Politics

Biden Undermines Plans to Obstruct Trump Nominees

Biden says president owed deference as new web ad slams Democrat senators for confirmation hypocrisy

Senate Democrats’ plans to try to block many of President-Elect Trump’s Cabinet and Supreme Court nominees took fire from an unusual source Thursday night. Vice President Joe Biden said Democrats should allow Trump deference on his appointments during an interview with Judy Woodruff of PBS.

“The Constitution says the president shall nominate — not maybe could, maybe can. He shall nominate. Implicit in the Constitution is that the Senate will act on its constitutional responsibility, will give his advice and consent,” Biden said, “No one is required to vote for the nominee, but they, in my view, are required to give the nominee a hearing and a vote.”

“My idea would be to go boom, boom, boom, boom, boom with them, and so the American people get a package as a whole. And I’d like to do all that, of course, before the inauguration.”

The comments are sure to cause newly obstruction-happy Democrats heartache. Biden’s advice was blasted out by the Republican National Committee Friday morning.

And now, Democrats are being roasted by their own words about Cabinet-level nominees, in a new ad by a conservative PAC.

America Rising Squared released the digital ad, which will run online, Friday.

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The ad begins with CNN’s Dana Bash announcing on Monday that “Senate Democrats are saying today that they are going to focus in on eight nominees … They’re going to try to slow walk them a little bit.”

Bash does not say who the nominees are but they are likely to include U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s choice to be the next U.S. attorney general.

The ad then shows a number of Democrats blasting the GOP for blocking nominees during Obama’s tenure.

The ad, titled “We Owe Deference,” shows a number of Democrats saying exactly that — that presidents should get deference from the U.S. Senate on matters of confirmation.

The ad shows U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat of California, saying, “And we have always had the tradition of moving these nominees as quickly as we possibly could.”

Feinstein made the remarks on Dec. 1, 2008, as President-Elect Barack Obama was gearing up to take office in 2009.

On the same day, Sen. Patrick Leahy, a liberal Democrat from Vermont, said, “My idea would be to go boom, boom, boom, boom, boom with them, and so the American people get a package as a whole. And I’d like to do all that, of course, before the inauguration.”

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Four years later, when President Obama was re-elected, Sen. Tim Kaine, the Virginia Democrat and the 2016 vice presidential nominee, said: “I think we owe deference to a president for choices to executive positions, and I think that is a very important thing to grapple with. The American public choose someone to be president, they’re giving that individual a mandate to govern, and that mandate includes the assembly of the team that the president feels is the appropriate team.”

More succinctly, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said: “Republicans have prevented votes on judges, on agency heads, and on administration secretaries. This is wrong.”

Democrats in the Senate are now in the minority, with only 48 of 100 senators. They could try to block nominees using arcane Senate rules.

And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has developed an odd litmus test for Supreme Court nominees: If a majority of GOP senators support one of Trump’s nominees, the Democrats will oppose that nominee.

It makes you wonder: What’s different now?

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Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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