The Senate has been busy, not only holding former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial—the outcome of which is all but depressingly predetermined due to Republicans’ willful refusal to assign any blame to their dear leader—but also holding confirmation hearings for many of President Joe Biden’s nominees.
This week, it’s been Neera Tanden’s turn under the spotlight, and it’s certainly been two days of... something! Tanden, the head of the Center for American Progress who is Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, is not exactly a favorite of Republicans, due to her penchant for calling them assholes. And as expected, the prolific tweeter and shitposter has come under some fire for her past comments online. Funny how Republicans can muster the energy to be upset over Tanden’s tweets, which honestly were pretty mild, yet Donald Trump’s relationship to an insurrection that almost led to their Republican colleague Mitt Romney being killed gets a pass! Wonder what that’s about.
On Tuesday, Tanden apologized for hurting Ted Cruz’s feelings when she said that vampires have more of a heart than the man many suspect to be the Zodiac killer, as well as for calling Susan Collins “the worst.” On Wednesday, Tanden’s dumb tweets were again the big topic at her hearing, only today, her hearing also featured Republican Senator John Kennedy uttering the phrase “ignorant slut.”
Lindsey Graham got in on the action early on, referencing some disparaging tweets Tanden had written about Senator Bernie Sanders. “The point I’m trying to make here is that in a time of unity, we’re picking somebody who throws sharp elbows,” Graham said, before proceeding to read out... Glassdoor reviews left by staffers who worked at the Center for American Progress.
The aforementioned Bernie Sanders also acknowledged Tanden’s reputation as a top-tier shitposter, mentioning that he himself had often been the target of Tanden’s Twitter account.
“Your attacks were not just made against Republicans, there were vicious attacks made against progressives, people who I have worked with, me personally,” Sanders said. “So as you come before this committee to assume a very important role in the United States government at a time when we need serious work on serious issues and not personal attacks on anybody whether they’re on the left or the right, can you reflect a little bit on some of your decisions and the personal statements you have made in recent years?”
Tanden once again apologized. “I recognize it’s really important for me to demonstrate I can work with others, and I look forward to taking that burden, and I apologize to people on either the left or right who are hurt by what I’ve said.”
But then came Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, who decided to defend Bernie’s honor. “You called Senator Sanders everything but an ignorant slut,” Kennedy said, his voice filled with feigned outrage.
It was followed by this absurd moment, in which Kennedy wanted to make sure that everyone knew he did not actually call Sanders an “ignorant slut.”
Bernie, for his part, seemed more concerned about the large corporate donations CAP has received, and whether those contributions would influence Tanden if confirmed. Via Politico:
Sanders said Wednesday that his affirmative vote for her confirmation will be contingent on assurance that the money the Center for American Progress has taken in under Tanden’s leadership will not undermine her duty to “create an economy that works for all of us, and not just wealthy campaign contributors.”
“At a time when the wealthy and large corporations have extraordinary influence over the economic and political life of this country, I must tell you that I am concerned about the level of corporate donations that the Center for American Progress has received under your leadership,” Sanders said, noting that The Washington Post found $33 million in private sector donations to the think tank in an analysis of tax filings and donor disclosures.
No word on whether a condition of Tanden’s confirmation will be her voluntary forfeiture of her Twitter account.