Did Rep. Cohen's fried chicken stunt lay an egg?

It’s not every day that a member of the House brings along a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to a committee hearing. Usually, the feeding of our Congressional representatives happens off-camera. And for good reason, as Rep. Steve Cohen proved yesterday.

During the opening of Thursday’s scheduled House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Barr, tempers flared. Barr didn’t appear before the committee so other than Chairman Nadler’s statement voicing his displeasure with Barr’s decision and Republican ranking member Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia calling the hearing a “circus political stunt”, little came of it. Nadler soon ended the committee’s in-fighting. Barr’s empty chair was identified with his place card on the table in front of it.

Because this is 2019 and no silly stunt is off the table for either side, Cohen placed a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a chicken figurine in front of Barr’s empty chair implying cowardice … or snack time. Cohen enjoyed eating some chicken (no mention if it was crispy or extra crispy) for the benefit of the cameras. Trust me, no one really wanted to see that.

Afterward, some of the Democrat members of the committee flocked to a microphone in the hallway. All of them clucked about the Attorney General in less than favorable terms, as you can imagine. The nickname of “Chicken Barr” is now established. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and not exactly a back-bencher in need of publicity, referred to Barr as the “so-called” Attorney General, as seen in a tweet posted Friday morning:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi went so far as to state that Barr lied to Congress Thursday. This dispute is over Barr’s knowledge of Robert Mueller’s team’s reaction to Barr’s four-page memo about the findings of Mueller’s investigation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused Attorney General William Barr of breaking the law by lying to Congress.

“The attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress. That’s a crime,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference on Thursday. “He lied to Congress.”

The Justice Department responded with a statement saying, “Speaker Pelosi’s baseless attack on the attorney general is reckless, irresponsible, and false.”

During his appearance before Congress on April 9, Barr said he was not aware of reported dissatisfaction by some on Robert Mueller’s team with the four-page memo Barr wrote to Congress describing the special counsel’s findings.

But earlier this week, the Justice Department released a letter from Mueller to Barr, dated March 27, in which Mueller states Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.”

Democrats’ expressions of outrage and their attempts at humorous name-calling fell flat among one normally loyal Democratic demographic — late-night talk show hosts. Rarely do any of them stray from Democrat talking points in the era of Trump, but Jimmy Kimmel proved, at least briefly, that he understands that Cohen’s stunt was probably ill-advised.

“Wow, what a sick burn that is,” Kimmel sarcastically said to his audience. “Trump’s gonna win again with stuff like that, isn’t he?”

Yes, Jimmy Kimmel is correct. If Democrats continue to display the kind of personal attacks on Barr and others in the Trump administration instead of attacking policy differences, Trump will win re-election quite handily. The Democrats act as though they still do not understand why Trump was elected in the first place. American voters want Congress to do something, at this point anything, instead of simply playing schoolyard games against each other.

Trevor Noah mocked Cohen along with his usual Trump-bashing.

Yes, Barr “was a no-show for his own hearing,” Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show, and the Democrats had props. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), notably, brought a “bucket of KFC to imply that the attorney general was chicken for not showing up,” he said, “Look, this was clearly a stunt, because a bucket of fried chicken isn’t going to get Bill Barr to come and testify. But it will get Donald Trump to come and see Congress.”

And Seth Meyer chimed in, too.

“Dude, if you want to order KFC, just order KFC, it’s fine — you don’t need to tie it in to the hearing,” Seth Meyer said on Late Night.

None of these are scathing hot takes towards the Democrats but it is unusual for any of them to do anything but trash Trump and those in his orbit. Jimmy Kimmel gets it and perhaps the others will soon realize the loyalty of Trump voters isn’t swayed by personal attacks and dumb stunts by elected officials.