Thursday during a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee on border security, Rep. Sean Duffy took a few moments at the end of his remarks to address the chairwoman, Maxine Waters. He very graciously thanked her for what he described as showing him respect, though usually off-camera.
How did Rep. Waters respond to Duffy? She responded mostly by swatting him with the back of her hand. Apparently it is impossible for the hyper-partisan Democrat to see Republican colleagues as decent human beings even when one delivers thanks to her for the time he worked with her on the committee. Sean Duffy is resigning from office due to personal family matters. He was first elected to represent Wisconsin’s 7th District in 2011.
Duffy and his wife Rachel Campos-Duffy are the parents of eight children, with a ninth baby on the way. Pre-natal testing shows that the baby will be born with a heart condition. Duffy made the decision to return home to be with his family rather than continue commuting to Washington, D.C. for work.
As you see, Waters delivers a weird kind of passive-aggressive riff to Duffy. She starts off by saying she is “shocked” by his kind remarks about her. My first reaction is that this is why Republicans shouldn’t go out of their way to be gracious to Democrats, at least in the current atmosphere. The old days when at least basic civility and compassion was shown to other members of Congress in times of personal crisis – even to those on the opposite side of the aisle – are long gone. While Waters began in a quasi-decent way, she quickly tamped down any niceties with snark. Maybe it was playing to the camera and wanting to signal to other Democrats that she isn’t going soft but it came off very unflattering and just icky. A good example is this: “I want to thank you for the times you have tried to interfere with me doing my work over here when you rush across the aisle with another comment that is unwelcome.” Oh, when Duffy was simply doing his job?
Waters did finally settle down a bit and wish him and his family well in good humor. Was that so hard? Apparently so. Rep. Ann Wagner tearfully bid Duffy goodbye. She is a fierce advocate for the unborn and frequently gets choked up about the vulnerable.
Duffy and his wife announced their family’s decision for him to return home in August.
“With much prayer, I have decided that this is the right time for me to take a break from public service in order to be the support my wife, baby and family need right now,” he said. “It is not an easy decision — because I truly love being your Congressman — but it is the right decision for my family, which is my first love and responsibility.”
We can all wish the Duffy family well.