In the wake of two deadly mass shootings, President Joe Biden called once again for new laws designed to help prevent gun violence. Soon after, as HuffPost noted, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) taunted the president in a provocative way.
On Tuesday, Biden called for a nationwide ban on assault weapons and advocated for background check reforms and broad changes to magazine capacity restrictions. In response, the South Dakota Republican posted a photo of a statue of himself holding a gun with his dog next to him that was captioned: "Hey @JoeBiden - come and take it. Careful, she bites too."
The controversial tweet, published yesterday afternoon, is still online here. (The statue is part of the Trail of Governors in South Dakota's capital, where Rounds served for two terms.)
But stepping back, what struck me as especially notable is the kind of work the GOP senator is ostensibly trying to do on Capitol Hill. NBC News ran this report a couple of days ago:
The survival of the Senate's effective supermajority rule to pass bills could hinge on a working group of 20 senators that includes the most moderate members in both parties. If the group can cut deals and deliver victories, it could become the model for lawmaking under President Joe Biden. If it fails, the Democratic-led Congress will face pressure to pursue partisan avenues to enact its ambitious agenda, including the simple-majority budget process and nixing the filibuster.
The group of 20 -- featuring 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans -- apparently has a variety of possible policy goals, including trying to address gun violence.
Among the alleged "moderates" is none other than South Dakota's Mike Rounds.
Does anyone seriously expect Mr. Come and Take It to work in good faith on meaningful solutions? The question answers itself.
Anytime GOP senators even consider constructive policymaking, it's a step in the right direction, and I'm glad there are 10 Senate Republicans willing to participate in the "working group." But Mike Rounds is a conservative who voted with Donald Trump more than 90% of the time, and who whined to NBC News this week about Democrats using reconciliation to pass a COVID relief package despite Republicans using reconciliation -- with Rounds' blessing -- to pass a regressive tax plan four years ago.
The problem is not just the South Dakotan's needlessly provocative tweet. It's also the realization that Democrats are looking desperately for mainstream GOP senators who might be interested in compromise and governing, and in 2021, that apparently means sitting down with folks who tweet, "Careful, she bites" -- leaving ambiguity whether he's referring to his gun or his dog.
I suspect those waiting for Senate Republicans to work toward meaningful, bipartisan solutions are going to be waiting for a very long time.