WASHINGTON – Dan Pfeiffer, former President Obama’s communications director, said Democrats would likely lose the battle to block President Trump’s choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy but it’s a fight worth waging to motivate Democratic voters ahead of midterm elections.
“This is going to be a hard fight to win. Even if the Democrats get every single Democrat to oppose Brett Kavanaugh – and I certainly hope they do that, and try really hard to do that – and the Republicans do as they do and they support him, he will pass. And that will be through no fault of the Democrats but, I think, even if it is a fight that we are likely to lose it’s a fight we need to have,” Pfeiffer said during a discussion Tuesday evening about his new book, Yes We (Still) Can.
“We have to drag this out for as long as possible because he should be fully vetted. We can’t just rubberstamp him through; that’s the right thing to do. But we also need to, every day, be shouting from the rooftops about what’s at stake here, and maybe we’ll win. All it takes is one Republican, potentially, to do the right thing,” he added.
Pfeiffer said the Supreme Court matters more to Republicans compared to Democratic voters as a campaign issue, which he argued should not be the case.
“Even if we lose the fight but we have the fight aggressively it will set the stage for the fights to come. One advantage the Republicans have is their voters care about the Supreme Court. That is a reason many Republicans bit their tongue and voted for Donald Trump. Democrats do not think about the court in the same way,” he said.
Pfeiffer said the 2016 presidential election results could have been different if every Bernie Sanders supporter had voted for Hillary Clinton based on the fact that she would have nominated a liberal justice who might have voted to overturn Citizens United, for example.
“So we have to talk to our voters about the importance of the Supreme Court. This is it. This is generations before us. These people are all young and they seem healthy,” he said. “This matters and we have to make sure our voters know it matters. And we’ve got to make sure people who are going to turn out in 2018 matter, because if we take the Senate back Donald Trump will not get another Supreme Court nominee through. And, frankly, if I had my way, he would not get another appeals court judge through, so we have to make it be something that motivates people.”
Reflecting on his time at the White House, Pfeiffer revealed that Obama sometimes had short-term memory.
“He is a great boss but he did sometimes have – stipulated he’s a great boss – he just sometimes had short-term memory about the things he agreed to that he didn’t want to do. And so after about a year of being communications director, I decided to put everything in writing so I’d send a memo in and I would carry that memo with me when we went to prep for it,” he said.
During the discussion, Pfeiffer, co-host of “Pod Save America,” noted that special counsel Robert Mueller has been embraced in Democratic circles.
“Before our shows, we have a little video that’s put together and it’s like Barack Obama comes in and people applaud. Joe Biden is on and people applaud and it’s like Doug Jones, people applaud. And then Bob Mueller comes on and people go bananas,” he said.
Moderator Alyssa Mastromonaco, former deputy chief of staff to Obama, responded, “Because Bob Mueller is just, like, so handsome in every way. He just is. No, he is, objectively. It’s like he stops terrorists, he’s for justice and he’s tall. I love him. And I was in a meeting with him once and he was clearly the smartest person in the room and he’s like, ‘actually, Mr. President, I’m going to have Alyssa kick it off’ and I was like, ‘oh, Bob – you are forever my boyfriend, Bob Mueller.’”
In response to Mastromonaco’s comments, Pfeiffer said Mueller is not going to save the Democrats.
“His handsomeness is a real revelation to me, it’s not something that occurred to me until today. I see it, now that you say it – it makes a lot of sense. But for how handsome he is, he is not going to save us. He may put a lot of Trump’s friends and family in jail and – if they committed crimes – I hope that happens. And that will make me feel, personally, better because Jared Kushner is sitting in our former office, which I now refer to as a pre-trial detention center,” Pfeiffer said.
“People are like ‘Teflon Don, he gets away with all this stuff,’ and here’s the thing: There’s only one kind of accountability to give to politicians and that’s at the ballot box. So if the Democrats take the House and hopefully the Senate in 2018, then he did not get away with it. Only we, those of us here and those of us around the country, can hold Donald Trump accountable,” he added.
Pfeiffer continued, “If we’re, like, waiting around for Bob Mueller to frog march him into jail, that is not going to happen – not because he didn’t commit crimes but because Donald Trump is president with a Republican Party that will let him do whatever he wants.”