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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

One Thing Hannity & Trump Don’t Talk About: Apologizing

May 16, 2018
Press Release
"All of the blathering this past week about whether the White House or the President would apologize for comments by a White House staffer about gravely ill American war hero Senator John McCain was just wasted breath, if you ask me."

Washington, DC – All the speculation this week about whether the President and the White House would apologize for comments made about American war hero Sen. John McCain was wasted breath, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) said in a scathing floor speech in the House this morning.  “In our President we have someone who does not ever apologize or regret something he or his staff has done, no matter how egregious,” the Illinois Congressman said.  Whether it is tweeting racist videos, booting transgender soldiers from the military, or bragging about sexually assaulting women, the President sees apologizing as a sign of weakness, “And revealing his weakness in public is clearly among the President’s greatest fears,” said the 13-term Congressman on the floor.

But covering up his weaknesses is only one reason the President has shown a complete reluctance to apologize when other leaders would show contrition.  In addition, Rep. Gutiérrez said:

He often doesn’t apologize because he thinks he was right in the first place. Like when he said there were good people on both sides of the Nazi rally in Charlottesville where a woman was murdered by racists.  The President is not going to apologize – and not because it would make him look weak – but because he believes what he said was true.

He will never apologize for his founding campaign sin: calling immigrants rapists and criminals. In fact, he is basing a broad anti-immigration and anti-immigrant policy agenda on the bedrock belief that crime and skin color are synonymous.

In the McCain case, the White House has showed more anger and regret about the news getting out, not the news itself. Rep. Gutiérrez said:

The White House is not alarmed that a senior staffer made light of Senator McCain’s illness and life-expectancy, but rather that the comment about the former Prisoner of War was made public. Clearly someone on the White House staff who heard the comment knew it was wrong, just wrong.  Moreover, they recognized the comment was emblematic of the attitude at the White House from the President on down and thought the nation and the world should know about it.

But it was the leak of accurate information from inside the White House that raised the ire of the President, not the fact that something really awful was said about an American hero.

The Congressman allowed that the American people knew what they were getting in President Trump, yet a minority of voters elected him anyway.

But the American people are learning important lessons about the President’s enablers at the three most important branches of the Republican Party: the White House, Congress, and Fox News.  We know the President doesn’t lose sleep wrestling with the moral implications of his behavior, but all of us had higher hopes for the professionals around the President. Expectations which were apparently too high, indeed.

A video of the Congressman’s remarks is here: https://youtu.be/27X-58PVMVs

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Floor Remarks

May 16, 2018

We can only imagine what the President and Sean Hannity talk about every night on the phone. 

The two TV hosts have a lot to discuss, I am sure.  Maybe they talk about their mutual lawyer, Michael Cohen, and what he might or might not have had in his files that could incriminate either or both of them. 

Or maybe they just discuss their mutual admiration for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

We can be reasonably sure that neither of them spends too much time discussing things they have done for which they are ashamed or things they have done or said for which they should apologize.

All of the blathering this past week about whether the White House or the President would apologize for comments by a White House staffer about gravely ill American war hero Senator John McCain was just wasted breath, if you ask me.

In our President we have someone who does not ever apologize or regret something he or his staff has done, no matter how egregious. 

This week, the White House is not alarmed that a senior staffer made light of Senator McCain’s illness and life-expectancy, but rather that the comment about the former Prisoner of War was made public. 

Clearly someone on the White House staff who heard the comment knew it was wrong, just wrong.  Moreover, they recognized the comment was emblematic of the attitude at the White House from the President on down and thought the nation and the world should know about it.

But it was the leak of accurate information from inside the White House that raised the ire of the President, not the fact that something really awful was said about an American hero.

But we should know by now that this President and his henchmen do not apologize.

Tweeting racist videos from right-wing British groups? Nah.

Booting able-bodied Americans who want to serve their country out of the military because they are transgender? Not even.

Bragging about sexually assaulting women by grabbing their private parts?  Well, he came close to apologizing, but not really.

Some speculate that being unapologetic is just the President’s brand.  He is brash and he says mean things and doesn’t back down because doing so would make him look weak.

And revealing his weakness in public is clearly among the President’s greatest fears.

The President and his late night phone-buddy Sean Hannity, remember?  They complained about the last President being too apologetic.

But looking tough to cover up a fear of inferiority is only one explanation for why this President does not apologize. 

He often doesn’t apologize because he thinks he was right in the first place.

Like when he said there were good people on both sides of the Nazi rally in Charlottesville where a woman was murdered by racists.  The President is not going to apologize – and not because it would make him look weak – but because he believes what he said was true.

He will never apologize for his founding campaign sin: calling immigrants rapists and criminals. 

In fact, he is basing a broad anti-immigration and anti-immigrant policy agenda on the bedrock belief that crime and skin color are synonymous.

This puts everyone around the President in a difficult position.  Do they point out the emperor’s nudity or do they praise his new suit?

His Chief of Staff was dispatched to tell a Black Member of Congress that she was lying about how the President treated a soldier killed in action, until the Chief of Staff was shown to be lying about what the Congresswoman said.

In the end the American people knew what they were getting with this President and a minority of voters still elected him to the White House anyway.

But the American people are learning important lessons about the President’s enablers at the three most important branches of the Republican Party: the White House, Congress, and Fox News.  We know the President doesn’t lose sleep wrestling with the moral implications of his behavior, but all of us had higher hopes for the professionals around the President.  Expectations which were apparently too high, indeed.

One thing is sure, this country owes a great debt to Senator John McCain and our thoughts and prayers are with him, even if the President’s thoughts are someplace else.

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