Monday, June 11, 2018

Day 6: Don’t got no opinion about that

I had been planning a short call, a follow-up from last week’s questions (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday) about presidential powers. But then the weekend happened, so my planned simple question ended up being a brief coda to a significantly longer call.
I saw that Mr. Faso has issued a press release pointing out the damage that could happen to small businesses in upstate New York as a result of the tariffs the president is pursuing.
Uh, huh.
That’s a fine statement as far as it goes, but I was wondering if he were planning to actually do anything.
I haven’t had a chance to talk with the Congressman about that issue specifically, but if you’d like to share your views, I will pass them along.
OK. Here’s the thing: The tariff decision by itself was bad enough, but this weekend, things went badly off the rails.
The president started a trade war with Canada, and then when Canada defended itself, the president’s advisors had the gall to call the Canadian response a betrayal. And as if it weren’t bad enough that they were acting like spoiled children who aren’t getting their way, they threw in a dangerous anti-Semitic dog-whistle by using the phrase “stab in the back.”
This seems to go beyond merely bad policy. It really looks like he is actively trying to tear apart the fabric of the western alliance that has protected our country since the end of World War II.
And the silence from Republicans is, frankly, deafening. Is Mr. Faso concerned with what the president’s actions are doing to our international security?
I haven’t had a chance to talk with the Congressman about that, but I’ll be sure to let him know your concerns.

Well, I would like to know if Mr. Faso plans to actually do anything.
The president has some latitude on tariffs, but Congress has the ultimate authority in the matter. It wouldn’t take many Republicans to vote with Democrats on a bill that would strip the White House of the authority to launch a trade war. And with more Republican support, there could be a veto-proof majority in favor of sanity.
Look, I’m just a regular citizen—all I can do is contact my elected representatives.
Mr. Faso actually has a direct say in the matter, and if he’s not trying to control the president’s wrecking ball, he’s complicit.
Am I making myself clear how serious this is?
Yes, you are, sir. I’ll be sure to pass along your concerns.
This is really, really serious stuff. These are arrangements that have taken 70 years to build, and the president is tearing them apart. It’s incredibly dangerous, and I would like to know what my elected representative plans to do about it.
I will be sure to pass along your concerns, sir.
I also wanted to follow up on my question from last week: the president’s lawyer said that the president could kill someone, and would still not be subject to indictment, only impeachment. So I really would like to know—if the president were indeed to kill someone, would Mr. Faso vote to impeach.
I haven’t had a chance to ask him about that.
I called last Wednesday and Friday, and everyone I’ve spoken to has been unfailingly professional and polite, as you have been, and everyone I speak to says they’ll pass my question along and get back to me, but I never get an answer.
All I can do is do my job and make sure Mr. Faso hears your concerns.
This is extremely important, and I want an answer.
The usual pleasantries about having a good afternoon, and we're done.

For folks in NY-19, Faso's DC office number is (202) 225-5614.

(After this Monday call, I waited until Thursday to check in for Day 9.)

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