Not only is North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr — in a tough re-election fight with challenger Deborah Ross — backing his Republican Party’s polarizing presidential nominee, Donald Trump, he’s now borrowing the Trump campaign playbook. Perhaps that’s not surprising. Even after a horrid tape emerged showing Trump’s despicable attitude toward women, Burr offered a brief criticism but doubled down on his support.
And speaking of tapes ...
A recording of a private GOP gathering in Mooresville made its way to CNN and robbed the senator of any opportunity to deny he said what he said at that meeting. Referring to a stop at a gun shop in Oxford, Burr referred to a copy of the NRA magazine with a picture of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on the front. Said Burr in this Mooresville meeting: “I was a little bit shocked that it didn’t have a bullseye on it.” This would have been bad enough coming from a right-wing gun owner at some rally, but this was a sitting United States senator speaking of a former Secretary of State running against a candidate who has done his best to stir hate, personal hate, against Hillary Clinton every day.
Burr apologized. But he had no excuse. What he said was an embarrassment to the state of North Carolina, and it was a potentially dangerous comment. Burr should be more than sorry. He should be ashamed.
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Alas, this is not all when it comes to outrageous behavior on Burr’s part. In the latter days of this campaign, he’s taken credit for joining in a letter to intelligence officials that Burr has said “kicked this all off,” meaning the email probe of Clinton. The investigation has amounted to very little, of course, even with the FBI director’s outrageous breach of protocol in announcing a further probe.
And, Burr is standing by his promise to block any court nominees from the White House should Clinton be elected president. (He’s done it before, blocking an Obama nominee for North Carolina’s Eastern District.) It’s bad enough that Republicans have stymied the U.S. Supreme Court by blocking the nomination of an esteemed federal judge, Merrick Garland, but now he and other Republicans are saying they’ll stop Clinton court nominees, period. No matter the fact that the president has the right to such appointments under the Constitution. That represents an abdication of their duty — their constitutional duty. And it forecasts more years of inaction on Capitol Hill.
Burr’s been a low-profile senator of little accomplishment in his 12 years in office, but he’s raising his profile now in a way that does not speak well of him. In politics, Donald Trump is not a role model for an incumbent senator — or anyone else.