Yesterday was one of those days where we had so much news that it was hard to keep up. For a few minutes I wanna break down 3 things that all happened in Congress because it seems like February 27th, 2019 is a day that may go down in history as far as Congress is concerned.
First, I’ll begin with the testimony of the former personal attorney of Donald Trump – Michael Cohen. I haven’t heard about any ratings for his testimony, but so many people were watching that my high school aged daughter said students and staff were sneaking to watch it at her high school. That’s when you a know a moment has absolutely crossed over into a cultural event.
I thought Cohen’s testimony was sincere. This man is a husband and father who is going to prison in two months. He was testifying under oath, under the penalty of perjury, which could add years and years to his prison sentence. For over 10 hours he seemed like an honest man who was doing all he could to make things right with his family and even with the country that he feels he betrayed.
And his testimony was explosive, because depending on who you listen to, he testified to first hand knowledge of anywhere between 5 – 15 different crimes committed by Donald Trump – including some committed while he was President of the United States. In fact, some of the crimes Cohen is going to prison for, he committed at the direction of Donald Trump.
But in addition to Cohen’s testimony – two particular moments stood out to me, maybe three. The first was that all day, Republicans claimed they couldn’t believe Cohen because he had lied in the past. They said it over & over again, but what’s wild about that is that they support Donald Trump – and the Washington Post has now documented nearly 9,000 lies that man has told since he was elected.
Secondly, another moment that stood out to me was a horrible moment where Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, in an attempt to prove that Donald Trump could not be racist, trotted out a Black woman named Lynne Patton, who used to be an event planner before Donald Trump appointed her to a position at HUD – Congressman Mark Meadows literally brought her out as a living prop, not allowing her to actually say a word, then basically saying that Trump could not be racist because this woman didn’t think he was racist. Nevermind that Cohen testified to multiple racist moments he observed first hand.
But the thing that stuck out to me more than anything else was the bold questioning from four new congresspeople – including Ro Khanna, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib – all four people of color – who were absolutely brilliant. But it was when Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib called Mark Meadows out for his bigotry that he completely blew a gasket, getting red in the face, screaming, and even claiming that he couldn’t be racist because he has nieces and nephews who are children of color. Within hours of his tirade, we all found racist moment after moment in this man’s life and I posted a few of them on my social media channels if you need to see them for yourself.
Now what’s wild – is that everything that happened in the Cohen hearing caused two very big moments in Congress to be missed – and these two moments are every bit as historic as Cohen’s testimony.
First – driven in huge part by first year Congresswoman Lucy McBath – Democrats in the House – for the first time in a generation – passed sweeping gun control legislation – requiring comprehensive background checks on every person who purchases a gun – even at gunshows. And even a few Republicans crossed over to support it. Nearly 80% of Americans say they want this – and it will now be up to the Republican Senate to prove whether or not they are going to thwart the will of the people – which they no doubt will – because they are in the pockets of the NRA.
And lastly, I will close with something that is near and dear to my heart – something that I think each and every one of us should get behind – over 100 men and women in the House announced that they were Co-Sponsoring a brand new Medicare For All bill introduced by the congresswoman from Seattle – Pramila Jayapal. It’s the best bill of its kind ever introduced. It’s beautiful. And it had input from dozens of essential civil rights groups and stakeholders. No bill for truly universal healthcare has ever had over 100 co-sponsors.
Listen – every nation in the developed world has universal healthcare – all of them. Only we don’t. Only we have tens of millions of people, including myself, to be honest, who either don’t have healthcare or can hardly afford it.
Listen – I’ve gotta run – but I left yesterday encouraged -and it reminded me of the power of our votes – and how we’re only scratching the surface of what we can do when we all come together.