MAGA Malarkey: The Extremism You Missed From Republicans This Week

MAGA Republicans stooped to new lows this week with their extremism, hypocrisy, chaos, and — as President Biden would call it — malarkey. In case you missed it: Tommy Tuberville doubled on his blockade of critical military promotions with the support of 2024 Republicans, even as Pentagon officials slammed Tuberville for undermining military readiness; MAGA Mike Johnson’s first proposal as speaker of the House would delay critical aid to Israel while blowing up the deficit to give tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy; more of Johnson’s extreme MAGA record and agenda came to light; and Donald Trump tore into retiring House Republican Ken Buck for not being a loyal enough MAGA minion.

Tommy Tuberville doubled down on his blockade of critical military promotions — a reckless decision that is jeopardizing our national security and military readiness, even as some Senate Republicans have begun to call out Tuberville.

Andrew Desiderio, Punchbowl News: “‘Sen. Sullivan still going after Tuberville, three hours in: ‘Xi Jinping is loving this. So is Putin. How dumb can we be, man?’”

Andrew Desiderio, Punchbowl News: “Sullivan getting angrier as Tuberville continues to object. He says the Chinese and the Russians are watching this and thinking, ‘Gosh I can’t believe how dumb these guys are.’”

Steven Dennis, Bloomberg: “Tuberville: ‘Madam President, I object’

Sullivan: ‘There goes another downgrade of our readiness.’”

Igor Bobic, HuffPost: “Sullivan getting increasingly caustic with each military promotion that Tuberville objects to. 

‘The Chinese are like, “Man we’ve been wanting to take out the U.S. Navy for decades and the U.S. Senate is doing it right now,”’ he remarks”

Steven Dennis, Bloomberg: “Ernst says these are men and women who have sworn to uphold the Constitution and ‘would do it with their blood.’

Tuberville objects again.”

Washington Post: “At one point, Graham, his voice rising, said there’s a reason that no other senator had pursued a move like this for so long. ‘No matter whether you believe it or not, Senator Tuberville, this is doing great damage to our military,’ he said. ‘I don’t say that lightly; I’ve been trying to work with you for nine months.’”

Tuberville’s doubling down came after he was slammed by Pentagon officials for his blockade in the wake of a top Marine’s hospitalization.

Politico: “‘This is outrageous’: Pentagon officials furious over Tuberville holds after top Marine hospitalized”

“Pentagon officials have been frustrated for months over an Alabama senator’s blockade of more than 300 senior military nominations. But after the Marine Corps chief was hospitalized over the weekend, that frustration is turning into rage.”

Senior DOD official: “This is outrageous. … I cannot help but think … that Tuberville’s unnecessary stress that he’s put on the situation where you don’t have a backup … has added a level of complexity and danger to an already bad situation.”

Politico: “25 officers have had their retirements deferred due to the hold, including five who have had to do it twice.”

2024 Republicans have cheered on Tuberville’s reckless blockade, and Ron DeSantis and Tim Scott doubled down on their defense of Tuberville this week.

Florida Politics: “Ron DeSantis backs Tommy Tuberville in ongoing skirmish with Senate”

Mika Brzezinski: “Do you think that Senator Tuberville should lift the blockade that he’s put on military promotions?”

DeSantis: “No.”

Brian Kilmeade: “So you’re with Tuberville?”

Tim Scott: “He is right on his issue.”

MAGA Mike Johnson’s first act as speaker was a ploy to hold up Israel aid and a blatant attempt to advance his MAGAnomics agenda — attempting to give the ultra-wealthy a hall pass at the expense of our working families and our allies abroad.

HuffPost: “To Pay For Israeli Aid, GOP Wants To Make It More Expensive For You To File Your Taxes”

The Independent: “Republicans’ Israel bill would strip money from IRS ability to crack down on tax cheats”

Forbes: “New House Speaker Mike Johnson Ties Funding For Israel To IRS Budget Cuts”

Multiple analyses — including from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — have revealed that MAGA Mike’s proposal would increase the deficit by BILLIONS of dollars.

The Hill: “House GOP’s Israel-IRS bill could add more than $26 billion to deficit: CBO”

Jake Sherman, Punchbowl News: “🚨 BREAKING — CBO says the House’s Israel aid bill is not offset at all. 

Will add $12.5B to the deficit in the next decade.

Cuts to IRS will decrease revenue by $26.7B”

Stephen Neukam, The Messenger: “CBO says GOP’s proposed offsets for their Israel aid bill — a deep cut to IRS funding — would actually increase the deficit by $12.5 billion over the next decade (!!)”

Washington Post: “GOP plan to fund Israel aid with IRS cuts would cost $90 billion, tax chief says”

Danny Werfel, IRS commissioner: “This type of the cut, over the cost of the Inflation Reduction Act, would actually cost taxpayers $90 billion — that’s with a ‘B.’”

Semafor: “The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the GOP bill would add about $30 billion in red ink over a decade. Other independent analyses indicate IRS funding provides at least a two-fold return from stepping up audits on the ultra-rich.”

Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center: “Instead of being an offset, it would actually make matters worse. … The general rule of thumb that the budget scorekeepers use is it’s about 2-to-1. So, if you cut IRS funding [by $14 billion to $15 billion], you’re actually going to increase the deficit by about $30 billion.”

Steven Rattner, MSNBC economic analyst: “To reiterate: offsetting gov’t spending by cutting the IRS budget is like offsetting a fire with gasoline.”

MAGA Mike Johnson’s far-right extremist past was further exposed this week, including his history with anti-LGBTQ+ groups, anti-abortion extremism and efforts to block access to birth control, and comments he made undermining the principles of democracy. 

CNN: “Before he became a politician, House Speaker Mike Johnson partnered with an anti-gay conversion therapy group”

“Prior to launching his political career, Johnson, a lawyer, gave legal advice to an organization called Exodus International and partnered with the group to put on an annual anti-gay event aimed at teens, according to a CNN KFile review of more than a dozen of Johnson’s media appearances from that timespan.”

Rolling Stone: “House Speaker Mike Johnson’s Long Crusade Against Birth Control”

“Johnson is known for being among the most anti-abortion lawmakers in Congress, and for railing against the use of ‘abortion as a form of birth control’ before he was in office. But his statements and actions suggest he does not see much difference between abortion as a form of birth control and birth control as a form of birth control.”

The New Republic: “MAGA Mike Johnson Once Warned About Dangers of Living Under Democracy”

“House Speaker Mike Johnson turned heads on Monday when a website hosting his podcast and church sermons suddenly vanished. Still, Johnson hasn’t been able to completely scrub his prior social media presence, with some evidence of his lectures still floating around online, including a three-hour sermon organized by his wife’s ministry that blasts the newly elected’s Christian fundamentalism.”

“‘By the way, the United States is not a democracy. Do you know what a democracy is? Two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. You don’t want to be in a democracy. Majority rule: not always a good thing,’ Johnson said at the First Baptist Church of Haughton, Louisiana, in 2019.”

The Hill: “Conservatives see hope for anti-abortion, anti-trans push with Speaker Johnson”

“The House GOP’s election of Rep. Mike Johnson (La.) as Speaker is likely to give an opening to social conservatives, who plan to press him on bringing anti-abortion and anti-transgender policies up for a vote.”

“For some of the most right-wing social conservative groups, expectations are high. The fact that someone with such traditional Republican principles was elected to the top post in House leadership shows that those priorities are important to the party, even if some fear the electoral consequences.”

Republican infighting unsurprisingly continued as Donald Trump laid into retiring House Republican Ken Buck for not being MAGA enough.

The Hill: “Trump calls Buck’s decision not to run for reelection a ‘great thing’ for GOP”

“Former President Trump on Wednesday celebrated Rep. Ken Buck’s (R-Colo.) decision not to run for reelection in 2024, calling him ‘weak and ineffective.’ … He said the Colorado Republican must have known ‘he could never win against MAGA.’”