MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, January 17th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, Cal Thomas on political double standards.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: More than 109 lobbyists and 39 congressional Democrats attended a “winter retreat” last weekend in Puerto Rico, ostensibly to help raise funds for damage caused by hurricane Maria in 2017. The fun in the sun was enhanced by a limited run of the Broadway hit Hamilton, starring its creator, lead actor, and Democratic supporter, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Much of the media ignored what used to be called a “junket,” probably because the cast of characters were Democrats and the major media prefer to focus on bashing President Trump and Republicans.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC sponsored the retreat. Members tried to give themselves cover by meeting with Puerto Rican officials to discuss ongoing cleanup work on the island. This recalls the way these junkets worked in the past when some members of Congress would take their wives along to Europe, or other exotic places. The wives would shop and the member would play several rounds of golf, after which he would meet for an hour or so with a government official and declare the junket “official business.”
The Washington Examiner reported the San Juan gathering took place at a seaside resort where rooms go for $429 a night. The newspaper said participants paid for their own tickets to see Hamilton. Well, that’s a relief. But who paid for the chartered jet, hotel rooms, food, and other entertainment? Could it have been the lobbyists?
All of this partying occurred during the partial government shutdown. But being politicians, they had a response to what seemed like insensitivity to those 800,000 federal employees denied their paychecks last Friday.
Congressman Tony Cardenas of California chairs the BOLD PAC. He said in a statement the lawmakers would monitor the situation in Washington while they were away. He added if Republicans and the White House made any progress on negotiations with Democrats, they would, quote—“act accordingly.”
Oh, what a relief that is. And why couldn’t the “monitoring” be done just as well in Washington? President Trump received no praise for canceling his Christmas holiday in Florida to stay behind and attempt to negotiate with Democrats over funding for his “wall” and the re-opening of those parts of government that are closed. That seems like a double standard to me.
There was a time when investigative reporters would be looking into this and members of Congress would be shamed for such close association with lobbyists. But these days that standard only applies to some politicians and some lobbyists.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.