Monday, 22 January 2018 15:31

No new day as Sen. Kennedy soft on Trump, McConnell on shutdown credibility

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trump kennedy new dayWe need to know where Louisiana’s US Senator John Kennedy stands on President Donald Trump and on the issues in Congress, specifically, now, the government shut down.

Today, once again on CNN’s New Day, the freshman US Senator was asked about the shutdown.


The Republicans and President Donald Trump claim that the Democrats are weak on the US military but strong on illegal immigration, despite the fact that the Republicans turned down an amendment Saturday morning to fund the military salaries while the shutdown continued. Thus, while the Democrats are responsible for starting the shutdown which led to the non-payment to the military, the Republicans by their refusal to legislation on the issue have assumed the blame on that specific issue.

In this morning’s New Day segment, Kennedy and Chris Cuomo discussed whether the shutdown might end.

This is the exchange:

CUOMO: You think that there is a chance that this shutdown ends with his vote at high noon
KENNEDY: Nobody knows the answer to that Chris. here here's what I heard, speaker, Leader McConnell pose last night. He said the Democrats agree today to open government back up until February 8th. From then until now we will not negotiate a budget and will negotiate an immigration bill of which DACA will be a part. If we don't agree on either one of those on February 8th, the Democrats will have to agree to another CR to keep government open again. If that happens, Senator McConnell will put on the floor a bill that everybody can offer amendments to dealing with DACA but dealing with all the other issues pertaining to immigration. Now that's what I heard him say.

CUOMO: I gotcha. Now, do you know where the president is on these issues and has he been helpful to you on these issues and has he been helpful to you in your process

KENNEDY: I do not know for the president is, I don’t think we should wait for the president, presumably he's thinking it he’s watching it to see what we're doing. The executive branch as you well know is separate from the legislative branch. And it's our job to fund government and keep government open and I don’t think we should spend a lot of time waiting to hear from the president. He, he he'll weigh in when he's ready to weigh in. I understand the Democrats concerns—is--well, will the president sign a bill if it passes the Senate and will the House of Representatives pass it. But nobody can make a guarantee like that, there are no guarantees in terms of a bill passing

In essence, what Kennedy appears to be saying is that he and other Republicans expect Democrats to lift the shutdown in exchange for a commitment that the parties will continue discussing the immigration reform of which DACA is a part. Should  February 8th pass without an agreement, the Democrats would continue negotiating and at some point in time, date uncertain, McConnell will put a bill on the floor where everybody can offer amendments.

But, what exactly did McConnell say?

McConnell said from the Senate floor Sunday night that "should these issues not be resolved by the time the funding bill before us expires on February 8, 2018, assuming that the government remains open, “it would be my intention to proceed to legislation” that would address (the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program), border security, and related issues." (Bold for emphasis)

McConnell did NOT say he would proceed with legislation at all. Instead, he waffled and said, “it WOULD be my intention”.
Ok, that is not even firm enough of a commitment as if he said, “I intend to proceed with legislation”, as we all know what happens when politicians say they intend to do one thing or another. In this case, he qualified that vague commitment to say, “I would intend”. So, what does the Majority Leader agree to do?


The Democrats feel burned by President Donald Trump and the Republicans. This type of promise is meaningless. They want to know what the Republicans will do and what the President will do before committing. After all, as Lindsey Graham said this weekend, the bipartisan group on immigration thought they had a deal with the President until they didn’t, until the hard right got to Trump. Twice. Even Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that he doesn’t know what the President will agree to on DACA and it would be very helpful to know. 


But presumably, Senator Kennedy feels that the Democrats should trust the “would be my intention” as a commitment. Worse, he now believes waiting to see what the President has to say is perfectly appropriate.

Yet, that is not how he felt on Friday.

During his appearance on New Day last week, Cuomo and Kennedy addressed Trump’s “evolving” positions:

Here is a rough transcript of the conversation with Chris Cuomo.
CUOMO: is the president in favor of Chip extension, Child Healthcare program extension?
KENNEDY: I think so
CUOMO: you think so
KENNEDY: The president changed his mind. I think so. The president changed his mind on immigration. Yes now there's nothing wrong with that, thinking people change their minds all the time. You do, I do, most Americans do-- when they test their assumptions against the arguments of others.

Having said that, we need to know where the president stands because let's suppose we reach an agreement where the Democrats, and I think we will-- I want to know if the president is going to sign it and I respectfully ask him to please put on the table exactly what he would accept. If he changes his mind after he puts it on the table, pick up the phone and call and say "hey I changed my mind on this but let's talk"
CUOMO: Why hasn't that happened he's supposed to be Master of the art of the deal and it seems like he's just injecting confusion as opposed to any kind of conciliation?
KENNEDY: Well I don't know, it could be a number of things. I honestly don't know. I probably shouldn't speculate but it could be because he's getting conflicting advice. He could be using it as and negotiating tactic, you know, in reality some people change and do things when they see the light. Others need to feel the heat around Congress. It seems as if we can't get anything done, which I regret, until we feel the heat. If I Were King for the day and I'm not, and I don't aspire to be, what I would do is take strong immigration bill and go through regular order send it to committee let everybody offer their Amendment and then bring it to the floor and let us talk-- not just about amnesty, but let us talk about a rationally base color blind immigration system like Australia has. Let us talk about e-verify. Put it on the table and let everybody vote and something will pass and something won't and will try to..

So, on Friday, Kennedy specifically said, “we need to know where the president stands because let's suppose we reach an agreement where the Democrats, and I think we will-- I want to know if the president is going to sign it and I respectfully ask him to please put on the table exactly what he would accept.”

Today, as to whether the Democrats should rely upon certainty coming from the White House and McConnell, he clearly seems to claim, “sorry, no guarantees in life, Democrats should just take Trump and McConnell” at what they intend, if that.

Sorry, what’s good for the GOP goose is good for the Democrat gander.

Two weeks ago, when Trump addressed the nation with his TV Presidential apprenticeship series to prove his sanity and competence, after calling the DACA kids negotiations a “bill of love”, Trump said, ““I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” Trump said during a Cabinet Room meeting with a bipartisan group of nearly two dozen lawmakers, adding, “I am very much reliant upon the people in this room.”

That changed a couple days later when he launched into his S-Hole expletives.

Worse, during the shutdown negotiations, these DACA kids who he called terrific are now “illegal immigrants and a online commercial he approved claims that Democrats will be culpable for any deaths any illegal immigrants should cause.
Some love and absurd. I assume Republicans should be responsible for any gun-related deaths?

Which shifting sands, lack of credibility and broken promises explain exactly why Democrats cannot trust Donald Trump and why Louisiana US Senator John Kennedy should be consistent and less trusting.

Right now, specifically on this issue, he comes across as a man that won’t cross the President and or his party leader and wants the nation to believe the Speaker said what he didn't say.  

Which is all a shame since many in Louisiana have been hoping for a new day coming from Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana.

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