Thursday, July 25, 2024
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3 Republican Senators Talk Weaponization of Government



Three Republican senators spoke Tuesday about the weaponization of government and related problems in Congress on a panel at the National Conservatism Conference in the nation’s capital.

The panel, hosted by former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., featured Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; and Rick Scott, R-Fla.

DeMint began the discussion by saying that the weaponization of government against political opponents has reached an “unprecedented level during the Biden administration.”

The former South Carolina senator said the issue has percolated for a long time as the federal bureaucracy has been “taking more power,” but that President Joe Biden’s administration has brought the problem to the level of a Third World country.

The Left tries to couch its use of weaponized government as upholding the “rule of law,” Lee said.

“But what they mean by the ‘rule of law’ is that they are the rule of law,” Lee said. “And if you run contrary to them, you’re going to find yourself at the opposite end of the rule of law.”

The Utah Republican said that in the cases of former President Donald Trump and his advisers who have been prosecuted, their crime was that they opposed Democrats.

“They found themselves at the receiving end of this lawfare campaign,” Lee said of Trump and his advisers.

But when lawfare campaigns go sideways and are invalidated by courts, he added, they simply denounce the opposition as “against the rule of law.”

Lee pointed to the Left’s demand that the Supreme Court be packed with additional liberal justices.

What makes the lawfare problem particularly acute, Lee said, is that there are now so many federal laws that can be used against Americans. He cited the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance Act, or FACE Act, as an example of how laws can become weaponized.

The FACE Act “allows the government to prosecute you if you protest at, or engage in violence at, or otherwise disrupt the proceedings of an abortion clinic, a pregnancy center, or a church,” Lee said.

But the Biden administration prosecutes only those who engage in pro-life protests outside abortion clinics, not protesters at pro-life pregnancy resource centers, or churches, he said.

“That’s how you end up with guys like Mark Houck, this father of young children, who was prosecuted under the FACE Act for praying at an abortion clinic [and] was pulled out by a SWAT team in the middle of the night in front of his young children,” Lee said.

The Utah senator said that weaponization of government won’t stop with Trump and his advisers because the Left will go after all opponents. The Senate must be a bulwark against this abuse, he said.

Johnson argued that the Senate needs to start doing a better job of being that bulwark against weaponized government.

“Conservatives have to recognize what is happening to our country. We have to open our eyes [to see] that the radical Left, the progressive Democrats, are literally destroying this country. So our first task is to fight and defeat them,” Johnson said.

The issue for the Senate, Scott said, is that “two dictatorships” exist.

On one side is Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and on the other is Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Fla., Scott said.

The Senate is structured in a way that gives leadership too much power, the Florida Republican said. Bills simply are presented to senators and they are asked to vote “yes” or “no” without input or the ability to propose amendments, he said.

“This has got to change,” Scott said.