Unless you’re an Eastern Washington politics person, you probably don’t know the name Cathy McMorris Rodgers. But you’re likely to hear her name a lot more going forward, since she just cemented herself as one of Washington’s greatest embarrassments, using her position to align Washington state with Donald Trump and his violent supporters trying to overthrow the U.S. government. Her Washington GOP colleagues, Reps. Newhouse and Herrera Beutler, announced before today's vote that they would grow a spine and vote to impeach Trump.
"I do not believe his words constitute an incitement of violence," Rodgers wrote, adding:
...people on the right have excused and defended President Trump, including me, because he stood for free markets and economic growth, led the most pro-life administration in history, defended religious freedom, stood for Israel, and supported the rule of law. For Trump supporters like me, it meant turning a blind eye to arrogant, prideful, and bullying behavior.
"We all need to take some responsibility," she concludes, just apparently not the kind of responsibility that involves facing consequences for one's actions.
So who on Earth is this Cathy person, does Washington really have to claim her, and does she have any resemblance to Cathy, the comic strip character who ran from 1976 to 2010? (The answer to the last question is no, except that events of the last few days have probably caused her to say “ack.”)
Though many people in Seattle might not recognize the name, Cathy is one of the state’s U.S. Representatives, serving District Five—the vertical Eastern slice of the state that contains Spokane, Walla Walla, and Garfield. (The town, not the cat.) She is … how to put this politely … bad.
She opposed Obamacare; she opposed equal rights for queer people (at one point co-sponsoring a Constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality!), she opposed immigration access for Muslim people, she opposed the Violence Against Women Act, she’s an evolution-denier. She wanted to hamstring the Office of Congressional Ethics, hmm I wonder why. She voted to remove Internet privacy protections. She opposes reproductive freedom and protecting the environment. She was supported by Mike Shea, you know, the state Representative who put out a manifesto calling for the violent overthrow of the government.
She dodged voter questions during her campaign; her messaging about sex offenders was so misleading experts begged her to stop; she took steps that would have stripped away health care for people with pre-existing conditions. Here she is getting drowned out by boos by a crowd that was pissed about her attempts to gut health care.
Rodgers’ campaign was supported, incidentally, by Microsoft. Good job!
Most egregiously, she’s inexorably tied to Donald Trump. Rodgers was vice chair of his transition team back in 2016 (and voted in favor of keeping his tax returns secret), and she joined the brief attempting to throw out votes in the 2020 election. She also joined in a lie that the election was somehow stolen, and said that she would object to the Electoral College vote count because of what she called “razor-thin margins.” In reality, Biden's margins of victories are large — even the closest state victory was by over ten thousand votes, and by 7 million nationwide.
Rodgers said she wants to examine “allegations of potential fraud,” despite there being no evidence of fraud; and ensure “people’s voices are heard,” just not the millions who voted for Biden. Before Trump’s supporters invaded, she said that her goal was to “shed light on the questions that millions of Americans have that have not yet been answered.” But of course those questions Rodgers refers to have been answered, over and over and over, as each desperate attempt to overturn the election failed. She just doesn’t like the answer.
Anyway, after the first attempted insurrection on January 6, Rodgers decided those questions didn’t need to be answered anymore. “I have decided I will vote to uphold the Electoral College results and I encourage Donald Trump to condemn and put an end to this madness,” she flip-flopped in a statement.
Of course, that doesn’t un-tarnish her role in supporting the lie about the election being stolen. Backing away from that lie, at this point, doesn’t wash the hands of anyone whose rhetoric contributed to the killing of five people last week. And it won’t stop the fanatics who’ve been convinced that the election was stolen from trying to overthrow the government again.
Aside from that statement, Rodgers has been pretty quiet lately. Since last week, one of her only statements on Twitter has been to complain about Trump getting kicked off of social media — arguing that Trump, who incited rioters to overthrow the government, should be allowed to continue doing so.