In an interview with Mother Jones, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Investigative Committee, said his Republican colleagues have become “a cult of” President Donald Trump and won’t acknowledge facts.
Asked what he imagined after Trump was acquitted during his impeachment trial in February and how that “square[s] with what’s happening now,” Schiff responded: “I don’t think anyone anticipated that we would very soon lose more lives than we did during the Vietnam War, and it’s due to the incompetence and maladministration of this president. We grossly underestimated the damage that he could do.”
“When you talked to my colleague David Corn during the impeachment hearings, you were shocked that it was quite obvious that when you started making your arguments to the Senate, that they hadn’t watched the house hearing, and not just hadn’t watched the full of them, but seemed to have it all kind of mediated through Fox,” said interviewer Sam Van Pykeren. “Do you feel that that’s going on with this crisis?”
“House Republicans have become such a cult of the president that they’re not even capable of acknowledging the facts staring them in the face,” said Schiff. “We had to operate from the premise, which turned out to be all too accurate, that the senators were really not watching the hearings in the House. They were getting the topline from Fox, which was completely misleading.”
“Have you seen any conciliatory movement within the California delegation when it comes to the pandemic? Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes—do the two of them, and you, and Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters ever come to any agreement about what needs to proceed in terms of representing the state of California?” asked Van Pykeren.
“I will say it’s been one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had of the Trump administration, and that is, I had a much higher view of my Republican colleagues of their commitment to their own ideals, of their commitment to the constitution,” Schiff replied. “They don’t represent the Republican party anymore. They represent a cult of personality of the president. And so, I do think when the president is gone, I have to hope that they will return to being Republican once again.”
Schiff went on to say that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed inequities in American society and praised the approach in European and Asian countries, particularly the decision by many governments to guarantee “payroll for businesses, large and small.”
“That seemed to me much more equitable, much more efficient. You didn’t need a separate program for small business and one for large industry,” he said. “You didn’t need to overwhelm unemployment compensation. You didn’t need to have so many people unemployed. And when this virus does pass, then who have to now go and find employment because people got to retain the jobs they had, even if they couldn’t perform the work right now.”
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