall here.

Perhaps some of our Bedford County readers can take the opportunity to ask Cline about some of the things he has said and done, as chronicled here and elsewhere, since he was sworn in as our representative in Washington.

Waiting to hear from Cline about Trump

As a constituent of Congressman Cline, I have just sent him the following message via his website.

Dear Congressman Cline:

In recent days President Trump has:

Accused Congressman Adam Schiff of treason and suggested that he be arrested because of the impeachment inquiry that he is leading.

–Warned of the possibility of civil war if he is impeached, a warning which Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger called “beyond repugnant.”

–Demanded to know the identity of the whistleblower who filed a complaint about Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine, drawing a rebuke from Republican Senator Charles Grassley.

So far all we have from you is a statement accusing the Speaker of the House of caving into “the far-left” of her party on impeachment, and dismissing the serious allegations against Trump as “rumors, phone transcripts, and third-party allegations”– allegations which the inspector general of the intelligence community called “urgent.”

My question for you– and I would like an answer for a change– is when will you start putting country above party and above your fear of being “primaried,” and stop overlooking Trump’s wild behavior and flagrant abuse of power?

Gene Zitver

Trump or the country? Cline chooses Trump

Based on his record, there was no reason to believe Congressman Cline would be anything other than a blindly loyal hyper-partisan defender of President Trump no matter how blatant his abuse of power.

First Cline shrugged off the serious evidence against Trump in the Mueller Report. Now he is determined to do the same when it comes to the even more alarming efforts to get the Ukrainian President Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden for possible use against Biden in the 2020 election– a flagrant case of seeking foreign interference in an American political campaign.

The release of what the White House claims is a transcript of a phone conversation between Trump and Zelensky leaves little question that this is precisely what Trump tried to do. And we still haven’t seen the complaint of a whistleblower in the intelligence community about this matter– a complaint which the intelligence community’s inspector general called “urgent.”

After days of silence on the matter, Cline issued the following statement (including of course the obligatory dig at the Speaker of the House):

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has caved to those on the far-left of her party who are demanding an official impeachment inquiry. She knows there is not enough support in the full House to pass a formal resolution of impeachment, so she has thrown her support behind the embarrassing spectacle of hearings that have been going on for months in the Judiciary Committee. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I have watched as the Democrats have failed repeatedly to build a case for impeaching the President, from hearings about nonexistent Trump-Russian collusion to the flop that was the Mueller Report. While the Speaker and her party are now focused on new rumors, phone transcripts, and third-party allegations involving the President, I remain focused on doing the job that I was elected to do by the citizens of the Sixth District. It is my hope that we can put aside these political games and work toward addressing the important issues facing the American people.”

Not a word on the indefensible actions of Trump and his administration. Just a pathetic effort to distract attention from one of the most dire threats in recent decades to our national security and our democracy.

Can anyone doubt how Cline would react if a Democratic president had done anything like this?

Cline may think that backing Trump is a matter of political survival. But as GOP political consultant Mike Murphy wrote:

In the wake of the president’s actions on Ukraine, the Republican Party and the officials who lead it must be brutally marked to market on the issue of Trump’s fitness for office. This test would create an existential question for every Republican senator and representative: Why am I here? To serve my future or my country?

I’m sure Cline would be happy to hear from his Sixth District constituents about this. If you want to contact him, you can do so via his website or by phone at (202) 225-5431.

Questions that Cline needs to answer. Now.

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin writes:

Republicans — any member of Congress and any Cabinet member — must be asked in any media or congressional appearance whether the “threat of withholding congressionally authorized funds to — in the Post’s words — ‘extort’ a foreign leader into investigating a domestic political opponent and his family” is impeachable. No hedging, no filibustering. The American people have a right to know if Republicans actually think this is acceptable. They should also be asked if the president has the power to prevent a whistleblower’s complaint from reaching Congress in contravention of the whistleblower statute. Until a firm answer to those two questions is obtained, the questioner should keep at it for as long as it takes to get an answer.

This, of course, applies to Congressman Cline. I hope our local media will take this seriously, and will put these questions to him at every opportunity.

Cline’s willingness to defend (or ignore) the indefensible when it comes to President Trump is well-documented here and elsewhere. But Trump’s efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election in his behalf, and the refusal to let Congress know the details, crosses all kinds of lines. If that pressure came with a quid pro quo (explicit or implied), it would be even worse.

For the president to use congressionally appropriated military aid as leverage to pressure another government to investigate one of his potential opponents in the 2020 election is a blatant misuse of power. If Mr. Trump promised aid in exchange for an investigation, it would represent direct collusion with a foreign government to help his reelection campaign. If the White House is now attempting to block investigation by Congress of that act by illegally withholding the whistleblower’s complaint, that would be another major offense.

Congressman Cline: Do you agree with Trump that “it doesn’t matter what I discussed” with Ukraine’s president? Even a highly partisan Republican like you must recognize the dangers that Trump’s actions pose to our democratic and Constitutional system of government.

He gets away with it only because you and your fellow Republicans are afraid to break your shameful silence.

Say something. Do something.