By Katanga Johnson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some U.S. Republican lawmakers joined their Democratic colleagues on Tuesday in criticizing President Donald Trump for labeling them as “treasonous” and “un-American” in response to the cold reception they gave him during his State of the Union address last week.
“Well, that borders on divisive,” the second-most powerful Democrat in the Senate Dick Durbin told reporters in a purposefully understated tone.
Speaking at a manufacturing plant in Ohio on Monday, the Republican president said Democrats “would rather see Trump do badly than our country do well.”
“They were like death and un-American,” he said of Democrats who sat stone-faced, robed in black in solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct, as he heralded the economy’s achievements in his address a week ago to a joint session of Congress.
“Somebody said ‘treasonous.’ I mean, eh. I guess, why not? Can we call that treason, why not?,” he said.
The remarks sparked a firestorm of criticism from Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Senator Tammy Duckworth quoted President Theodore Roosevelt in a response on Twitter.
“‘To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public,'” she tweeted.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said the remarks on treason – an offense punishable by death – were offered as tongue-in-cheek.
“The president was obviously joking. But what’s serious is the Democrats seem to put their personal hatred for this president above their desire to see America succeed,” he said in a statement.
But Democrats weren’t the only critics.
“Treason is not a punch line, Mr. President. Applause is approval of an idea, not loyalty to one’s country,” said Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican who frequently reproaches Trump and his policies, in a blistering attack on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “Our Democratic colleagues love this country as much as we do. To suggest otherwise is simply unconscionable.”
Even Representative Mark Meadows, a leading Republican conservative closely allied with Trump, took issue with the president’s comments. “Certainly saying that someone’s un-American because of their unwillingness to clap is not something that most Americans would agree with,” he said on CNN.
But Republican Representative Claudia Tenney, also speaking about Democrats on CNN on Tuesday, said “I would say it was un-American, and they don’t love our country. I don’t know if I would go as far as treasonous, but the president is before a large audience and he likes to talk in colorful language.”
(Reporting by Katanga Johnson, Richard Cowen, Patricia Zengerle, Steve Holland and Doina Chiacu; Writing by Katanga Johnson; Editing by Tim Ahmann, Phil Berlowitz and Lisa Lambert)
‘I’m getting shot’: Shocking video shows police in Louisville hitting journalists with pepper bullets
Police fired pepper bullets at a camera crew doing a live broadcast of the police violence protests in Louisville on Friday evening.
"WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust appeared to have been hit by rubber bullets reportedly fired by an LMPD officer during a protest in downtown Louisville," the station reported.
Rust was wearing a fluorescent safety vest at the time of the incident.
"I'm getting shot," she shouted.
The news anchor asked, "who are they aiming that at?"
Missouri loses bid to shut down last abortion clinic in state
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A state judge Friday ruled against an attempt by Gov. Mike Parson’s administration to shut down the lone abortion clinic in Missouri.In a 97-page decision, Administrative Hearing Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi said Planned Parenthood demonstrated that it meets the requirements for renewal of its abortion facility license in St. Louis.“Planned Parenthood has demonstrated that it provides safe and legal abortion care. In over 4,000 abortions provided since 2018, the department has only identified two causes to deny its license,” Dandamudi wrote.“Ultimately, we have n... (more…)
Michigan Gov. Whitmer, to testify to Congress about pandemic response
LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will testify before a congressional subcommittee Tuesday about Michigan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said Friday.By then, Whitmer said, she may have news about further loosening of restrictions on Michigan’s economy, she said at a news conference in Lansing.“If it continues this way, I’m optimistic that in the coming days we’ll be in a position to take another step forward,” said Whitmer, adding she has a meeting planned for Saturday with health and other experts about the next step in re-engaging the economy.Whitmer said she will testify befo... (more…)