Here are the 5 biggest right-wing outrages of the week: Republicans basically do everything except reopen the government

Here are the 5 biggest right-wing outrages of the week: Republicans basically do everything except reopen the government

This week, the main accomplishment of the GOP was to strenuously avoid passing any bill to reopen the government, as President Donald Trump continues to throw a temper tantrum over not getting his border wall. But a lot of right-wing politicians and pundits managed to draw attention to themselves in particularly awful ways.

Here are five of the craziest right-wing moments this week:

  1. Lindsey Graham lectures NAACP for not recognizing how good Republicans are at civil rights.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is now chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee — which was a recipe for disaster given his epic tantrum at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings last year. He got off to an awkward start at Wednesday's confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William Barr, by scolding NAACP President Derrick Johnson for not giving Republicans higher civil rights scores.

"I disagree with your scorecard rating, that I'm not a racist and I certainly don't know how to close this gap — I'd like to," Graham told Johnson. "You've got to ask yourself, why does every conservative on this committee — the best I can do is to get 22?" He also demanded to know how many NAACP delegates are Republicans.

Watch below:

If Graham really wants to know why he only scores 22 percent, he could just read the NAACP's report detailing votes affecting civil rights. For example, Graham voted to cancel protections for federal contractors, and assessments of school accommodations for minority and LGBTQ students. He also voted to confirm former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who doubled down on discriminatory drug laws and civil forfeiture, former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who supported environmental deregulation that harms the poor, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who gutted Title IX protections for women on college campuses and disability rights in public schools, and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who has shredded everything from collective bargaining to the right to sue employers.

As much as Graham would not like to admit it, a lot of the GOP agenda runs contrary to civil rights. Yelling at the president of the nation's oldest civil rights organization will not change that.

  1. Two GOP congressmen get caught hanging out with Holocaust denier.
If Republicans want to start being better at civil rights, maybe the bare minimum place to start would be not to pal around with Holocaust deniers — as Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Andy Harris (R-MD) were caught doing on Wednesday:

Chuck C. Johnson, a former Breitbart reporter who ran a far-right conspiracy site and was banned from Twitter for threatening to "take out" Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, is best known for a 2017 rant in which he said, "I do not and never have believed the six million figure. I think the Red Cross numbers of 250,000 dead in the camps from typhus are more realistic ... I agree with David Cole about Auschwitz and the gas chambers not being real."

When confronted about the interaction, Harris said, "I am unaware of his previous associations, but we had a discussion involving his business with genetic sequencing. Of course I disavow and condemn white supremacy and anti-semitism." But there is little excuse for GOP lawmakers to not know who Johnson is anymore, given that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and ex-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) repeatedly got into trouble associating with him as well.

  1. Fox News reporter randomly yells at pedestrians in Guatemala and calls them a migrant caravan.
The GOP's last-ditch attempt to spook people with xenophobic fears about the Central American migrant caravan failed to prevent their historic loss in the House. But Fox News is evidently trying once again to whip up a caravan panic.

Their attempts reached a new level of absurdity on Wednesday, when Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan reported live from Guatemala and decided to just randomly yell at pedestrians on the street, as documented by Media Matters for America.

"You really — as we can see, some more — it looks like very young men here — ¿Cuántos años usted?" he shouted at two people passing him on the street. "He looks to be about 16 or 17, most of them carrying just one sack. And strangely enough, a lot of the young men that I've talked to had absolutely no money in their pockets, for what could be a month-long trip."

Watch below:

It doesn't look like Harrigan had any reason for assuming these two teenagers were part of a caravan. He just seemed to reason that, caravans are from Guatemala, these two teenagers are from Guatemala, therefore these two teenagers are a caravan.

  1. Jason Smith screams at Democrats to "go back to Puerto Rico" on the House floor.
On Thursday, House Democrats considered yet another bill to reopen the government. And as Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) spoke at the podium, a Republican — later identified as Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) — shouted "Go back to Puerto Rico!" causing the House to erupt into chaos and anger.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) promptly condemned the remarks, calling for decorum:

Smith later apologized. He claims his outburst was not directed at Cárdenas (who was born in Los Angeles, not Puerto Rico), but was instead directed at Democrats in general, who sent a delegation of over 30 lawmakers to Puerto Rico last week despite the ongoing shutdown. Trump and the GOP have tried to paint this trip as some sort of beach vacation, although in fact the purpose of the trip was to meet with Puerto Rican officials and NGOs about the ongoing hurricane recovery efforts.

  1. Steve Scalise says it's Nancy Pelosi's fault the GOP doesn't elect more women.
A record 106 women are now serving in Congress — but the two political parties are very much not equal contributors. Of these 106 women, 91 are Democrats and just 15 are Republicans, the smallest GOP women's caucus to be elected since 1992.

And House Minority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) thinks he knows the reason why:

That's right. According to Scalise, the problem isn't that the GOP elected a president who grabs women by the pussy, or that they put an accused rapist on the Supreme Court, or that they oppose everything from birth control coverage to paid family leave. The real problem is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) won't allow Republican women to win congressional races. The GOP's failure to recruit women can only be blamed on ... a woman!

There are a few things that get in the way of Scalise's attempt to pass the buck onto Pelosi. For one thing, Republicans aren't actually running as many women as Democrats in the first place — 356 women filed to run in Democratic House primaries last year, versus just 120 for Republican House primaries. Of those filers, 183 women won Democratic nominations, and just 52 won Republican nominations. For another thing, polls show not only that women voters overwhelmingly prefer Democrats, but that Republican voters, both men and women, do not believe electing women is as important as Democratic men and women.

There is no doubt Pelosi is a politician of prodigious skill. But she can't claim all the credit for Republicans' loss of women from their ranks. They did that largely on their own.


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