Christian conservative senator slammed for anti-democracy ‘fascism’ tweet
U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), a far right wing religious extremist, is under fire after posting tweets attacking democracy. Lee, who recently announced he has contracted COVID-19, posted several tweets during the vice presidential debate Wednesday night, declaring, "We're not a democracy," and "Democracy isn't the objective."
He also suggested there are other political systems better at achieving his goals of "liberty, peace, and prospefity [sic]."
Lee, a 49-year old Tea Party Republican is seen by the Republican Party as a constitutional scholar. He is on President Donald Trump's short list of nominees to be Supreme Court justices. A Justice Mike Lee would "make conservatives really happy," said religious right pundit Erick Erickson in 2018. Trump went as far as interviewing Lee for the job that year, but went with Brett Kavanaugh.
Now Senator Lee is under fire. Some are calling his remarks pro-fascism, some note their origins in the racism and slavery of the Founders, and some "praise" him for revealing the GOP's hidden goals.
In response to Lee's anti-democracy tweets, Bloomberg opinion columnist Jonathan Bernstein today wrote, "my question to Lee and anyone else who trots out this idea would be: If we're not to have rule of the people, who exactly should rule? Throughout American history, from the Framers up to the present, the answer has always been the same: the people."
New York magazine's Jonathan Chait wrote Lee says he "hates democracy."
New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie delivers a dire warning, writing, "something can be 'constitutional' while being plainly anti-democratic and it's imho the mike lee's of the republican party are laying the groundwork to defend exactly that."
Freelance journalist and investigative researcher Olga Lautman, who monitors Russia and Ukraine, weighs in on Lee's remarks, writing, "Democracy not being the objective is the official Kremlin line."
And over at Twitter, Senator Lee is a trending topic.
New York Times opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof, who focuses on human rights and social injustices around the world, likens Lee's remarks to those of the Chinese Communist Party:
I've often heard Chinese Communist officials poo-poo democracy, but it's sad to hear the same from a Republican sen… https://t.co/hAYZU1oOZ1— Nicholas Kristof (@Nicholas Kristof)1602168017.0
Heather McGhee, Board Co-Chair at Color of Change, NBC News contributor, and and a former president of the think tank Demos:
Mike Lee's comment is not as fringe as you think in the GOP. The vision is wealthy white male rule; "democracy" is… https://t.co/GkjYfA6x8y— Heather McGhee (@Heather McGhee)1602168792.0
Seth Cotlar, who teaches American History at Willamette University, apso points to the racist undertones and origins of Lee's remarks.
The John Birch Society, which pioneered the “we’re a republic not a democracy” meme that Mike Lee echoed yesterday,… https://t.co/XGTDVdPHcZ— Seth Cotlar (@Seth Cotlar)1602166846.0
I'm grateful Mike Lee came out explicitly opposing democracy so we can talk about Trump, Republicans as fascists, o… https://t.co/brgN5p89vk— Jared Yates Sexton (@Jared Yates Sexton)1602169070.0
NBC News national security contributor, former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figluzzi:
@SenMikeLee “Democracy isn’t the objective”. Our suspicions are confirmed.— Frank Figliuzzi (@Frank Figliuzzi)1602162424.0
Actress, singer, activist Audra McDonald:
So since Mike Lee doesn’t believe in democracy he should probably resign from his democratically elected seat. https://t.co/gDujYrYFY3— Audra McDonald (@Audra McDonald)1602169542.0
Journalist Jamison Foser notes the racism in Lee's remarks:
See if you can spot Mike Lee’s tell. https://t.co/xnGTh1Fllv— Jamison Foser (@Jamison Foser)1602170969.0
New York Times contributing writer, and founder of ReCode, Kara Swisher:
GOP platform 2020 via Mike Lee: Democracy bad. Creepy and incessant mask-free hugging in a pandemic good. https://t.co/27UNASSFMY— Kara Swisher (@Kara Swisher)1602171047.0
Journalist, SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah:
Thank you Trump for emboldening other Republicans like Mike Lee to make it clear the GOP opposes democracy. The GOP… https://t.co/YGlOC7KuBw— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@(((DeanObeidallah))))1602166757.0
Former U.S. Attorney, national security prosecutor Barb McQuad, now a University of Michigan Law professor and NBC News, MSNBC legal analyst: