Listen, I know sometimes it seems like every politician from the New York area is a giant A-hole but it’s not true. Take, for instance, uh…
Let me think about this, actually. Nadler. Trump. Peter King. De Blasio. Mike Bloomberg. Rudy. Chris Christie. Andrew Cuomo. Andrew Cuomo again, because he’s just that obnoxious.
I mean, QED, right?
Nadler lived up to his billing yesterday when Hope Hicks testified before his House Judiciary Committee. Virtually everyone connected to Trump has ducked Nadler’s committee when asked to testify, but Hicks showed up to answer questions. (About her work on Trump’s campaign, at least. The White House is blocking testimony from former White House aides about their time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.) Here was her reward:
Nadler repeatedly calls Hope Hicks "Ms. Lewandowski" until she finally corrects him. "My name is Ms. Hicks": pic.twitter.com/oMAkqfNFNw
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) June 20, 2019
Evidently he referred to her as “Ms. Lewandowski” not once but three separate times, a curious coincidence given the rumors that have dogged Hicks about her relationship with Corey Lewandowski during the campaign. Was Nadler trying to demean her by deliberately alluding to those rumors? Of course he was, says Caroline Court at the Federalist today:
She earned her reputation as a loyal, hardworking White House staffer. She does not, under any circumstances, deserve some pants-up-to-his-chin congressman addressing her by the name of a man she may have dated. Dated. Not married.
Let’s be absolutely clear: Nadler knew exactly what he was doing. What he did was not only sexist, but purposeful and truly ugly. Whether or not Hicks and Lewandowski had an affair or even dated is completely beside the point. They were not a public couple posing for pictures for People Magazine. For Nadler to refer to her as Lewandowski is the lowest of the low, and entirely inappropriate.
Whether he did it to rattle her during her testimony, or to take a shot at Trump, is also irrelevant. I don’t care what his motive was. When you’re so obsessed with taking down a political opponent that you don’t care who is collateral damage, it’s really time to reassess what you’re doing with your life.
Mike Pence’s spokesman thought so too:
So did former Trump spokesman Jason Miller:
Jason Miller deleted this tweet last night. pic.twitter.com/3PmF3AoAur
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) June 21, 2019
Mediaite has a longer transcript of the exchange between Hicks and Nadler, He did finally correct himself, saying he was “preoccupied,” and it’s arguably a point in favor of his innocence that this exchange occurred during a discussion about Lewandowski’s role in the Trump campaign. That is, Corey’s name had already been mentioned and was pertinent to the subject at hand; it’s possible that Nadler absentmindedly referred to the witness that way if he really was “preoccupied,” checking his notes, say, while he was asking questions.
Would a Republican congressman get that benefit of the doubt if he had pulled this on a Democratic witness, though, asks Madeline Fry? The question answers itself: “If the parties were reversed, and Nadler were a Republican while Hicks were a Democrat, the media would’ve been floored. This would have had wall-to-wall coverage. Republican leaders would have been asked to answer for their chairman. Committee members would have been asked if the gavel should be stripped. Instead, mostly conservative outlets reported on the comments.” Nadler might very well have been deliberately trying to rattle Hicks by referring to her by Corey’s name. Why assume an innocent mistake given the viciousness of the fight between the White House and House Democrats over witness testimony?
Anyway, Nadler doesn’t care. He thinks yesterday was a huge strategic win for Dems: By having Hicks show up and claim immunity from having to testify about even the most mundane aspects of her time in the White House, such as where her desk was located, Democrats think they’ve teed up the perfect test case to bring before a court. Hicks’s testimony will present a stark question for a judge: Can the White House block staffers from testifying about literally *anything* related to their employment or does executive privilege have limits? Courts won’t like the idea of absolute immunity but that’s what they’ll need to endorse in order to protect Hicks.
Exit question: How come Trump hasn’t smacked Nadler for this on Twitter yet? Presumably it’s because he was “preoccupied” himself yesterday.