Rep. Ted Lieu is trolling Donald Trump, and he hopes you're watching
Rep. Ted Lieu is now placing an asterisk next to President Trump's name in news releases.
It’s the Torrance Democrat's way of drawing attention to his concerns about the new administration, he said.
“Sometimes the best way to respond to crazy is with satire,” Lieu said. “Never before have I had this feeling where our leader is potentially unhinged and has a problem with the truth, and that is highly disturbing for the leader of the free world. So I’ve decided I’m just going to point that out as much as I can.”
The asterisk leads readers to the bottom of the email, where a postscript says:
“ ***In addition to losing the popular vote, Trump — as of January 20, 2017 — is in violation of the Emoluments Clause set forth in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution due to massive conflicts of interests and his refusal to put his global business holdings in blind trusts. Trump also benefitted from Vladimir Putin ordering a multifaceted and brazen Russian influence and cyber hacking campaign with the goals of undermining faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrating Secretary Clinton’s electability, and helping Trump’s election chances. Trump and his press secretary also routinely make stuff up.”
The sophomore congressman said he initially planned to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, hoping his rhetoric was a campaign tactic and that he would pivot to uniting the country following the election. Then Lieu listened to the president's inaugural speech.
“I was hoping he would govern different than how he campaigned,” he said. “I came to the conclusion that it would be worse for America to normalize him.”
Lieu followed the addition to his news releases with a “ Cloud of Illegitimacy Clock ” that counts the time since Trump's swearing-in, which is how long Lieu says Trump has been in violation of the Constitution by not divesting from his businesses or putting them in a blind trust. The Constitution bans government officials from receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments.
Next he posted a series of tweets mocking White House spokesman Sean Spicer for giving incorrect figures on how many people attended the inauguration, and top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway for using the term “alternative facts.”
“I’ve decided that the administration using ‘alternative facts’ is more profane than anything that I could say,” he said. “When the administration lies, they just need to be called out on that. If they are going to lie about stupid little things, like crowd size, imagine what they’re going to say when they roll out their healthcare plan, whenever that might be.”
Lieu has needled Trump in responses to several executive orders this week, including by saying he would bet a “nice bottle of California wine that the Administration will be unable to find a credible witness to testify under oath to the allegation that 3-5 million people illegally cast votes in 2016,” and by mentioning the inauguration crowd while talking about Trump's proposed border wall.
Lieu said he's “absolutely” hoping Trump will respond.
“I think satire is an effective way to highlight issues, and I want the American people to see who this president really is, because in 22 months they get to vote again on every member of Congress, and that will be a referendum on Donald Trump,” Lieu said.