Senator Chuck Schumer is no stranger to the limelight. In fact, where there is a camera often there is Schumer. This past weekend along the senior Senator from New York appeared on both NBC’s Meet the Press and CNN’s State of the Union. The morning of the Inauguration, there was Schumer again making his rounds to both MSBNC’s Morning Joe and CNN’s New Day.
Out of all those who participated in the Inaugural Ceremony beside President Trump, only Schumer made news after his remarks were received as partisan.
Schumer’s love for attention is nothing new among his colleagues in the Senate or those in the media. However, when Schumer tried to pull last minute switch on the voice vote of now confirmed CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Senator Tom Cotton appeared to have enough.
According to Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard, here is how the whole thing went down.
“According to six sources familiar with the negotiations over Pompeo’s confirmation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Republican leaders that he would allow Pompeo to be confirmed by voice vote on Inauguration Day, along with two other Trump nominees who have national security responsibilities.
According to sources familiar with the discussions, Schumer asked his Republican colleagues to delay Pompeo’s hearing for one day. Republicans agreed to delay Pompeo, whose team was happy to have an extra day to prepare. But the Republicans had a condition. If we agree to push back Pompeo’s hearing for a day, they told Schumer, you must agree to include him in the group of national security officials who will be confirmed by a voice vote on Inauguration Day, January 20. According to these sources, Schumer agreed, with alacrity, having secured the delay he’d sought.”
Hayes goes on,
“But on January 19, one day before Trump’s inauguration, Ron Wyden said he’d seek to delay Pompeo’s confirmation when the Senate convened late Friday afternoon. That evening Cotton, who is close to Pompeo from their time together in the House of Representatives, began calling his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee, including Wyden, seeking to avoid the delay. Some of the calls were cordial. Others were testy.”
The Senate reconvened after the inaugural ceremonies on Friday, with Pompeo’s nomination set to come up at 4:50 p.m. Cotton angrily confronted Schumer about his broken promise. According to witnesses, Schumer told Cotton to lower his voice and asked him move off of the Senate floor to an adjacent hallway for a private discussion. “We need to take this out into the hallway,” Schumer said. Cotton walked with Schumer but loudly rejected his first request. “Don’t tell me to lower my voice!” he shouted, with an additional salty admonition tacked on for emphasis. Burr and Cornyn were present, as was Senator Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several aides.”
You can actually see the exchange below.
If it was not bad enough that Schumer broke his word, he then went on to lecture Cotton about his whereabouts eight years earlier.
“Schumer told Cotton that the Senate had never previously confirmed a CIA director on Inauguration Day and if Cotton had been around eight years earlier, he’d know that Republicans didn’t extend that courtesy for incoming president Barack Obama. “Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan,” Cotton snapped. “So don’t talk to me about where I was eight years ago.”
Cotton is no stranger to good character. Before first joining the House of Representatives and then being elected a Senator from Arkansas in 2014, Cotton graduate from Harvard and Harvard Law School. He then stepped away from a lucrative clerkship with U.S. Court of Appeals and private law practice after the attacks on 9/11 to join the U.S. Army.
During those five years as an Infantry Officer, Cotton saw combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a platoon leader while also serving in the prestigious Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
I understand that the U.S. Senate is known as “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” Senators pride themselves on decorum and tradition. I also understand that when people reference that Washington is broken, this is what they are talking about. What makes Washington broken, are broken people. Lawmakers who lack honesty all for their own political gain.
Cotton and Schumer’s colleague in the Senate, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, summed this same point up last July, “lying matters, integrity matters, and woe to us as a nation if we forget this.”
It matters especially when referencing someone that fought for the right for the minority leader to even stand on the Senate floor.