Axios reporter Jonathan Swan on Tuesday highlighted the hypocrisy of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and other congressional Democrats who are pushing for the elimination of the filibuster, a Senate procedure used to delay or prevent voting on legislation.
Swan spoke about his recent interview with Tlaib, and her claims that the filibuster is a racist tool of oppression, during an appearance on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" with host Joe Scarborough.
In his interview with Tlaib, he pressed the congresswoman on her assertion, pointing out that Democrats used the filibuster on a number of occasions throughout the Trump administration, and questioned her about what Senate Democrats would have done had they not had the filibuster at their disposal during that time.
"It would have been unfortunate, of course," Tlaib responded.
Swan explained to Scarborough Tuesday that Senate Democrats wanting to end the filibuster are particularly hypocritical given the fact that they made efforts to preserve the procedure during the Trump administration.
"In 2017, after Donald Trump took office, more than half of Senate Democrats including now Vice President Kamala Harris signed a letter and sent it to Senate leaders urging them to preserve the filibuster," he said. "The question that I have, some of the same Democrats talk about the racist history of filibuster being used to block civil rights. That, of course, was true, but it was also true in 2017. Is this an argument about political convenience or is it an argument about morality and ethics?"
The reporter also cited Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (D-AZ) argument that Democrats should back the filibuster because they will not always have the majority in Congress.
"I’m not saying it’s one or the other, because I do think there’s principled people in this fight," Swan said. "I remember Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate saying 'guys, we might want to think about this because Republicans could take back power in Washington and then let’s think about all the things we have used to stop during the Trump years.'"
He added that "This could come back to bite Democrats if they do actually go down this path."
Progressive Democrat Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have also expressed their desire to end the filibuster and have criticized Sinema for refusing to eliminate it. But with moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) joining Sinema in her support for retaining the filibuster, it appears unlikely that Democrats will be able to abolish the filibuster any time soon.
Since Democrats took control of Washington in January, Senate Republicans have used the filibuster to block a number of Democrat-backed bills, including the For the People Act, a bill looking to federalize the nation's elections.