Steve Scalise Calls Out Donald Trump

Donald Trump and Steve Scalise on better days . . .

Some things age well, like fine wine, George Clooney, Halle Berry, and Robin Wright.

Some things do not.

Back on January 6, 2021, when certain GOP senators and representatives objected to the certification of the Arizona results and the two houses went into separate sessions, Steve Scalise was the first member recognized to speak in the House. Here is part of what he said, taken from the Congressional Record, after some preliminary remarks about the Founders. Note, please, the three parts I put in bold:

. . . We have to follow the constitutional process. Now, there might be reasons why some people don’t like the process laid out by a legislative body. Madam Speaker, I served on one of those legislative bodies when I was in the State legislature for 12 years. I served on the House and Governmental Affairs Committee, where we wrote the laws for our State’s elections. And I can tell you, when we had to make changes, those were extensively negotiated. We would have people on both sides come.

Republicans and Democrats, Madam Speaker, would get together to work through those changes, any minute change to how a precinct would function, to how a change would be made in the time of an election, signature requirements, all the many things that involve a clerk carrying out the duties in each parish, in our case.

You would see people come and give testimony, Madam Speaker. Both sides could come. Clerks of court were there in the hearing rooms.

It was an open process, by the way, not behind closed doors in a smoke-filled room where somebody might want to bully a secretary of state to get a different version that might benefit them or their party or their candidate. That is not what our Founding Fathers said is the process. Maybe it is how some people wanted to carry it out. But they laid out that process.

So when we would have to make those changes, they were in public view; they were heavily debated; and then, ultimately, those laws were changed in advance of the election so everybody knew what the rules were.

People on both sides knew how to play by the rules before the game started, not getting somewhere in the process and saying, well, you don’t think it is going to benefit you, so you try to go around the Constitution. That is not how our system works. It has gotten out of hand. So President Trump has called this out, and President Trump has stood up to it. So many of us have stood up to it.


It is time we get back to what our Founding Fathers said is the process for selecting electors: that is the legislatures in public view, not behind closed doors, not smoke-filled rooms, not bullying somebody that might give you a better ruling. Let’s get back to rule of law and follow the Constitution, Madam Speaker.

[end of remarks]

[C-Span video of Scalise’s remarks here.]

Scalise is worried that “somebody might want to bully a secretary of state”? Horrors!

Scalise is concerned that “some people” want a different process that allows for bullying a secretary of state? Say it ain’t so!

Scalise is bothered by the notion that somebody might put pressure on an elections official so that they “might give you a better ruling”? Inconceivable!

. . . pause . . .

. . . deep breath . . .

. . . looking around nervously . . .

. . . checking the skies to see if lightning is about to strike . . .

Waiting for Donald Trump to come down *hard* on Scalise in three . . . two . . . one . . .

46 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Heh. Popping corn right now to munch on as I await the Wrath of Don.

    [insert modded image of Trump’s face over Star Trek villain Khan]

  2. Ithaqua0 says:

    Note also his phrase “It is time we get back to what our Founding Fathers said is the process for selecting electors: that is the legislatures in public view” – no citizens voting here!

        • Fancy Chicken says:

          Just got “Tyranny of the Minority” by Daniel Ziblatt and Stephen Levitsky on audiobook. Not very far into it yet, but the very first chapter is about “the only legitimate process is where we win”.

          They postulate that in functioning democracies when parties loose they concede and then figure out how to win the next election cycle.

          But in democracies becoming less democratic, parties that loose elections, refuse to concede and/or denounce the election as rigged or unfair are often minority parties who see loosing elections as an existential crisis where where their values are under threat, the demographics of the voting population are changing against them and they do not believe that they can win any longer in fair democratic elections so they see their only choice as destroying democratic norms.

          We know this of course from analysis of the MAGAfied GOP but it’s actually helpful that the authors use international examples of minority tyranny as it steps around American polarization (at least in the beginning) and offers a freshness of view by looking at other countries.

          But my burning question is, how do we stop this minority tyranny?

          • KittyRehn says:

            I’m always excited when I see someone recommend a book or an article here because they’re almost always good. I picked up a copy of the Second Founding by Eric Forner from my library after seeing it mentioned here, and while I haven’t yet had a chance to finish it I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’ve been meaning to read that article on conservatism and disgust that Rayne linked a while back as that is a topic I am super interested in, but I’ve yet to get my hands on it because of the paywall. I’ll have to check this out!

  3. Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

    Imagine living in a universe where picking Scalise is an improvement over the alternative.

    Oh. Wait…

  4. Mister_Sterling says:

    I remember that speech well. Trump surely will not be pleased about Scalise’s nomination. The problem for the GOP is if they went to the floor to vote for a Speaker tomorrow, Scalise would get fewer votes than Hakeem Jeffries. The GOP caucus might not be able to come up with the votes needed. This all but assures a Federal shutdown in 37 days.

  5. pablointhegazebo says:

    It took far more than one would have thought but I think it’s safe to say that we can put the “Democrats in Disarray” headline to bed.

      • Bobster33 says:

        I’ve never understood why Democrats don’t reframe the situation and beam with pride that they got rid of one of the worst Speakers in modern history.

    • BobBobCon says:

      The conventional wisdom loving DC press has no clue how the disputes between Democrats which fed “Dems in Disarray” narratives were actually a source of strength.

      Democrats will struggle over genuine policy because they actually care about it. Which means that the Democratic leadership can cut deals with the rank and file, and offer a win on one issue if they take a loss on another.

      It’s amazing how inscrutable the policy differences between Scalise and Jordan are — it’s like reading Gibbon about the differences between rival theological factions in the early Byzantine empire. And when you get to that level of abstraction, debate and compromise become impossible.

      Most political reporters and pundits don’t care about policy in any substantial way, which is why they give so much credence to GOP viewpoints. And it’s why they’re so flummoxed now by the difference between the Pelosi-led House and the current GOP House. They can’t accept that one side cares about substance and the other doesn’t, or see what that might mean.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Refreshing, if he meant it. Refreshing even if it was intended only for public consumption. But it’s not as if his derision described the absence of smoke-filled rooms inside the Beltway, let alone those operated by private members’ only clubs around the country. The Bohemian Club and its Grove, for example, comprise one giant smoke-filled room, as do the estates that Thomas and Alito have been flown to gratis over the past twenty years.

    • Ithaqua0 says:

      Not going to agree with the “Refreshing” part, given that, in the penultimate sentence quoted in the OP, he’s advocating having the state legislatures choose the electors, not voters. Sure, the Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona legislatures can hold a public session to choose Republican electors! Not an improvement, IMO. But I do agree with the rest of it.

  7. Fly by Night says:

    Just watched Kaitlyn Collins interview Rep Buck (R-CO) regarding the Republican closed door caucus. She asked him point blank if either Scalise or Jordan acknowledged that Trump lost the 2020 election during that meeting. Neither would. She pressed him further: Did Scalise believe that Trump lost. Buck replied that Scalise does not believe Biden won. So that’s where we are at, regardless of any past or present speeches.

    • Peterr says:

      Scalise was saying “Hey, we’ve got concerns about all the changes to state laws because of COVID — changes the courts should have thrown out. We’re not doing anything wrong by raising these issues. It’s not like we called up a secretary of state and tried to bully him into changing his state’s votes or anything . . .”

      • FL Resister says:

        Exactly that.
        This crop of Republicans has found the confines of law too restrictive for them. So they have jabber jaws demanding defunding the FBI and Jack Smith, flood the zone with lies and garbage reasoning. Buy off the judges.

        We the People, inured party here, insist the federal Trump trials be televised for all to freely access the truth.
        In a democracy , the public still has a right to get the full story.

        • FL Resister says:

          Meant to type “injured” though some of us are in fact,
          past tense: inured; past participle: inured
          accustom (someone) to something, especially something unpleasant.
          “these children have been inured to violence”
          And they need to wake up.

          • FL Resister says:

            I apologize for needless lines and sloppy edits—disturbed about Israel now Gaza with feckless House.

      • Sherrie H says:

        “Hey, we’ve got concerns about all the changes to state laws because of COVID”

        In states Trump lost, anyway. NC passed some of the same changes but these paragons didn’t challenge our results.

  8. Chuffles says:

    McCarthy and McConnell also had some pretty stern words for the Coup d’Orange as well…but that was a long time ago, and stories have changed…I’m not holding my breath that Scalise will distance himself, or the Party, in any meaningful way after all this time has passed.

    Gonna be a long year…

  9. dopefish says:
    CBS News has this story today with the headline: “Judge in Trump’s New York fraud trial explains why there’s no jury”

    Former President Donald Trump did not request a jury for his New York civil fraud trial, but even if he had asked for one, the answer would’ve been “no,” a judge said Wednesday.

    Judge Arthur Engoron addressed an issue that had been the subject of speculation on social media and by Trump himself, saying it “keeps coming up,” even though he doesn’t “read the papers or go online to read about” the trial.

    Apparently, the relief sought by the prosecution would be an “equitable” remedy (disgorgement of the ill-gotten gains from the fraud), not a “legal” remedy (where a jury might be appropriate to decide damages). James’ office checked the box suggesting a bench trial, and Trump’s team had 15 days to oppose that and didn’t, because there would be no point.

    The article’s final paragraph made me laugh out loud:

    “I would like to say thank you, your honor,” said attorney Alina Habba, before turning to reporters in the gallery. “Press, did you hear that? I didn’t forget to check the box.”

    • missinggeorgecarlin says:

      Someday…..if we survive all this crap, the Cohen Bros. will make a great film about this horrible time in US history.

      Perhaps in a decade or two, we’ll be able to look back at “this” and laugh about it a little bit.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      Anyone figured out how Habba is simultaneously Trump’s attorney and adviser to his Super PAC?

    • SteveBev says:

      If only Engoron had gone on to say
      “I am happy to confirm that this particular instance is not an example of Ms Habba having been incompetent” /s

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Ms. Habba is the stopped clock, bragging that twice a day she can tell the correct time, and pretends it’s true for the rest of the day.

    • jdmckay8 says:

      Alina’s performances just outside courtrooms of late remind of an appropriate joke:

      Q: What’s the difference between brown-nosing and kissing-ass?
      A: Depth perception.

  10. Critter7 says:

    Scalise ended up voting with other Republican House members on January 6, objecting to both the Arizona and the Pennsylvania electors .

    Reading his remarks in the Congressional Record, it appears that Scalise was intending the “some people” to mean Democrats. As he said in those remarks, “We have seen over and over again more States where the Democratic Party has gone in and selectively gone around this [Constitutional] process.”

  11. Matt Foley says:

    Pussollini demanding apology for being kicked off Forbes 400.
    “People tell me all the time I’m the richest person they know. So unfair and nasty what Forbes did to me!”

    He also accused Biden of tipping off Hamas to our plans. Yeah, careful with those nuclear sub secrets, Pussollini, you MIGHT tip off our enemies.

  12. Savage Librarian says:


    He’s going nowhere
    with the greatest of ease,
    Buccaneering man
    by the name of Scalise,
    He’s proved he’s disgraceful,
    He’s hurled his pleas,
    Profile of a purloined cliche.

    He schooled that Gym Jordan,
    Addressed him to rights,
    Damned if he would
    divvy the cheese,
    He bet he had
    a more masculine name,
    Now the game’s over, Scalise.

    McHenry? Emmer?
    Who’s crawling on their knees?
    And second-chance man,
    Big Kev No-Thank-You-Please,
    But for this to work,
    We nod to Jeffries,
    And that’s what we’re now all part of.

    “1928 Themola London Pianola – The Man On The Flying Trapeze”

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