Today, Chuck Schumer tweeted this about his comrade-in-arms, Dick Durbin:
To impugn @SenatorDurbin’s integrity is disgraceful. Whether you agree with him on the issues or not, he is one of the most honorable members of the Senate.
Actually, Durbin is one of the slimiest members of the Senate. And that covers lots of territory.
In light of the current controversy over what President Trump may or may not have said in Durbin’s presence, it’s worth recalling the time Durbin’s version of what occurred during a meeting between congressional leaders and President Obama failed to withstand scrutiny. Durbin alleged that a Republican leader told President Obama to his face in a meeting during the shutdown: “I cannot even stand to look at you.”
Even Durbin’s White House friends contradicted this story. White House press secretary Jay Carney said: “I looked into this, and spoke to somebody who was in that meeting, and it did not happen.” Following Carney’s comments, John Boehner released a statement calling for a retraction and apology from Durbin.
In addition to making stuff up, Durbin is willing, if not eager, to impugn the integrity of those who deserve better. During the Bush administration, he compared American soldiers to Nazis, Soviets, and Pol Pot.
He also slandered Diane Sykes, President Bush’s nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Arguing against Judge Sykes’ confirmation, Durbin contended that (1) Sykes didn’t believe in “innocent until proven guilty”; (2) Sykes improperly evaded questioning by hiding behind the Wisconsin code of judicial ethics; and (3) Sykes misled the Committee on an abortion protester case.
The first contention was baseless, and Durbin knew it. He predicated his claim on the fact that Sykes was a tough sentencer. Tough sentences for those found guilty are in no way inconsistent with the presumption of innocence.
The second contention was baseless, too. Senators Kohl and Feingold, both Wisconsin Democrats, rejected it. Kohl said:
[Sykes] would not have received the support of our bipartisan nominating commission without answering their questions. Further, she would not have received my endorsement had she not answered the questions we asked of her during our interview with Justice Sykes in a forthright and direct manner.
The third contention was rebutted by Sen. Hatch during the floor debate.
Recently, Durbin questioned another Seventh Circuit nominee, Amy Barrett, about her religion, implying that because she is “an orthodox Catholic,” she cannot judge certain cases fairly. The indecency of this line of inquiry and the constitutional concerns it raised were noted across the political spectrum.