The election of a man with multiple personality disorders to be the highest office in the United States, the huge turnout for Woman’s March on Washington and its sister marches has inspired Resist Trump Tuesdays to protest this repugnant man and his anti-democratic policies. This past Tuesday there were over 10,000 people at Senate offices across the country to protest Donald Trump’s #SwampCabinet
Over 200 actions took place nationwide, targeting Republicans and Democrats alike.
“Activists urged Democrats to use every tool in their toolbox to delay and stop these dangerous nominees, including praising all of the Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for voting against Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, who has well-documented ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, marking the first time a nominee for Secretary of State doesn’t have support from both parties in decades,” the organizers wrote.
“At Republican offices, activists conveyed the need to oppose these nominees—marred by conflicts of interest, potential ethics violations, and extremism—or else prove that the promise to ‘drain the swamp’ was a lie,” the campaigners added.
The actions were part of a weekly protest campaign, called “Resist Trump Tuesdays,” which was started by the Working Families Party of New York during Trump’s transition.
New York’s very own Chuck Schumer is the Senate Minority Leader, a position that ought to make him a leader of the political resistance to the Trump agenda. In media appearances, he’s doing his best to sound the part. Trump is “using populist rhetoric to cover up a hard-right agenda,” Schumer told CNN on Sunday. “We certainly feel that we have to bring to the American people how different this Cabinet is — how hard-right, how many conflicts of interest, billionaires.”
So far though, Schumer’s tough talk doesn’t square with his voting record. As of now, the Senate has voted on three of Trump’s nominees: General James Mattis for the Department of Defense, General John Kelly for the Department of Homeland Security, and Mike Pompeo for the Central Intelligence Agency. Schumer has voted for everysingleone of them, and, absent meaningful opposition, each of them has been confirmed. Trump is batting 1000 at assembling the cabinet he wants.
Schumer has spoken critically about many of Trump’s nominees, has declared his intention to vote against Trump’s Attorney General nominee, Jeff Sessions, and has promised to oppose at least eight or nine other nominees. But the ones he’s already let in the door are hardly innocuous characters.
Pompeo believes Trump’s government should maintain a robust intelligence database of American’s financial information and “lifestyle” details and has refused to rule out a regime of government torture. Mattis, as a freshly retired general, is such a glaring deviation from the principle of civilian control of the military that he required a special waiver from the rule against military self-rule. Kelly, another general, may not be the very worst person you could imagine implementing Trump’s promised reign of immigration-enforcement terror, but neither has he given any reason to believe he’ll resist it.
Schumer’s fine with that. “I looked at their records … and I think they’d be very good,” Schumer said of Mattis and Kelly.
In some instances, it seems Schumer isn’t just voting for Trump nominees, he’s inclined to help Team Trump speed their passage through the Senate with a minimum of scrutiny. In Pompeo’s case, Senate Republicans schemed to push his confirmation through the full Senate without even waiting for a vote by the Intelligence Committee. A handful of Democrats — Ron Wyden of Oregon, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — objected to the railroading, forcing the Senate at least to provide a measly six hours of questioning in advance of the confirmation vote.
But even that weak gesture could apparently only be made over Schumer’s objection. Senate scuttlebutt has it that “Schumer wanted to confirm Pompeo, but worked instead to accommodate Wyden, Leahy and Blumenthal,” according to Politico. After the senators negotiated for a more expansive six hours of debate yesterday, Politico reported, “Wyden leaned into Schumer and told him: ‘Much better.'”
That the leader of the Democratic opposition had to be led by the nose to demand a bare minimum of legislative oversight before co-signing on someone who pointedly refused to disavow American torture chambers raises the question: If this is what resistance looks like to Schumer, what distinguishes it from collusion?
The Village Voice, where this article appeared, requested a response from Sen. Schumer. They received this explanation from his spokesman:
“Senator Schumer is leading the effort to put a spotlight on each and every cabinet nominee so the American public can hear what these nominees actually believe. This process has unearthed serious ethical problems with nominees and showcased beliefs that go directly against what the President promised the American people during his campaign. In cases where those stark contrasts are revealed, or those candidates are in opposition to core values, the Senator will vote ‘no,’ and urge his Republican colleagues to do the same.”
Obviously, supporting torture, CIA black sites, militarizing the Mexican border, deporting millions and targeting Muslims are not stark enough for Sen. Schumer.
The Resistance must continue and it starts in your home town and state. Here is who to contact to join Resist Trump Tuesday in your area.
Stacey Mink, Working Families Party, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-790-9913
Kathy Mulady, People’s Action, email@example.com, 206-992-8787