On Friday, Rachel Maddow set her sights on several senators who skipped briefings about the release of Bowe Bergdahl and the VA scandal … so they could use their new-found free time to complain on national television about not getting enough information.
First, she took down Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). On Memorial Day, Burr wrote a brutal letter to the US veteran’s organizations about their testimony, accusing them of being more mindful of their own Washington connections than the vets they seek to help, which he said was made clear to him after a Senate committee meeting. A Senate committee meeting that Burr didn’t actually attend, because cameras show him leaving his chair early.
When he returned, Burr said “It’s not that I don’t love you guys. but we’re gonna try to get the next panel in before we get to serious votes that will bring a finality to this, so, thank you.”
Maddow pointed out that Burr he actually got up and walked out as soon as the VA began their testimony, and showed a photo of him doing so.
[box type=”shadow”]He actually got up and walked out as soon as the veterans began their testimony. And he only returned at the end of their testimony to say ‘Thanks very much, you guys, but actually you’ve got to get out of here.’[/box]
Maddow goes on:
[box type=”shadow”]I should note, though, that this particularly cowardly form of failure is not just a Richard Burr problem, although he does wear it well. This particular kind of failure happens a lot in Washington right now. This has become a very popular way to make a fool out of yourself as a politician.[/box]
Maddow then brings up Senator John McCain, who abandoned the Benghazi — yes, that Benghazi — briefings in November of 2012, following the attacks. While the hearing took place, McCain held a press conference demanding that the United States find answers about the attack on the US Benghazi consulate. When a CNN reporter inquired why McCain was skipping the Benghazi hearings, he blew up on the reporter, asking the reporter “who the hell are you to tell me when I can or can not” hold a press conference?
Maddow then sarcastically quips:
[box type=”shadow”]It is so much more fun to demand information than to actually receive it. Receiving it is boring and it takes forever and it’s totally not like just going on Fox News and complaining.[/box]
In a similar fashion, retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss went on Greta Van Susteren’s show to whine that the Obama administration was keeping Congress out of the loop regarding information about the Bergdahl trade. And while he was complaining to Susteren, the Administration was holding a briefing doing just that — giving Congress more information regarding the Bergdahl trade.
“While he [Chambliss] was doing that interview,” Maddow said, “the administration was conducting a classified briefing for all United States senators to explain those exact things.”
[box type=”shadow”]“And you know,” she added, “there’s lots of briefings and hardly any of them are mandatory and you can go if you want to or not go if you want to. The problem is when you don’t go or you leave early and then you’re outraged that you didn’t hear enough. Like Saxby Chambliss and again, John McCain.”[/box]
McCain also left the classified briefing early to hold a press conference demanding more information about the prisoner swap, complaining to reporters that “I learned nothing in this briefing.”
“The one he left in the middle of,” Maddow said, adding:
[box type=”shadow”]This is a new and increasingly common form of political lying in Washington. Getting away with this lie depends upon us being ignorant and easily led about what’s actually going on in that big, boring, catty high school that is Congress. There is a reason to know what hearings are going on when and who’s invited and who ought to be there.
If you’re skipping the briefing to complain that there’s no briefing. We’re not laughing with you, Congressmen, we’re laughing at you.[/box]
And they’d get the joke, too, if they didn’t walk out in the middle of it to complain on national TV about not being told the punch line.
You can watch Maddow below:
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