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?

Sincerely,
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.

 

Cline again rejects gun safety laws

The day after the May 31 Virginia Beach massacre, Congressman Cline told a meeting of Republicans in Harrisonburg that when he entered Congress this year, he urged Republican leaders to appoint him to the Judiciary Committee and “task me with defeating gun control bills.”

They did, and he is doing his part.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee committee advanced three gun safety bills on Tuesday over unified Republican opposition.

The committee voted along partisan lines to approve “red flag” legislation that seeks to limit access to firearms for those deemed a risk to themselves or others. The committee also voted to advance legislation that would ban high-capacity magazines and another measure to prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing firearms.

Republican Rep. Ben Cline of Botetourt County, the lone Virginia lawmaker on the committee, voted against all three bills.

All three measures are likely to pass the Democratic-controlled House, but are certain to face a steeper climb in the GOP-controlled Senate, where Republican lawmakers have blocked efforts to enact tougher gun laws in recent years.

Cline will hold town hall September 9 in Page County

Congressman Cline has announced plans to hold a town hall meeting on Monday September 9 in Page County at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 621, 218 Veterans Lane, Luray, VA. The meeting is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., an inconvenient time for many working people.

According to the announcement:

Constituents planning to attend should register on Eventbright. Citizens of Page County will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall.

Perhaps some of our Page 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.

Cline stands with Trump on damaging tariffs

Despite growing and widespread anger among American farmers at President Trump’s erratic and misguided trade and tariff policies, Congressman Cline says farmers believe Trump is on the right path.

“The farmers who I talk to want to give him a chance to get a better deal with China,” Cline told radio station WFIR last week.

Really, Congressman? How many farmers have you talked to about the tariffs? Do all of them share this view?

Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin is skeptical.

You know the setup — a sturdy farmer suffering from Trump-imposed tariffs grits his teeth and says he’s hurting but, by josh, he’s not parting with Trump whom he trusts to do the right thing. We are to conclude that Trump possesses magical political power, that farmers are too dumb to know what’s good for them or both.

Well, it turns out Trump has no magic, and farmers know exactly what the president is doing to them. MSNBC on Monday interviewed Bob Kuylen, vice president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, who explained that his wheat farm, which depends on overseas markets, has lost $400,000 because of the administration’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and subsequent trade wars. During another interview, Christopher Gibbs, a soybean and corn farmer in Ohio, ridiculed Trump’s farm bailouts — which he called “hush money” intended to “sedate” farmers — and made clear that taxpayers are paying for this, not China. He, too, is losing money.

Last month Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner expressed concerns about how Trump’s trade war with China is affecting farmers and others in Viriginia.

“What creates recessions? Uncertainty, trade wars can create recessions,” Sen. Kaine said.

The two spoke before the business community at a Hampton Roads Chamber event. Both agree China is a problem, but think the U.S. needs to work with other countries in addressing them.

“This president tends to do everything on his own and that means the trade war with China is dramatically hurting, for example, Virginia farmers,” said Warner.

Despite massive evidence to the contrary, Cline assures us that Trump understands all the complexities involved in the trade war and knows exactly what he is doing:

I think we’re in a constant state of change and modification so that the President is on top of where all the different markets are, what’s going on with our relationship with China, what’s going on with their relationship with other countries, whether it’s Japan or South Korea or North Korea, making sure that America comes first, that American farmers come first, that American consumers come first.

Jennifer Rubin has an apt observation:

Republican red-state congressmen and senators are so busy fawning and kowtowing to Trump, excusing his ignorance and craziness, and straining to avoid mean tweets that they have, along with Trump himself, failed some of the most reliable Republican voters in the country.

Cline will hold town hall September 6 in Rockbridge County

Congressman Cline has announced plans to hold a town hall meeting on Friday September 6 in Rockbridge County at Shenandoah Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1499, 105 Memorial Lane (just off East Midland Trail between Lexington and Buena Vista). The meeting is scheduled for 4:30 to 6 p.m.

According to the announcement:

Constituents planning to attend should register on Eventbright. Citizens of Rockbridge County will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall.

Perhaps some of our Rockbridge 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.