Comedian Bill Maher refused to believe that Vice President Mike Pence is as bad as Donald Trump. During a conversation about the Democratic Party, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) maintained that the Russia investigation might kick Trump out of the White House but we’d be left with Pence, who is just as bad or worse.
Newsom called Russia a “loser” of an issue, which Maher took issue with. He explained that there are pieces of Russia like the safety of our elections, cyber security and the general understanding that it’s critical to defend the homeland against foreign adversaries. However, Newsom wants to see Democrats walk and chew gum at the same time.
“Absolutely, unequivocally we need to get to the bottom of this,” Newsom explained. “What I was saying is an important point is if you game this thing out and you get rid of Trump you’re left with a problem and that’s Mike Pence … even if this thing goes nowhere–“
Maher cut him off to maintain that Pence is not as bad as Trump, but Newsom said that legislatively Pence is awful and could actually get things passed with Congress that are so far right it would take years for us to recover. However, there is a lot to connect Pence with the scandals and it is entirely possible Pence could go down with the ship — it’s just a tougher sell.
“But, Bill, here’s my bigger point,” he continued. “We have to have absolute accountability on Russia but the bigger point is that the Democratic Party right now — we’re in trouble. And with all due respect, being in opposition to Donald Trump and focusing on emoluments and focusing on Russia may be important but we also have to have positive alternative agenda. Before the Russian issue we lost close to 1,000 state legislative seats. We’re now at the lowest point since 2001. What is the positive Democratic agenda. What’s the bottom-up agenda? You have 196 people suing Trump on emoluments, that’s great, but you only have 116 supporting medicare for all. That’s not so good.”
This echoes some of what Steve Bannon said to the American Prospect this week, though his point was that focusing on statues while the GOP is dealing with economic issues would win in the GOP. Most Democrats, however, are focusing on Trump’s defense of Nazis and white supremacists, not statues. Similarly, as Trump’s accomplishments in the last eight months have proven, these detours have prevented his agenda from moving forward. No Republican in Congress will ever be willing to stand with a Nazi-sympathizer in an election year — tax cuts or not.
Watch Newsom’s commentary below: