“President” Donald Trump sits and stews and blames the Democrats for the shutdown, gloating that many of the employees that are not being paid, if not most of them, are Democrats. This latter assertion is incorrect, and one example is federal judges, where funding runs out next Friday, and a majority of those judges are Republican-appointed, including approximately 20% of them by Trump himself.
Today, another one of Trump’s appointees lied. Yes, unlike with most of the mainstream media, the four-letter word – “lies” – is used here at Palmer Report. In a report by CNN, it appears that Trump’s Veterans Affairs Secretary, Robert Wilkie, who has denied paying any heed to the Mar-A-Lago crowd that has tried to influence VA policies, failed to disclose speeches he gave to a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 2009, and earlier had praised Confederate President Jefferson Davis in a speech he gave at the U.S. Capitol.
Wilkie had been a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. However, notwithstanding the ugly nature of these connections, the bottom line is that Wilkie failed in his requirement to disclose “his public statements, published materials and memberships he held in organizations.” A spokesman for Wilkie gave some mealy-mouthed response about Wilkie’s “best recollection” and that he stopped when the “issue became divisive.”
Wilkie must be a vampire or time traveler, because last anyone checked, Confederate group membership and praise for Davis has been out of style for at least one hundred years. This is what is meant by the term “deplorables” and it applies. Wilkie was listed not very long ago as still being a member. And he left it off his form, just as so many in Trump’s orbit left their interactions with the Russians off their resumes and disclosures. Wilkie’s spokesman also noted that Wilkie had fully disclosed the ties he had to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. However, at best, he misled the Senate.
Wilkie’s 1995 speech referred to Jefferson Davis as a “martyr to ‘The Lost Cause’” and continued, “We can’t surrender American history to an enforced political orthodoxy dictated to our children by attention-starved politicians, street corner demagogues, and tenured campus radicals.” He also referred to abolitionists “as mendacious as the Jacobins of Revolutionary France” and those who funded John Brown’s raid at Harper Ferry as “enemies of liberty.” One is very surprised that Wilkie was not prouder of these statements and speeches and views, and astonished he did not list them in his disclosures. Not.
Daniel Cotter is a lawyer writing and teaching about SCOTUS, and married father of two boys living in Chicago, Illinois.