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Video: Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA11) Talks About Leading Prayer for Alexei Navalny, the GOP Going From the Party of Reagan to Putin Enablers, the Need to Unite Around Joe Biden and Save Democracy, the “very ultra-right political Supreme Court”‘s “terrible ruling,” etc.

Great job by Katherine White of NetworkNOVA interviewing Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA11) yesterday See below for video, as well as a few highlights, including:

  • “There was…a big House delegation that included Nancy Pelosi and Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader, as well as the ranking members of Intelligence and Armed services and Foreign Affairs and the chairman the Republican chairman of the intelligence committee who’s a big supporter of Ukraine, Mike Turner of Ohio. And so he and I led this big delegation to the Munich security conference where Kamala Harris spoke, and to the NATO parliamentary assembly…in Brussels…And when we were there we got the news that Alexei Navalny had died. And it turned out that his widow was at the Munich security conference, so she was a surprise guest and she had the poise and self-possession to be able to speak, which was amazing because she had just learned her husband had died that morning. We the US delegation met with her privately later that day and it was very moving. She talked about the fact that she was going to carry on the work of her husband and that she wasn’t going to give up and that sooner or later someday Russia was going to be a free country again – free of Vladimir Putin and free of authoritarian, dictatorial…She is an extraordinary person, her composure was amazing; you could tell she was holding back a lot of emotion in order to speak to people to remind them what Alexei stood for and what the stakes are…At one point, Nancy Pelosi even said I think we need to have a prayer in memory of Alexei, with Julia being there. And there were 18 House members plus staff and others in the room, and everyone saying well who who’s going to lead us in prayer, and finally they all said well Gerry, so the Irish guy. So I led us in prayer. And when it was all finished, Nancy said to me privately, who knew you were so spiritual? And I looked at her and her staff and I said what does she think, she’s the only Catholic in the room?”
  • “It is amazing as you said Katherine. I mean here’s the Cold War party, this is the party of Ronald Reagan who talked about the Soviet Union being an evil empire, this is the party of Ronald Reagan going to the Berlin Wall saying Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall. What happened to them? Now they’re Putin enablers and it’s all because of Donald Trump. They are so terrified of crossing him on anything, they’re willing to actually cede their longterm commitment to fighting Russian and before that Soviet assertiveness to please Donald Trump, who has a problem with Russia. I mean, there is something very weird about Donald Trump and his connections with Putin and with Russian operatives.”
  • “I wish I could have given them reassurance. I had to couch everything I said in ‘we’ll have to see’. This is a absolutely critical election. Donald Trump cannot win. We’re gonna fight tooth and nail for aid to Ukraine, but also more importantly for democracy not only surviving but hopefully flourishing here in the United States. If we can basically smite Donald Trump and his acolytes in this election, I think it’s a turning point, we put this virus behind us. If we don’t, god help us, and I’m not even going to speculate on that because I am determined to make sure we win. The stakes are so high. And I will say, any one of us as Democrats  – with a big D or a small d – can pick apart something we don’t like with Joe Biden. Every time we do that we are eroding the edifice we’ve built to counter Donald Trump. This is not the time to to be equivocal. This is not the time to be overly critical of Joe Biden. Put it aside for now; he’s our nominee, he’s going to be our nominee and we need him to win. And I know Joe Biden; I worked for him for 10 years. The man has mental acuity…He’s slowed down physically, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do the job. And the alternative is too horrifying to contemplate. So  I’ll take the 81 year old with the acuity he has over the orange-headed monster who is alternative.”
  • “…when we look at reproductive rights, exactly what we predicted after the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade has happened...So we see an Alabama Supreme Court invoking god…god infuses personhood at the moment of conception so an embryo is the equivalent of a child. Now the irony of that ruling is that IVF is used by couples to have children…and you’re making it harder for people who want to have families and you’re also threatening medical treatments where IVF has been a a miracle in terms of curing illnesses or managing them, saving lives. And what pro-life movement is that?”
  • “I think this is a very ultra-right political Supreme Court. And the idea that Supreme Courts aren’t political is nonsense; they’ve been political since they were created, you know if Thomas Jefferson were still alive he’d tell you all about how political John Marshall was. And so they don’t even hide their their politics. And clearly the decision to hear the immunity  case is designed to delay a criminal trial – a criminal trial – because they are trying to help Trump avoid the possibility of Trump being convicted in a criminal trial and being sentenced. So I think it’s a terrible ruling, I think it’s blatantly partisan and political to help Donald Trump, and I think it’s going to set back the cause of justice in holding everybody accountable to the rules of law, including former presidents…It’s unbelievable.”


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