House Republicans Grapple with Backlash After Ethics Vote

January 4, 2017 - Omar Saif Ghobash 01/04/2017 Views: 73,518

Trevor explains to Republicans in the House of Representatives why their constituents were mad that they tried to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. (7:45)

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the year has just started,and I don't know...

I don't know about you guys, butI spent all of today laughing

about what happenedto House Republicans yesterday.

Like, the whole d...I've just been walking around

in the office giggling.(giggling)

No, because--you got to humor me--

not only did the publiccome after them

for trying to gutthe House ethics c... office,

but even their party's leader

threw them under the buson Twitter.

And this is somethingI was thinking about last night

is that wh-what's crazyabout this is

Republicans found outabout Donald Trump's reply

the same way we did,at the same time we did.

Like, you realize we're allin this (bleep) together.

They found outfrom Donald Trump's Twitter.

Can you imagine now,old-ass congressmen

who don't care about technology

or what everyone elseis thinking,

now they've got to, like,open a Twitter account

just to stay in the loop. Theseguys who are sitting there,

like, "How does this work?What is this?

"What... Who's RT?What's going on here?

"What... Why is my face an egg?I don't want to be an egg.

I don't want to be an egg.What's going on?"

I really think it's fun.Because here-here's the mistake

Republicans made in Congress,you know?

We talked a little bitabout this yesterday.

But-but you realize that Trump,he said,

"I'm gonna drain the swamp,drain the swamp,

"drain the swamp,get rid of old politicians,

get rid of old lobbyists."

And then he comes in,and everyone sees him

bringing in his friendsand his family

and people from Goldman Sachsand Rex Tillerson from Exxon.

Everyone was like, "Oh,the swamp is open for business."

And then as soonas the Republicans are like,

"No more ethics! Swamp time!"

And Trump is like,"Hey! What are you doing?"

And they're like,"Oh, I thought you were...

I-I thought you were..."He's like, "No."

But I realize it's-it's's not the Republicans' fault.

You see, Trump is the personwho's at fault here.

He said, "Drain the swamp,"but I-I think what he meant

to say was he wantsto privatize the swamp

and make it members only.That's what he's doing.

Yeah, it's only members andfriends allowed into the swamp.

Yeah. Old-school politicians,you got to get out.

Get out.Yeah, old-school lobbyists,

get-get the (bleep) out.Get the (bleep) out of here.

And, by the way, by the way,today, these Republicans

who tried to spitethe ethics office,

they're actinglike everything is cool.

This is probably my favoritething about politicians

in America.It's not what they do--

it's how they act like it didn'thappen afterwards, you know?

They act like everything's cool,you know? Walking around...

It's almost like they-they wenton honeymoon,

and then, on the first night,they told their wife

that they want to have sexwith her best friend.

And then the next day they'rejust walking around, like,

"So, how did you sleep? Mmm.How did you sleep?"

Here-Here's oneof my favorite moments.

Iowa Representative Steve King,who somehow makes it sound

like the American publicdid something unethical to him.

REPORTER: Republicans say they still intend to reform

the office, which currently has the power to investigate

anonymous complaints that can turn out to be baseless.

Iowa's Steve King.

Jesus had the rightto face his accusers.

He asserted thatbefore the high priests.

And we're saying membersof Congress shouldn't be...

-shouldn't have that?-Why-why should...

Amen, brother, amen!

Why shouldn't Congress getthe same treatment as Jesus?

If Jesus can turn waterinto wine,

then why can't Congress turna lobbyist's cash

into a Swiss bank account?Can I get an amen?

What is this guy saying?

"If it's good for Jesus,why can't it happen to us?"

He's Jesus-- that's why!

But, really...One of my favorite moments,

my favorite moment ofsomeone dodging responsibility

came from Paul Ryan, wholiterally dodged responsibility.

And the speaker, we tried to ask, but he wouldn't bite.

Mr. Speaker, what do you makeof the delay of the ethics vote?

I'm sorry, what?You don't walk and talk?

Then what are you doing there?What are you doing?

What are you doing?What is this, a riddle?

What is that, a riddle?"I don't walk and..."

That's what you're doing.

You know what would have beenso funny, right,

is if, after that clip,Paul Ryan just slammed

into a column, face-first.

Just like, ba! "Aah! This is whyI don't walk and talk.

"This is why I don't walk...It's dangerous!

This is why I don't walkand talk!"

Now, the backlash that camefrom this ethics dilemma

wasn't just from the Democratson the Hill.

WOMAN: The move sparked outrage from the public.

Sparking a national backlashyesterday.

MAN: A chorus of criticism.

WOMAN: Coming under fire.

Tons of phone calls

from angry constituents.

MAN: The blowback from the public led to

a quick and total reversal.

Yeah, Americans are pissed,and rightfully so.

The question is,why are Americans so pissed?

Well, let's seeif Republicans can figure it out

in our brand new hitNBC game show

-Why are Americans Mad? -(upbeat theme music plays)

(cheers and applause)

The game...the game where we find out

if politicians knowwhy Americans hate them.

Our first contestant

is two-term Virginia congressmanDavid Brat.

Congressman, you triedrepealing the ethics rules.

The question is... why...

are Americans mad?

Part of it is the headlines

where we were backing offon ethics.

So that's not a good headlinewhen it comes to messaging.


So you think the problemwith this whole debacle

is the waythe headlines were phrased?


That's an interesting wayto process the information.

"It wasn't the cometthat hit the earth.

It was the sensational headlinesthat did the real damage."

-(laughter)-"That's what it was."

So, why are Americans mad?

Is it becauseof how headlines are written?

(buzzer sounds)

Oh! Sorry, Congressman.

-You've been eliminatedfrom everything. -(laughter)

-Except power.-(laughter)

So let's move on nowto our next contestants,

Mike Coffman from Coloradoand Tom Cole from Oklahoma.

Gentlemen, they saytwo heads are better than one,

so maybeyou can answer the question,

-why... are Americans mad?-(laughter)

This was, uh, the wrong message

to send at the startof the session.

I think it's absolutelythe right thing to do,

but it probably wasn'tthe right time to do it.

So you think Americans are mad

because you're slimy,but slimy too soon.


That's a strange thing to say.

Like, people were sittingat home saying,

"I can't believe thesecongressmen acted so shamefully

-in January."-(laughter)

"Everyone knowsyou save your shame for June!"

-(laughter)"The sun is out.

Ass out. Bad moves. Come on!"

So why are Americans mad?

Is it becausethey wanted a bit more foreplay

-before they got screwed?-(buzzer sounds)


Computer says no.


I could have swornthat was the right answer.

All right, let's move onto our final contestant,

Mark Sanfordfrom South Carolina.

Surely, you have...And by the way,

you know he's gonna get it wrongnow, guys, right?

-(laughter)-This is basically a pattern.

What I'm doing is,I'm going to play the...

They're all gonnaget it wrong. That's...

But I don't want you guysto lose hope as an audience.

I want you to still showthe full support to this person,

'cause you never know.

So, Mark Sanford...

-why... are Americans mad?-(laughter)

Well, I think, you know, a goodmessage is being sent here,

which is, you know,Republican leadership

and membership alike saidthis is a problem,

we need to change it,and we just did.

-Get the (bleep)out of here, man! -(laughter)

This guy's trying to take credit

for fixing the mistakethat they made.

You can't (bleep) on the floor

and then brag abouthow you cleaned it up.

-You can't do that!You can't do that! -(laughter)

-(applause and cheering)-"But look how shiny it is.

"Look how shiny it is.

I (bleep), and now lookhow shiny it is!"

No! Is that whyAmericans are mad?

-(buzzer sounds)-Ah, I thought so!

And so, unfortunately,once again,

no one in Congress winsour grand prize,

which,in case you were wondering,

is... an ounce of decency. Yeah.

-(laughter and groaning)-There you go.

That's what it is. Yeah.

I know you scoff at it,but it's uh...

Oh, it's really,really powerful stuff.

You get high off this (bleep).

And it's a righteous high.