WASHINGTON — As both major political parties hunt for
lessons in Alabama’s special Senate election, Rep. Jackie
Speier, D-Calif., cautioned on Wednesday that Doug Jones’s
shock defeat of Roy Moore is a “unique” result that may not
apply to the 2018 midterm contest in general.
“This was unique. I think that the candidate that the
Republicans ended up nominating was deeply flawed,” Speier said
in an interview for Yahoo News on SiriusXM Channel 124. “The
results were that many people didn’t come out to vote as
Republicans, or voted for someone else by writing in, or voted
for the Democrat.”
Democrats in Congress are “ecstatic about the results,” but “I
don’t think we can take anything to the bank,” she said.
Her comments came as Democrats and Republicans sifted through
the data behind Jones’s upset victory over Moore in a deep-red
state that overwhelmingly voted for President Trump in November
Regarding North Korea, Speier, who sits on the House Armed
Services Committee and House Intelligence Committee, said she
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s new outreach to the regime
in Pyongyang reflected a true shift in strategy.
“I hope it is an overture from the Trump administration to the
North Koreans,” she said. Speier said that past statements from
the president that seemed to contradict Tillerson on the merits
of diplomacy were “very disconcerting” and warned against using
force against the Stalinist state.
“The last thing we want is to engage in military action in
North Korea,” she said. “It would be the beginning of just the
most destructive era in American, or in global history.”
Instead, she said, “we have got to find a way” for diplomacy,
coupled with pressure and help from “frenemies” like China to
address the threat from North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic
Speier, who has taken a leading role in confronting the issue
of sexual harassment in Congress, said a “bad culture” on
Capitol Hill has too often led to abuses.
“When I hear stories of members screaming, and throwing
telephones, and throwing things off their desk, I think you
know this is unacceptable,” she said. “Sometimes what happens
is they come here, and they get kind of puffed up: All of a
sudden they’ve got a staff that basically is there to, you
know, respond to all of their requests, and laugh at their bad
“And, you know, before long, they think that they can do things
that are just unacceptable in general society,” Speier said.
Still, she said, most members are “very upstanding” and
Congress is not “Animal House.”
Speier said that congressional workplace culture has been
changing, noting that a recent vote requires sexual harassment
prevention training for members and staff.
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