Dr. Saule Omarova is President Joe Biden’s nominee for comptroller, and she appeared before the Senate banking committee yesterday. She was born in Kazakhstan, and cornpone cosplayer Sen. John Kennedy took advantage — since Republicans have nothing to offer except grievance and paranoia. Kennedy has perfected the art of simulating stupidity (he went to Oxford), so he went into Joe McCarthy mode.
Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were pretty disgusted.
Omarova has testified numerous times over the years as an expert witness on financial regulation, and was a policy adviser during the Bush administration. But that didn’t stop our ex-Democratic senator, no sir!
KENNEDY: You used to be a member of a group called the Young Communists, didn’t you?
OMAROVA: Senator, are you referring to my membership in the youth communist organization while I was growing up in the Soviet Union?
KENNEDY: I want to ask you that question.
OMAROVA: Senator, I was born and grew up in the Soviet Union.
KENNEDY: Are you with a member of it?
OMAROVA: Everybody in that country is a member of —
KENNEDY: You were a member?
OMAROVA: That was a part of normal progress in school.
KENNEDY: Have you resigned?
OMAROVA: From the youth?
KENNEDY: From the Young Communists.
OMAROVA: You grow out of it with age automatically.
KENNEDY: Did you send them a letter of resigning, though?
OMAROVA: Senator, this was many, many years ago. As far as I remember how the Soviet Union works, at a certain age you automatically stop being (a member).
Then he said this.
“I don’t mean any disrespect.” (Which, of course, is what Republicans say when they’re about to say something disrespectful.) Then he lowered the smear boom.
“I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”
She responded with intelligence and dignity.
“Senator, I am not a communist. I do not subscribe to that ideology. I could not choose where I was born. I do not remember joining any Facebook group that subscribes to that ideology. I would not knowingly join any such group. There is no record of me actually participating in any communist discussions of any kind. My family suffered under the communist regime. I grew up without knowing half of my family. My grandmother herself escaped death twice under the communist regime.
“This is what’s serious in my mind. That’s who I am. I remember that history, I came to this country, I am proud to be an American. This is why I am here today, senator, I am here today because I am ready for public service.”
Yes, Mika and Joe were disgusted. So was every other decent American who saw it.