Senator Whitehouse Faces The Music

And one of his answers scared the hell out of me. First it must be said that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gets points for showing up Sunday night and facing a very large, very angry crowd. It can’t have been easy and our other senator has yet to meet with his constituents and explain his votes. (Call Senator Reed at 401.528.5200)

One of the questions Senator Whitehouse was asked at Sunday’s heated Q&A  was why he had voted ‘yes’ to confirm General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, and I found his answer chilling. Whitehouse quoted verbatim (I got the feeling he had been sharing this quote often) the testimony of a Republican-called witness, a former official from the George W. Bush administration, who had warned the Armed Services Committee,

“We need General Mattis in place to protect against — and these are his words exactly — wildly stupid, dangerous, and illegal decisions by the Trump White House.”

Speaking for himself now, Senator Whitehouse went on to explain his concerns about Trump’s authority to act militarily.

I felt it was important to get people into positions to basically form a cordon of maturity of people, who had experience in these areas, around the White House in this very dangerous opening period when you could get some really bad decisions . . . It’s different when a president alone can send a missile.

I have transcribed this from the video taken by Steve Ahlquist of RI Future. Go to Youtube for this 5 minute clip. It’s about the 3-minute mark. You can see other clips of the evening and read Steve’s write-up at RI Future “Whitehouse admonished by constituents, ordered to resist agenda.” Big thanks to Steve for taping and editing the proceedings.

(Also read at the New York Times, “2 Experts Back James Mattis, Defense Nominee, as ‘Stabilizing’ Force”). This is how we are talking about a president of the United States.

Sunday was energizing and reassuring. It started with several hundred people demonstrating at the state house, then marching up the hill with the What Cheer Brigade and Extraordinary Rendition Band to join the already large gathering at Nathan Bishop. The crowd filled the auditorium to overflow and angry citizens outside demanded that Whitehouse take it outside! Which he did. All of which caught the attention of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. (And thank you Nathan Bishop. I’m sure that was extra work for many people.)

As for me, I think Senator Whitehouse has me sufficiently terrified to understand his ‘yes’ vote on the Mattis nomination. But all the rest can be ‘no.’

Stay angry everybody!

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