Rep. Andy Biggs, the Republican-Of-Course congressman from Arizona, took to the Fox Business network this morning to chat with hateful jar of mayonnaise Stuart Varney for some reason. He was asked by Varney to weigh in on Donald Trump's declaration yesterday that Democratic members of Congress not applauding enough during the State of the Union speech were "un-American" and perhaps "treasonous."
Biggs, who had previously urged Trump to pardon Arizona ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio despite (or rather, because of) Arpaio's defiance of federal court orders and commitment to illegal racial profiling, and who before that was a sponsor of an Arizona Senate bill demanding the up-for-reelection Barack Obama release his "original long form birth certificate" or be booted off the Arizona ballot, made an attempt at being the folksy voice of reason. Sort of.
"He might have been a little hyperbolic there, I'm not sure that it's treasonous to sit during the State of the Union address, although it is certainly disrespectful. And I couldn't understand why they wouldn't stand up for 'a nation under God' but they would stand up for some of the things, in the end they might have some 'splaining to do when they meet God (chuckles) but otherwise I think it's just disrespectful, that's all.
Varney was giddy at this pronouncement, but it's not quite clear what Biggs is referring to; the official speech transcript does not appear to have those words. Nevertheless, we will take Biggs' word that 1.) they were in there somewhere and 2.) this was apparently a pivotal and memorable moment for Biggs, who was so put out that saying God in a speech did not bring the entire audience to its feet that he 3.) still isn't over it as of this Tuesday morning and 4.) is pretty sure God Himself, upon vetting each patriotic American for heaven, will be seeking an explanation for why specific individual lawmakers did not stand up when Donald Trump said "God" that one time. Who knew so much theology could be reduced to a game of Red Light, Green Light?
On CNN, New York GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney was asked a similar question because of course she was. Her response is that hell yes, anyone who does not stand up as often as someone else stands up during a speech should count as not loving our fine country.
“I would say it was un-american. And they don’t love our country. I don’t know if I would go as far as treasonous,” Tenney said on CNN Tuesday morning when asked About Trump’s comments about Democrats’ behavior during his speech.
All of this while the White House itself is attempting to walk back Donald's declaration that insufficient-applause-is-now-treason as an attempt at humor. On the contrary, says Tenney, he was going in the right direction here! We should mark this down in the great big book of It's Not Just Trump, The Entire Republican Party Is Enamored of Authoritarian Gibberish.
The party assailed the last (black) president as being secretly a "Muslim," or a "terrorist sympathizer," or secretly not even a true American citizen at all. Forget the metric of insufficient applause; House Republican shouted “You lie!” during one of the last president's speeches to Congress, and solicited donations afterward for doing so. So this new policy is, like everything else the party now supposedly stands for, an invention that applies only to themselves and only when convenient.
Thankfully, as of the present moment the rest of us don't have to put up with it—even a wee little bit.