POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson: Vicious circle of political rhetoric is exhausting

Jul 16, 2019, 7:26 PM
shutdown debate...
President Donald Trump speaks as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, listens after a Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill on Jan. 9, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

DISCLAIMER: The following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of KSL Newsradio or its ownership.

The House voted 240 to 187 to denounce President Trump’s incendiary comments aimed at four Democratic congresswomen of color, telling them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”

The congresswomen, Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, are all U.S. citizens. Three were born in the United States (Omar is a refugee from Somalia who spent part of her life in a Kenyan refugee camp).

Four Republicans and one independent voted along with the House Democrats.

Earlier in the day, Trump doubled-down on his Twitter attack that started Sunday against the four congresswomen.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined the president in denying the comments were racist.

“The president is not a racist,” McConnell said. “And I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country. But it’s coming from all different ideological points of view.

“The president, to the speaker to freshman members of the House, all of us are responsible for our public discourse. Our words do matter,” McConnell said at a news conference in the Capitol. “We all know politics is a contact sport but it’s about time we lowered the temperature all across the board. All of us, to a better level of discourse.”

McConnell said the right things. We should lower the temperature. We are all responsible to elevate public discourse. We hear that from Republicans and Democrats.

The challenge for Republicans is how do you move beyond the actual tweet. It’s easy to shrug shoulders and say, “He shouldn’t do that.”

At what point is there a brick wall? I had several people call me to say they supported the president, his Supreme Court picks, his policies, but a lot of people are just exhausted. I had a number of people call me to say, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore, this kind of rhetoric, this kind of divisiveness just can’t be tolerated from the highest office in the land.”

There are people who are exhausted and tired; the country is tired. It’s not just the president. All sides are guilty. We are allowing this to become commonplace. We just have to learn to get beyond that.

This is a vicious circle that is not good for the country. This is preventing us from having a conversation that we need to have about health care and the immigration crisis at the border. We are so past the breaking point, I don’t know how we’re keeping things together down there. We’ve got to change the conversation about who’s doing what to whom.

I will agree with McConnell that each of us is responsible for elevating the rhetoric in the country.

But Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin called out McConnell for not standing up to condemn Trump on his racist comments on the Senate floor.

“Let me tell you, the rules in the Senate make it clear that one man will decide if we speak out on this matter of principle, and that man is Mitch McConnell,” Durbin said.

“He has been President Trump’s greatest enabler,” he added. “If you don’t like the  division in Washington, D.C., if you don’t like what’s happening to this country, how we pit ourselves one against the other, I’m afraid that Sen. McConnell has been the enabler of this president who has created in just two and a half years a division in America which was unthinkable before the last presidential election.”

All of these comments and responses from McConnell, Trump, Durbin and “The Squad” of four congresswomen all take us back to the vicious circle and we are going nowhere.

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Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson: Vicious circle of political rhetoric is exhausting