This weekend during an appearance on CBS’s Face The Nation, Louisiana Republican Senator and ardent Trump ally John Kennedy attempted to broadly defend the president’s recent public intervention in his pal Roger Stone’s criminal case, and it went memorably sideways, to say the least. He ended up seeming to compare Trump to, uh, Mick Jagger from the rock band The Rolling Stones and discussing the possibility of (hypothetically?) singing that band’s song “Honky Tonk Women” in a church. In other words, the GOP’s collective frenzy to defend Trump has reached laughable new heights.
Host Margaret Brennan had asked Kennedy for his take on the president’s tweet in which he complained about an original sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years for Stone. After criticism of the outburst mounted, Trump publicly (and dubiously) insisted that he has the right to intervene in criminal cases if he wanted to.
Kennedy tried to insist that yes, the president has the right to do… something.
‘Does the president have a right to tweet about a case? Of course. Just because you can sing though, doesn’t mean you should sing. You can have a voice like Mick Jagger, but you wouldn’t want to start belting out “Honky Tonk WomEn” in church. This is a case where tweeting less would not cause brain damage. Look — Roger Stone is pretty good at bad decisions, and nobody would confuse him with Alexander Hamilton. Bill Barr’s Justice Department prosecuted him and convicted him. While the attorney general and others were trying to get the sentencing recommendation straight, the president tweeted, put the attorney general in an awkward spot, and he spoke out.’
.@SenJohnKennedy on @realDonaldTrump’s tweet about Roger Stone this week: "Just because you CAN sing, though, doesn’t mean you SHOULD sing.” Adds, "This is a case where tweeting less would not cause brain damage" pic.twitter.com/GaiWhQOE5x
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 16, 2020
Although Brennan cut in with another question, Kennedy also sounded like he was saying that he hopes that Trump listens to Barr, who in a recent headline-grabbing ABC interview, claimed that the president’s incessant tweeting makes his job “impossible.” The problem is that Kennedy’s flippant hope for the president to dial down the chaos because someone asked him to has no actual relation to Trump’s documented behavior patterns. Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins insisted she thought that Trump had “learned a lesson” from the impeachment proceedings — but within days, he’d reverted to continuing to pursue an investigation of the Bidens, firing those who’d dared to testify against him, and more.
Going forward, Trump has been reported by The New York Times to be angry about the latest moves from the Justice Department, including their decision to drop an investigation into former FBI official Andrew McCabe. That same report said that a Justice Department official feared metaphorical death by a thousand cuts at the hands of the president, like happened to the previous attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Perhaps Kennedy should worry about that instead of his bizarre analogies involving decades-old rock bands and church singing.
He’s not up for re-election this year, but many of his colleagues are. The Cook Political Report currently rates three GOP-held Senate seats as toss-ups heading into November. Three more are only “leaning” Republican, which is the last stop before toss-up status.