During a recent hearing of what was evidently the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) got into a verbal sparring match over the contents of a proposed amendment from the California Democrat that would exempt certain vulnerable groups from restrictions on seeking asylum that Republicans want to enact.
The limits would include restricting individuals who enter the U.S. between ports of entry from seeking asylum, mandating what could be longer — and dangerous — waiting periods for individuals pursuing protections available under long-established U.S. law for threatened groups.
“There was a time when my colleagues on the other side of the aisle claimed to oppose Communism and totalitarian dictatorships and welcomed people fleeing those horrible regimes,” Schiff observed. “The underlying bill suggests otherwise. I urge my colleagues to join in this amendment so that those fleeing persecution by these Communist regimes are not put at additional risk by having to wait for long periods of time in dangerous places before they can lawfully apply for asylum.”
That’s about when Gaetz butted into the conversation, asking Schiff whether Saudi Arabia would be included in his description of totalitarian regimes. The Californian deferred to established definitions for the terms he used for the systems of governance at issue, although Schiff acknowledged Gaetz might have been trying to get at an argument of Schiff’s proposed exemptions as overly broad. It would be ironic for Gaetz to be concerned about protections being applied to individuals from Saudi Arabia, considering the amount of energy Trump expended while in office towards essentially supporting the interests of that country’s government, whether in economic and military issues or amid the fallout of one of their totalitarian leaders evidently orchestrating the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“If your question is sincere, which I know assumes too much, but if it is, then will you support the amendment confined to Communist dictatorships? Yes or no, Mr. Gaetz?” Schiff asked. After Gaetz replied that he likely wouldn’t be supporting the amendment in any scenario, the Democrat added: “Well there you go! There you go! Then what about all the rhetoric you constantly espouse about standing up to Communism?.. I would appreciate consistency.”
“The question is not whether you can read the code. The question is whether you stand for anything, Mr. Gaetz,” Schiff eventually added. “Does anything you say mean anything to you?” Republicans, as Schiff noted, claim opposition to Communism but don’t seem particularly concerned with establishing robust protections for individuals actually affected by that brand of authoritarianism. Gaetz’s stance mirrors Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis subjecting Venezuelan migrants to his team’s infamously sponsored trip to Massachusetts with little accompanying resources for the people deceptively put into such an immediately vulnerable situation.
Watch Schiff and Gaetz below: