Nicolle Wallace brings the hard-hitting journalism, asks James Clyburn: ‘I need you to fill me up with wisdom’

In an interview oddly reminiscent of Brian Stelter’s softball questioning of White House press secretary Jen Psaki, MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace sat down with Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn to discuss the House’s voting rights legislation better known as the “For the People Act.”

Wallace opened up the cringeworthy interview on “Deadline: White House” Monday by telling Clyburn: “I’m going to be really brief because I just need you to fill me up with wisdom here.”

She continued with an attack on Republicans in general: “But, the Republicans, I spent time in that party, this is their whole game. This is a maniacal, urgent, front burner, back burner, middle burner issue and they won’t stop until there are voter suppression laws on the books… that if the election of 2020 had taken place with those laws on the books, they might of been able to do what they’re still trying to do, overthrow the will of the voters. It disproportionately hurts black voters, minority voters, and young voters. How do you fight back if all the Democrats in Washington don’t see it that way?”

Wallace seemed to be referring to Senator Joe Manchin who has declared he is voting against the bill. Clyburn claimed that it hurts the entire country and destroys the democratic principles on which this nation was based, warning that America will be “going the way of the Roman empire.”

(Video Credit: MSNBC)

Republicans and other critics of the act argue that it would ostensibly give control of elections to the federal government.

Clyburn warned that the Senate must bypass the filibuster using the reconciliation process to protect voting rights. In other words, to protect the individual right to vote, you have to federalize elections which many contend does the exact opposite.

Wallace asked Clyburn: “If you have in the Republican Party at this moment a party that is not a governing partner, what value then is a tradition not a law like the filibuster?”

“The filibuster has very little value and should not have any value when it comes to constitutional rights. Voting rights or basically constitutional rights,” Clyburn responded. “The filibuster, even a tradition, is to extend debate on legislation question. That’s one thing. For the People Act, sure, if you want to vote against it, then vote against it. If you vote to keep me or anybody else from voting for it, that’s a problem. That’s what Joe Manchin is doing here.”

He also noted: “That is just one vote against the For the People Act, and that’s fine. But what he is doing now is aiding and abetting a process that keeps democratic principles from taking place. Jon Ossoff, the two senators from Georgia, would like to vote on The For the People Act but what he is doing is preventing them from voting on the act. That, to me, is the worst possible way to use the filibuster. I never asked them to get rid of the filibuster. We made an exception with the budget. We have what we call reconciliation. I said to people over and over again the word reconciliation is more apt to be applied to constitutional rights than it is to the budget. So let’s not allow the filibuster to be used to deny basic constitutional rights to anybody. We ought not pass the filibuster denying constitutional rights.”

Wallace pressed Clyburn on the urgency of passing the voting rights bill and again he used the Constitution to make his point: “Article 1 section 4 of the Constitution making it clear that Congress has a right to determine the rules concerning federal elections. So this whole notion that the Congress is powerless is just not true.”

“We have got to decide whether or not members of Congress are going to stand up for constitutional principles before a democracy or will not allow… the tyranny of the minority to run the country and when you do that then you are headed downhill fast,” Clyburn warned. “When I used to teach history I used to tell my students all the time I want you to remember two dates. 476 AD. That’s the year the Roman empire fell and passed the whole world into darkness. And it did not come to light again until 1066 when William the Conqueror opened it up again and if we’re not careful- the greatest democracy on the face of the Earth will go the way of the Roman empire. The history is very clear.”

He argued, “I would say this is not a Democratic problem. This is not a problem for Democrats. This is a problem for every person in these United States of America and we better wake up or we can gonna find ourselves going the way of the Roman empire and many others since.”

“I had been hoping for the appropriate historical parallel. I thank you very much just now for providing it,” Wallace reverently commented. “And I hope that you get in front of Democratic and Republican lawmakers and prevail with your wisdom and your urgency.”

Those on Twitter were less than impressed with Wallace’s genuflection before Clyburn, and noted the similarities to Stelter asking Psaki softball questions such as “what do you think we get wrong” when covering President Joe Biden’s agenda.


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