Whom should we believe — Hakeem Jeffries, or our own lying eyes? This fun leftover from yesterday’s Fox News Sunday had Chris Wallace doing a double-take after Jeffries’ double-talk over the signing ceremony for the articles of impeachment. “There was no joy in that ceremony,” Jeffries says as Wallace plays footage of a smiling Nancy Pelosi and her souvenir-pen business.
“We just saw the pictures, Congressman,” Wallace objects:
WALLACE: OK. One final question. And that is, House Speaker Pelosi, who has been saying for weeks that she takes no joy in the impeachment of Donald Trump, she used the words that you have used, solemn, sober, serious, here she is. [clip plays] Which is why even some Democrats were surprised to see the ceremony where she signed the Articles of Impeachment, handing out pens like it was a celebratory bill signing, and as we can see from these pictures here, all the participants look pretty happy. Doesn’t that blow a hole in your narrative that the Democrats aren’t enjoying the impeachment and the effort to remove this president?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): I was at that ceremony. And there was no joy in that ceremony.
WALLACE: Well, there — we — we just saw the — we just saw the pictures, Congressman.
JEFFRIES: There was no joy in that ceremony. And from the very beginning, through the end, Speaker Pelosi has been clear that we are going to proceed in a very serious and solemn and sober fashion.
Wallace’s tone clearly communicates a rebuke along the lines of don’t micturate on my noggin and tell me it’s raining. It’s a nonsense argument, even from the still shots Wallace uses here, but the video makes Pelosi’s “joy” all the more apparent. Here she is, smiling, laughing, joking, and posing for the cameras with the souvenir pens that she carefully used one letter at a time to produce the maximum number possible:
Wallace is one of the few Fox News anchors who can credibly call Jeffries out on this point, too. Unlike some of the others on the network, Wallace has maintained a significant level of journalistic distance from Trump, if not outright skepticism of him. His tough coverage of the administration and the president might annoy and anger Fox News viewers, but it puts Wallace in much better position to call out House Democrats for their hypocritical nonsense and claims. Since many of the other networks’ show hosts would be loathe to challenge Jeffries on this, Wallace’s independent streak does come in handy.
Jeffries then tried to claim that this has nothing to do with disliking Trump, which causes another figurative eye-roll from Wallace:
JEFFRIES: We don’t dislike this president. We work with this president on criminal justice reform. I did personally on the First Step Act. We worked with this president to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. We worked with this president to fully fund the government. We don’t dislike —
WALLACE: But you’ve also been talking about impeaching, a lot of your remembers, since he took the oath of office.
JEFFRIES: We don’t dislike Donald Trump, but we do love America, we do love democracy, we do love the Constitution. And in America, no one is above the law. Not even the president of the United States. George Washington, in his farewell address, said the Constitution is sacredly obligatory upon all.
We’ve seen the pictures from House Democrats’ calls for impeachment over the last three years, too, so it’s not clear whom Jeffries thinks he’s fooling here. But it does bring up an opportunity to play this clip from the 1998 impeachment follies, when House Democrats claimed that the case then was motivated by hatred and an attempt to overturn a legitimate election rather than constitutional concerns. And guess what? You’ll see some of the same faces as at the souvenir pen giveaway, too:
CAUGHT-ON-TAPE: Dems on @BillClinton's Impeachment! Retweet!
Dems want POWER FIRST NOT PEOPLE FIRST! pic.twitter.com/7QZiOBAxeE
— Oliver McGee PhD MBA (@OliverMcGee) January 20, 2020
Plus ça change, plus c’est le même chose …