- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Rep. Maxine Waters climbed atop the high horse alongside her chairwoman’s seat in the House Financial Services Committee hearing room to thunder at Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and tell him, basically anyway, to sit down, you’re not dismissed.

I am zee law!

Waters is a perfect example of congressional members behaving badly — of congressional members who don’t know their proper place. And that proper place is humble servitude to the people who pay congressional member salaries.

The backstory is this: Mnuchin interrupted his 3½-hour testimony to the Democratic-led members of the House Appropriations Committee and of the Financial Services Committee by reminding them, hey guys, I’ve got to go. He had an important meeting with a senior-level official from Bahrain and apparently, according to Fox News, he had given the committee members a prior heads-up of that meeting. In other words: Everybody in the room knew Mnuchin had to leave.

Mnuchin also told the members he’d be willing to come back and speak with them later on down the road, even on the topic of President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

“It will be embarrassing if I keep this person waiting for a long period of time,” Mnuchin said.

By all standards, the closing of the hearing to allow for Mnuchin’s departure should’ve been easy-peasy. Mnuchin’s staff said he wasn’t obligated to stay. Waters, in the role of civil servant, should’ve recognized that reality and behaved accordingly. But Waters mounted her high horse.

“Unfortunately,” she said, “we are all pressed for time.”

She requested Mnuchin stay another 10 minutes, refused to strike her gavel to signify the closing of the hearing — then said this: “This is a new way and it’s a new day. And it’s a new chair. And I have the gavel.”

I am zee the law.

The problem is Waters, who then went on to ask more questions and continue the hearing, has no cause for the arrogance. She’s supposed to serve the people, not her own ego. And deviating from the dignity of a congressional hearing to make a scene as if a petulant toddler hardly serves the people.

It hardly serves the congressional process.

It hardly puts Congress in a good light, and rather showcases certain of its members as behaving very, very badly.

It does, however, make headlines. Just maybe not in the way Waters would like.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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