Rep. Jamie Raskin on Protecting Democracy

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joins the show to discuss MAGA extremism, legal accountability for former President Donald Trump, and the need to protect American democracy.

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U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joins the show to discuss MAGA extremism, legal accountability for former President Donald Trump, and the need to protect American democracy. Daniella and Colin also talk about immigration negotiations and the good news about the U.S. economy.


Daniella Gibbs Léger: Hey, everyone! Welcome back to “The Tent,” your place for politics, policy, and progress. I’m Daniella Gibbs Léger.

Colin Seeberger: And I’m Colin Seeberger. Daniella, I can’t believe it, but it’s already February.

Gibbs Léger: Where is this year going? Why is it in such a rush? I feel like it was just New Year’s Eve, and now my son’s birthday is coming up and he’s been pestering me for weeks. He’s like, “Can you tell me what you’re getting me for my birthday?” I’m like, “That’s not how it works. On your birthday, you get your presents. Stop asking me!”

Seeberger: Exactly. Well, it’s also actually my birthday on Monday. February is a big, big month in my house. We’ve got Super Bowl, we’ve got Valentine’s Day, my birthday, anniversary is this month—

Gibbs Léger: Oh wow!

Seeberger: Yeah, so we we’ve always got a full February.

Gibbs Léger: All right. Well, that is a lot.

Seeberger: Yes.

Gibbs Léger: Well, February is going to continue to this interesting start that we’ve had for this year. And speaking of interesting, I heard you had an exciting interview this week.

Seeberger: I did, I did. I talked to the Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) this week about MAGA Republican extremism in the House, holding Donald Trump accountable for all of his alleged wrongdoing, and our historic economic recovery.

Gibbs Léger: I love Jamie Raskin, so I cannot wait to hear it. But first, we’ve got to get to some news.

Seeberger: That’s right. And I want to talk about MAGA extremist hypocrisy for a second, because it really got just cuckoo bananas, totally out of hand this week. For months, Congress has been in a tug of war over supplemental national security funding that would provide much-needed aid to Ukraine, Israel, and other allies, as well as increased security at our southern border. And Senate negotiators are reportedly pretty close to achieving a bipartisan deal—one that includes a lot of proposals that Republicans themselves have been clamoring for, for months.

But it all got derailed by Donald Trump. On his Truth Social account, he urged congressional Republicans to reject any deal that isn’t, in his words, “perfect.” Translation: He wants them to sabotage anything that could possibly help the other team out this year. And it’s clear why: Just a few weeks ago, he publicly expressed how much he wishes the economy would tank so he can blame it on President Biden and improve his own chances of getting reelected.

Similarly, he wants this security package to fail because he cares more about his own political ambitions than advancing American security interests here at home and across the globe. And in recent days, MAGA [Rep.] Mike Johnson (R-LA) and members of his caucus have made it clear they’re ready to fall in line with the demands of their dear leader. They can go on and on about making the border more secure, but it’s clear they’d rather exploit the issue as a political weapon than actually fix the problem.

Listen, do I love every single provision that’s been discussed in this border package? Absolutely not. But this is what happens when you reach compromise in Washington. And the fact that Republicans can’t even fake an interest in finding common ground here—despite how loudly they like to shout about the border—just goes to show how profoundly unserious they are about actually taking action.

And their dereliction of duty has real consequences. The United States has not meaningfully modernized its immigration system in more than 30 years; I think “Top Gun” was movie of the year the last time we seriously updated our immigration laws. And the result has been inadequate infrastructure at the border; not enough folks there to help process people [and] ensure there’s judges that can actually adjudicate people’s asylum claims, et cetera; and a broken asylum system—among dozens of other challenges. But Republicans in Congress have repeatedly killed bipartisan efforts to fix the immigration system. For political reasons, they’ve made it clear time and time again that they’d rather push the country into a humanitarian crisis than actually solve the problem.

Gibbs Léger: It’s ridiculous, truly. And it comes at the same time as House Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee are fighting to impeach [U.S. Department of Homeland Security] DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border. So, let’s get a few things straight about that.

Seeberger: Please.

Gibbs Léger: This is not what impeachment is designed for. Impeachment is a process the founders created to hold our leaders accountable if they commit, in their words, “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Case in point: The last cabinet member to be impeached was in the year of our Lord 1876—nearly 150 years ago.

There is no evidence to suggest Secretary Mayorkas committed any crime. In fact, there’s no evidence to suggest he’s done anything wrong at all. MAGA Republicans are once again weaponizing government duties and processes to try and enact political revenge. They’re trying to hit back at Democrats for impeaching Donald Trump twice. That’s why even some conservative pundits are pushing back on this effort. Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, who is often cited by House Republicans, recently wrote that Secretary Mayorkas is not impeachable. And Republican and former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week titled “Don’t impeach Alejandro Mayorkas.”

Yet again, we’re seeing the House Republican Conference cater to the whims of MAGA radicals. And Colin, it shouldn’t be lost on us that this impeachment attempt comes right in the middle of the border policy negotiations you just mentioned. These extremists are creating obstacles for Mayorkas to actually do his job and work with lawmakers to find solutions to our broken immigration system. If MAGA Republicans really care about immigration and securing the border as much as they claim to, it’s time for them to end this sham impeachment process, come together with Democrats, and actually talk about solutions.

Seeberger: Hear, hear, Daniella. To move on to something, though, a little more uplifting, I’m actually hearing some really good news about the economy and seeing more reporting on this recently.

Gibbs Léger: Yes, I’m seeing it too, Colin.

Seeberger: So let’s talk about some of the most encouraging highlights from the last few weeks. One, the American economy grew 3.3 percent, according to initial estimates, in the fourth quarter of 2023. That really confirms that the U.S. had stronger growth than every other G7 country in defying the naysayers who long predicted a recession. Two, on average, core inflation has actually fallen to 2 percent—the Fed’s target—over the last six months. Three, the U.S. economy is on average adding more than 50,000 more jobs a month than it was in 2019 before the pandemic. And finally, as our CAP Action colleague Brendon Duke confirmed in a recent report, our recovery from COVID-19 has seen the strongest labor market and real wage gains of any recovery in the last half century.

Even Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal cheered last year’s unprecedented growth and asked readers, “What recession?” You know, this isn’t happening by accident. It’s the direct result of President Biden and Democrats passing policies to grow the middle class—like cutting taxes for working families, slashing the cost of health care and utilities, and shoring up states and localities to meet the needs of their communities. And while we know the cost of living has—and continues—to squeeze many American families, there’s strong evidence that Americans are increasingly optimistic about the economy. Recent surveys show an improvement in overall consumer sentiment. And we need to remember that these kinds of improvements, they take time to fully realize, especially after periods of high inflation. So, I’d be willing to bet this is the beginning of a trend where more and more people are going to start feeling better about the strength of the economy.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah, The New York Times coined the term “vibecession,” where the economy saw a strong recovery, but Americans just weren’t feeling it. Vibecession is just the perfect term for the period that we are in. And look, I don’t blame them. Since the Reagan era, middle-class Americans have felt increasingly squeezed by an economy that favors greedy corporations and the uber-wealthy over them. Over decades, middle-class Americans have watched drug prices skyrocket and the cost of a college education soar. And this is only compounded by the inflation that virtually every country in the world faced coming out of the COVID-19 crisis. But last week, the Times declared the vibecession is over.

Seeberger: Sayonara!

Gibbs Léger: Yes, the vibes are becoming more immaculate, if you will. I couldn’t agree more. And I’m thrilled to see that the media is finally starting to tell the real story based on clear data we’ve been seeing for months. I mean, unemployment has been under 4 percent for the longest duration in more than half a century.

Seeberger: That’s a long time.

Gibbs Léger: That’s a pretty long time. The stock market—Republicans’ favorite measure of how the economy’s doing—is setting record high after record high. Not only that, but President Biden has strengthened Medicare to lower seniors’ out-of-pocket prescription costs, he’s taken on Big Pharma to lower drug prices, and he’s finally making millionaires and billionaires pay closer to their fair share in taxes. These are the kinds of changes that people want to see. And they stand in stark contrast to dysfunctional MAGA members of Congress, whose proposals would give tax giveaways to big corporations, make it easier for drug companies to raise prices, and even make it more expensive for you to repay your student loans or buy a home.

Seeberger: When you look at it that way, it seems pretty obvious to me who’s really fighting for the American people, and who’s just fighting for special interests and themselves.

Gibbs Léger: Sure is, Colin.

Seeberger: Well, that’s all the time we have for today. If there’s anything else you’d like us to cover on the pod, hit us up on Twitter @TheTentPod. That’s @TheTentPod. And stick around for my interview with Congressman Jamie Raskin in just a beat.

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Seeberger: Jamie Raskin represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017, he served three terms in the Maryland State Senate and served as Senate majority whip. He was a professor of constitutional law at American University for more than 25 years and has authored several books, including Unthinkable, a memoir about losing his son and holding Donald Trump accountable for his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

Congressman Jamie Raskin, thanks so much for joining us on “The Tent.” I just want to hop right in—I am a local news consumer. I actually am thinking about trying to move up to your district in the near future. But I was really struck by a powerful piece that you wrote in The Washington Post this week breaking down how MAGA Republicans respond to mass shootings, which is usually to deflect from the criticisms of their dangerous pro-gun policies. What prompted you to write this piece now? And can you explain why the Republican strategy you described is so dangerous?

Rep. Jamie Raskin: Well, I listen carefully to my colleagues across the aisle. I think some of the Democrats have just started to tune them out, but I listen very carefully to the different forms of rhetoric. And I began to notice that when there were school shootings, my colleagues on the GOP side would get up and talk about how the problem was no more prayer in public schools. But then, there was a massacre at a private religious school in Tennessee where the kids had just prayed. And then they said it was just a general problem of evil. And then I started noticing some of them were blaming gun violence on abortion. And it’s extremely convoluted and attenuated, as you can imagine.

And so I just began to diagram their variety of rhetorical responses given particular factual conditions giving rise to a massacre. And of course, we have more than one mass shooting—defined as four people being hit—every day. Some days we have two or three. And so you can chart what they’re going to say, and some of the reactions are predictable enough. The t and p, as we say—thoughts and prayers—that’ll come first, and they hope that’s enough. But if not, then they say, “It’s too early. Feelings are too raw to actually have a conversation about change.” Of course, if you have a gun massacre every day, that means you can never talk about policy solutions because it’s always impolitic or impolite to do so.

So anyway, that Post piece was an attempt to just provide people with a taxonomy of the arguments that they use in different kinds of massacre situations. None of them lead up to saying, “We’ve got the highest rate of gun violence and gun deaths in the whole Western world—26 times higher than the EU countries have; and gun violence is now the leading cause of death for young people 17 and under in the country, and we have to act. We need a universal violent criminal background check. We need a ban on military style assault weapons.” They’ll never say any of that stuff. There is never a solution.

And that relates to something else I’d been writing about, which is: Their real position is that the Second Amendment gives the people the right to overthrow the government, so the people have to have an arsenal that matches the arsenal of the government. And therefore assault weapons and theoretically tanks—nuclear weapons, for that matter—should all be protected by the Second Amendment if it really gives the people the right to overthrow the government, which is what [Rep.] Chip Roy (R-TX) says and [Rep.] Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and [Rep.] Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who literally said, “The Second Amendment’s got nothing to do with hunting unless you’re talking about hunting tyrants.”

Seeberger: It’s so dangerous. But guns are far from the only issue where we’re seeing extreme ideology, this MAGA extremism, run amok. You’re the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, which we’ve seen weaponized by the MAGA Republican majority in the House this Congress. How has the tone and the purpose of this committee’s work changed under Republican leadership? And can you describe the dangers of Republicans’ baseless quest to impeach President Biden and members of his cabinet? And how their efforts differ from, say, Trump’s second impeachment in the wake of January 6, which, of course, you were an impeachment manager for?

Rep. Raskin: Well, the quality of our discourse is appalling and abominable, but it’s all very coherent—it comes right out of whatever Donald Trump wants. The Republican party today doesn’t really resemble a modern political party that has a public policy agenda and different groups that are contending and different locuses of power. No, it resembles an authoritarian cult of personality. It’s much more like a religious cult.

You know, when reporters were saying to me months ago, “Can any of these people in the Republican primaries beat Donald Trump?”, I said, “You may as well be asking whether anybody can beat David Miscavige as the head of the Church of Scientology.” You’re talking about a cult, and he dictates everything. They’ve already driven out [Former Rep.] Liz Cheney (R-WY) and [Former Rep.] Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and people like [Sen.] Mitt Romney (R-UT) are fleeing.

I mean, it’s a very well-organized, defined, and narrow base, and it is all based on obedience to Donald Trump. So, if you don’t accept it, you’re going to be out like Liz and Adam. And if you do accept it, you have to surrender whatever intellectual moral principles you had. So take somebody like [Rep.] Elise Stefanik (R-NY)—she’s giving opportunism and sycophancy a bad name. I mean, she jumps at Donald Trump’s beck and call. She’s a fairly standard example of what’s happened in the party.

Seeberger: It’s deeply alarming. It’s pathetic. I am really curious to get your thoughts on—because I know Republicans are just outraged about this—in light of their baseless accusations against the Biden administration with regard to allegations of criminal wrongdoing, other things like that, your work on the Oversight Committee actually recently helped reveal that former President Trump’s businesses received nearly $8 million from foreign governments, including from countries like China, while he was in office. Can you explain to our listeners, how bad is this? Is this something that they should be concerned about? And what can be done about it? I’m sure Republicans are working very hard on this issue, given that they’re in the majority, right?

Rep. Raskin: The collection of foreign government payoffs from kings and princes and corrupt autocratic states like Saudi Arabia and the communist bureaucrats of China is the original sin of the Trump administration. The nearly $8 million we documented in receipts—it’s incontrovertible, and they’re not even trying to challenge it. It just scratches the surface, because it only represents two years from 20 countries out of all the countries in the world, and not the second two years of the Trump administration. And it only accounts for four of Trump’s businesses: the two big hotels in New York, the hotel in Vegas, and then the International Trump Hotel in Washington, [D.C.], which was at the Federal Post Office building, the old post office building, which I called the Washington Monument, because that was the principal place where all of these payoffs were deposited. But it undoubtedly goes into the tens or hundreds of millions—and that’s without even getting to the money that arrived right after the Trump administration ended, like the $2 billion payoff from the homicidal crown prince himself, Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, to Jared Kushner to create a new business, which was set up the day after the Trump administration ended.

So we’re talking ultimately about billions of dollars, but in absolute disregard of the constitutional emoluments clause, which says that nobody in federal office can receive a present, an emolument—which means a payment in office or a title of any kind, whatever—from a foreign prince, king, or government without getting the approval of Congress. And Trump never once came to Congress for any of this. So even if it were just $8 million, that’s $8 million more than what the Constitution allows.

And the Trump kids immediately came out after our report was released, saying, “He didn’t even take his federal salary. He didn’t even take the presidential salary.” I’m sorry—that’s all he’s allowed to take. You can’t say, “I’m going to give up my salary from the citizens of the United States” in order to take money from communist bureaucrats in China or murderous monarchs in Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates or Qatar or all of the other governments he was on the take from. It’s not a tradeoff like that. It’s not an option that you get to elect.

And so then they say, “Well, we actually voluntarily returned the profits from these foreign government payments that went to the hotels.” Well, number one, he was collecting lots of money that didn’t even go to the hotels. Number two, the Constitution doesn’t say anything about how you’re only allowed to keep your base payments, and you have to return profits. It doesn’t say that. It says you can’t take any money at all from a foreign government. So they made up their own rule, they provided their own dubious Trump-style accounting for it, and they made these voluntary payments of a half million dollars. Give me a break.

So we need to make clear that there are two public philosophies in America, and one says that the government’s got to be an instrument for the common good to serve all of the people, and the other says that the government is an instrument of private self-enrichment and moneymaking for the guy who gets in and his family and his corporations. And that takes us down the road to being like Putin’s Russia or Orbán’s Hungary or Marcos’ Philippines or Erdogan’s Turkey or you name it. I mean, are we going to be reduced to the level of the worst autocracies and dictatorships on earth?

Seeberger: That puts it really well. I’m curious, this obviously is not the only example of corruption by the former president or legal trouble. He’s been indicted 91 times. You participated in the House committee’s January 6 investigation of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. He’s, like I said, facing a number of different legal cases at both the state and federal level. What are you hoping to see come out of these cases?

Rep. Raskin: Well, as you say, I think there are four federal and state indictments with 91 criminal charges—felony charges—all over the country. We know how much that drives him crazy when he’s actually held to account. He’s someone who’s used to absolute immunity and impunity in terms of his criminality, and he is a one-man crime wave.

But there’s a broader question now. Because as satisfying as it is to people in individual cases when justice is done and he’s got to pay $83 million to a woman who he has been determined to have sexually assaulted and then defamed and lying about her, or as satisfying as it will be to the people of New York when he’s going to have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars back after inflating the value of his properties or deflating them according to what his own financial motives require, all of that is well and good, and that’s how justice operates at the micro level.

But there’s a constitutional principle at stake here in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which says that nobody who has sworn an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution but then violates that oath by engaging in insurrection or rebellion against the United States can ever hold federal or state office again. It’s a very precise, limited, narrow principle. There were much stronger plans that were put into circulation by the radical Republicans.

And of course, it was the Republicans who gave us the 14th Amendment and Section 3. But a lot of them were saying that nobody who participated in the Confederate insurrection or rebellion shall ever be allowed to vote again. And the same for all future insurrections and rebellions. Well, when it got over to the Senate, they narrowed it down. They said, “That goes way too far. We don’t want to hold everybody accountable who participated in the Confederacy and the insurrection and rebellion. Let’s just set up this principle for people most culpable—people who actually swore an oath to the Constitution and served in public office and then sold out the country. Those people, we will actually not even disenfranchise them. Somebody like Jefferson Davis, or Robert E. Lee, or Donald Trump, they can vote for the rest of their lives if they care about the public good and not just their own private interest. They can vote. It’s just, we cannot trust them to hold public office again, because they will do in the future what they’ve already proven they’re willing to do in the past.”

And everybody can see that with Donald Trump right now, with him running around the country calling the convicted January 6 insurrectionists who violently assaulted our police officers and tried to overthrow an election to install Trump, essentially, as a dictator are not prisoners but are hostages or political prisoners. They liken them to Nelson Mandela or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Elise Stefanik calls them hostages. My god, a hostage is somebody who has been physically abducted by criminals and held for a financial or political ransom. These are people who pled guilty to violently assaulting our police officers and, in many cases, trying to overthrow or put down the government of the United States—that’s what seditious conspiracy is. So Trump has proven himself willing to do it again, and that’s very much on the agenda. And now it’s spread, so even somebody like Stefanik says she doesn’t know whether she would accept the final outcome of the election. She wants to see where it goes. And that’s just authoritarian language.

Seeberger: It certainly is. And of course, next week, the U.S. Supreme Court is actually going to take up a challenge to Colorado’s recent action by the secretary of state to remove President Trump from the ballot this year, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, as you mentioned. What do you anticipate happening at the court next week?

Rep. Raskin: Well, originally I didn’t have a lot of hope, because I thought, okay, you’ve got Trump’s three justices and the conservatives, and they’ll just kick it out, and they will fall for all of this absurd right-wing rhetoric about how it’s unfair or it’s undemocratic. They say, “Why should only Donald Trump be disqualified from president?” Well actually there’s more than 100 million people disqualified for running for president right now, including my colleagues, [Rep.] Maxwell Frost (D-FL) from Florida, [Rep.] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). They’re too young; they’re not 35.

So you might think that’s unfair or undemocratic. It’s certainly not unconstitutional—it’s what the Constitution requires. Those are the rules of the game. Jennifer Granholm can’t run for president; she was born in Canada. Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t run for president, he was born in Austria. So we have 30 to 35 million people who can’t run because of where they were born. There are maybe a dozen people who are disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment—maybe. It’s a tiny, tiny, minuscule little group of people who have voluntarily put themselves into that category.

In other words, of all of the classifications we have excluding people from running for president, this is the most rational and defensible. You could be under 35 but potentially a great president. You could have been born abroad like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jennifer Granholm and be a great president. You could have served two terms like Barack Obama, and we know you’d be a great president, but you can’t run again because those are the rules of the constitutional game as we’ve set them up. If you don’t like it, take a constitutional amendment to Congress and out to the people and say you want to amend the Constitution to allow people who have participated in insurrection or rebellion as federal office holders to run again, and see how well you do with that.

So, if you are a strict textualist, if you’re a strict originalist, if you’re interested at all in a nonpartisan interpretation of the Constitution, you must find [that] Donald Trump is disqualified. There’s just no other reasonable way of looking at it. Everybody should go and read the Constitution. And if you don’t like it, go and try to amend the Constitution. But don’t try to set it aside the way that Donald Trump keeps calling for. He keeps saying, “Well, you know, the rule of law and the Constitution—forget that, we can deal with that later. It’s the rule of one man that counts.” Well, that is authoritarianism. That is dictatorship.

Seeberger: You know, it really is going to be a tell for just how politicized this far-right majority on the court is.

Rep. Raskin: How far they’ve sunk. And you know what? It’s not even really partisan allegiance. I keep bugging them about this. Donald Trump was a Democrat for longer than he was a Republican. He said he wanted to run for president on the Reform Party ticket. He settled on the GOP label, but it’s got nothing to do with party principle. He’s destroyed the Republican Party. They’ve turned it into a cult of authoritarian personality that is wedded to racism, xenophobia, immigrant bashing, irrationalism, and conspiracy theory.

Seeberger: On that note, we obviously have talked about a lot of heavy subjects today, but we like to end on a positive note when we can. And to that end, in the last Congress, you helped pass landmark economic bills to help the country bounce back from the COVID recession, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, and boost the production of American-made clean energy technologies and microchips. And we’re seeing some of the impacts of these bills, and I’m curious to get your sense on—how are these things playing out for your constituents? How should progressives be talking about the economy? How do we make sure that that message is actually resonating with the public writ large?

Rep. Raskin: Well to me, this is the same issue as defending strong democracy in America. Strong democracy is a political and constitutional system that delivers for the people. I mean, I sat there for four years under Donald Trump. We had infrastructure week, we had infrastructure month, we had infrastructure propaganda—we just never had an infrastructure bill. And Joe Biden got in, and when he arrived in the first week, and we got it done in the first year. And that’s a $1.5 trillion investment in the roads and the highways and the ports and the airports and cybersecurity and rural broadband. The Democrats did that.

We now have, I think, the best economy in the Western world. We’ve had 20 straight months of lower than 4 percent unemployment, millions and millions of jobs created. Fifty million jobs have been created since 1990, and the vast majority of them were under Democratic presidents because the Democrats have a public philosophy of investing in the people. And the GOP still is run by the plutocrats and the kleptocrats who say, “Oh, you invest in the wealthiest corporations and people, and some of the wealth will dribble down on everybody else.” And the Democrats say, “Invest in the great American working middle class and we can all rise and prosper together.” That is the Democratic public philosophy that we stand by, and it’s been working.

I mean, we’ve brought down prescription drug prices in the Medicare program in ways that the Republicans tried to block us from doing for decades. But the positive benefits are just remarkable. Constituents were spending more than $1,000 a month on their insulin shots, as diabetics, and now you’re capped at $35 a month. I mean, think of how much money we’re saving—billions of dollars. And we saved money for the system at the same time, for taxpayers. How do we do that? Because we did what the Republicans refused to do and tried to stop us from doing. We said that the government could negotiate with Big Pharma for lower prescription drug prices, instead of allowing Big Pharma—the big pharmaceutical companies—just to dictate to us what the prices would be.

Seeberger: We’re going to do what every other country all over the world already does. Sounds pretty novel to me. Well, congressman, thank you so much for your time. I know you’re a busy, much-in-demand member of Congress these days, so I don’t want to steal too much of it. Thanks again.

Rep. Raskin: Thank you so much for having me.

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Gibbs Léger: As always, thanks for listening. Be sure to go back and check out our previous episodes. Before we go, Colin—got to talk about “The Bachelor” real quick.

Seeberger: We’re two weeks in. I’ve got to say, I’m already starting to have some faves.

Gibbs Léger: I am too. His one-on-one date this week got me all in my feels.

Seeberger: It was amazing.

Gibbs Léger: It was.

Seeberger: They had good energy together.

Gibbs Léger: Great energy.

Seeberger: She was very brutally honest, laying it out very early.

Gibbs Léger: Yes. And the way he not just listened but, like, actively listened.

Seeberger: Yeah.

Gibbs Léger: Right? I’m like, finally, “Bachelor” producers, you picked the bachelor who’s great!

Seeberger: Yes, it’s about time. My only question with them is whether they’re going to be able to break out of the friend zone. They clearly have a strong connection, so I’m very interested to watch it evolve over the course of the next few weeks.

Gibbs Léger: Yes.

Seeberger: But they definitely seem, at minimum, really, really good friends. So, we’ll have to stay tuned.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah.

Seeberger: That’s not the only thing making headlines this week, though. The week, of course, also started with the AFC [American Football Conference] and NFC [National Football Conference] championships, securing the San Francisco 49ers’ and Kansas City Chiefs’ place in this year’s Super Bowl.

Gibbs Léger: Yay!

Seeberger: Yay! It was a big game by a certain number 87, Mr. Travis Kelce.

Gibbs Léger: It sure was. Gee, I thought all the people said that Taylor would be a distraction for him and that they wouldn’t make the Super Bowl because he’d be so distracted by Taylor.

Seeberger: Well, Daniella, I don’t know if you know this, but this actually is a Democratic plot with the National Football League, the Pentagon, and many others to well position President Biden to win reelection and defeat the MAGA movement once again.

Gibbs Léger: Yeah?

Seeberger: I’m not sure whether you caught on, but I’m certainly being facetious here, listeners. But MAGA world has just completely lost its mind over Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. It’s wild.

Gibbs Léger: It is incredibly wild. Why do these people hate love so much? Why are they so suspicious of two people who care about each other and support each other in their careers? It’s bonkers to me. And to think that this is—I love Joe Biden, but to think that this is all a plot that the Biden administration and the campaign thought up? Y’all give the man and his people too much credit. Please, as folks would say, go touch grass. Just go outside, take a deep breath, I don’t know. Like, get a hobby—but like, what y’all are doing online, attacking the most popular pop star in the world? Actually, keep doing that. Go ahead.

Seeberger: There is a strategy to win the hearts and minds of America’s youth.

Gibbs Léger: Yes. That is definitely not the thing that I would do.

Seeberger: Indeed.

Gibbs Léger: Do we think she’s going to make it to the Super Bowl? I think she will.

Seeberger: She absolutely will make it back. She, if you’re not aware already, is going to be performing in Japan the day before the Super Bowl. So yeah, she’ll be able to make it all the way to Las Vegas. It’s I think about a 12-hour flight.

Gibbs Léger: Yep.

Seeberger: Yep.

Gibbs Léger: The internet sleuths have figured it out. She can make it happen. And yes, she will be flying her private jet. Ooh, an almost-billionaire has a private jet—another thing that all of a sudden Republicans seem to care about. They can just miss me with all of this. But anyway, I am looking forward to the Super Bowl. I think I have said here before, I’m not a fan of the 49ers, so I hope the Chiefs win—and also because that will make more Brads and Chads cry.

Seeberger: I love it. I’m on the bandwagon as well, and look at us finding synergy with our football opinions.

Gibbs Léger: Look at that. See, it’s possible. Anything is possible.

Seeberger: Anything can happen in 2024.

Gibbs Léger: Exactly. All right. On that note, we’re done here. Thanks for listening. Take care of yourselves, and we will talk to you next week.

[Musical transition]

“The Tent” is a podcast from the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It’s hosted by me, Daniella Gibbs Léger, and co-hosted by Colin Seeberger. Erin Phillips is our lead producer, Kelly McCoy is our supervising producer, and Em Espey is our booking producer. You can find us on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Daniella Gibbs Léger

Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategy


Colin Seeberger

Senior Adviser, Communications

Erin Phillips

Broadcast Media Manager

Kelly McCoy

Senior Director of Broadcast Communications

Mishka Espey

Senior Manager, Media Relations



Explore The Series

Politics. Policy. Progress. All under one big tent. Produced by CAP Action, “The Tent” is a news and politics podcast hosted by Daniella Gibbs Léger and co-hosted by Colin Seeberger. Listen each Thursday for episodes exploring topics that progressives are focused on.


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