Tuesday was a monumental day in right-wing contradiction.
As one set of House Republicans railed against DirecTV for cutting ties with their favorite disinformation network, another on the House Rules Committee held a hearing to debate a nonbinding resolution that would broadly condemn "socialism."
It’s illogical. Don’t strain your brain trying to make sense of it.
“The underpinning belief in a socialist regime, or socialism as an ideology, is that the system can make better decisions for the people than they can themselves,” GOP Rep. Nick Langworthy of New York said, without a hint of self-awareness.
This was nothing more than boilerplate conservative jargon. As we’ve discussed in the past, the abortion-blocking, book-banning, corporation-crushing GOP has no credibility when it comes to claims of nefarious government overreach.
One person who had time to correct the record, however, was Rep. Maxine Waters, who was invited to testify as ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.
The California Democrat didn’t take the bait when asked by Langworthy to respond to a 2019 declaration from Trump that America will never become a socialist country. Instead, she noted that the premise of the hearing itself — and using Trump as a means to denounce socialism — is quite absurd.
“One of the problems I have with this resolution is, I don’t know everything that you’re talking about when you talk about socialism," Water said. "There are things that you embrace that fall within that so-called socialism definition."
When asked by Waters whether the PPP loan program meant to help small businesses recover from the pandemic counted as socialism, Langworthy danced around the question, saying the program was meant for “extraordinary times when we’ve shut down our entire government.” Of course, the U.S. never shut down the entire government due to the pandemic.
Waters' reference was tactful, though. Conservatives from seemingly every corner of America denounced Covid spending as a socialist ploy, but as the White House noted last year, a bunch of them were perfectly fine accepting those taxpayer-funded PPP loans the government authorized in 2020.
As the hearing continued Tuesday, Langworthy once again asked about Trump’s 2019 remark. Waters didn’t mince words:
President Trump said a lot of things. He said he thought Hitler had done some good things. So, for those of you who continue to embrace Trump and whatever he said and whatever he did, I just reject all of that. Because President Trump has proven to be someone who is aligned with dictators. Who admires them. Who claims to be in love with them. So I reject any and everything that Trump has had to say.
Waters is likely referencing allegations made in recent books about Trump's presidency. One of the books, published last year, reported Trump had a conversation with then-White House chief of staff John Kelly in which he praised the loyalty Hitler received from his generals. Another book, published in 2021, reported that Trump told Kelly that Hitler “did a lot of good things.” (A Trump spokesperson has denied the latter allegation, and Trump doesn't appear to have commented on the first claim.)
As Waters started to press Langworthy on whether frequent GOP targets like Medicare and Social Security count as socialist policies, Langworthy moved to end his questioning.
“You have taken this completely off topic,” he said.
“Yeah, to stuff you don’t want to talk about,” she replied.