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Video: Sen. Mark Warner on “the good news, the bad news, the Groundhog Day news”

Sen. Warner also comments on a possible government shutdown, Israel/Gaza, Ukraine, "a good day for Virginia" and the "outrageous" FBI HQ decision.

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See below for video and a few highlights from Sen. Mark Warner’s press availability earlier today.

  • “I’ve got the the good news, the bad news, the Groundhog Day news and then news where our country will either meet the historic challenges of the moment or not.”
  • “First in terms of the good news, I think the fact that Virginians voted to reject extremism, to protect women’s health care choices, to protect your right to vote, to protect the fact that we ought to have sensible gun laws was a great outcome on Tuesday night. The fact that for the first time in some time, actually, that the Democrats will once again control the Senate and the House I think is a real step to make sure that Virginia keeps moving forward…there’s been lots of analysis already on why this happened, but I do think it was…not only about the abortion issue – and I think that issue was overwhelming that people are tired of politicians messing with women’s health care choices – but I think it was more than that. I think it was the fact that…Virginia parents, Virginia voters are saying they want to focus on the teachers having the tools to teach in the classrooms and not to to, you know, bring all of the social culture wars into our classrooms or not to have schools start banning and prohibiting books. I also think that some of the challenges and the craziness of the Republican brand at this point rubbed off…Virginia obviously has a lot of federal employees…a huge number of defense establishments in Hampton Road, so there’s very few states that are as reliant on the federal government as Virginia, and I think the craziness of the House, the extreme positions of the MAGA wing…frighten Virginians. And the truth is that even if you some members of the General Assembly or  even the governor were trying to present you know moderate faces, they’ve seen that this right-wing extreme group which drives the bus now here in Washington…people across Virginia didn’t trust that complete Republican control in Richmond wouldn’t lead to the same kind of extreme positions that you see coming out of the House of Representatives at this point. So I think it was a good day for Virginia…a good day for democracy.”
  • That was the good part of the week. The bad was…the fact that last night, there was an announcement that the administration had chosen…Maryland over Virginia for the FBI selection was outrageous. I mean, Virginia clearly was the better case. Virginia clearly was winning the first set of criteria. The fact that political pressure was put on to try to change the criteria you really stung. But even I was shocked when this morning you see the director of the FBI put forward an unprecedented communication to all FBI employees about how corrupt this process was…This is the kind of behavior I expected from the Trump Administration but I think we all expect better from the current Administration, and we will be calling for an Inspector General review. I would hope the administration would initiate that on their own…You’ll be hearing a united Virginia voice from the governor to bipartisan members of the federal delegation weighing in on this issue…This whole process I think needs to be thrown out and restarted.
  • “In terms of Groundhog Day, we are now about a week away from a potential another government shutdown. And out of the House you get a different plan each day. This idea that you would have a series of government shutdowns is absurd, and responsible members of both parties have called it such…I know there are enormous negotiations going on right now…people ought to deserve and demand better.”
  • “And then in terms of the historic choices we’re making… I firmly support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas terrorists after the brutal events of October 7th. But I’ve also been calling for a cessation of hostilities, a short-term, a pause, whichever terminology you want to use, to make sure that we can get aid and assistance into Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere who have literally taken on  thousands and thousands of casualties. I’m proud to see that just today the Israeli government has announced a daily four-hour pause…I think that’s candidly in the long-term interests of the Israeli government as well, because keeping public opinion, keeping American support…not having the whole region explode into a regional war, it is critical that we provide this assistance to innocent Palestinian civilians.  I also joined a group of my colleagues as well calling on the Israeli government to shut down some of this violence being perpetrated by settlers in the West Bank; the truth is these settlers murdering Palestinians that could lead to literally a whole second front in this war if the Palestinian security services all quit…”
  • “I also think this draws upon you know a larger issue as well of what we’ve seen in our nation, as we see…Americans of Muslim faith, Americans of…Jewish faith and supporters of Israel or supporters of Palestine…literally being afraid to go to work being afraid on college campuses. I absolutely do not support those who who call for a Hamas victory or those who call for the extinction of Israel. But I also don’t support the fact…of just because you are Arab American or Muslim American that you don’t have First Amendment rights. I don’t support students at Cornell who are Jewish being afraid to go to class or on campuses on unfortunately across the country. I think we as a nation are being tested, and I think we have to stand up against anti-Semitism…against Islamophobia. And I think we need to find a way to also preserve those First Amendment rights. We are a unique experiment in this country, where people from different faith backgrounds, different countries all come together in this extraordinary American melting pot. And I’ve seen…stress on that American melting pot in the last month since the horrible activities of October 7th in a way that is again unprecedented. And we have to stand up against hatred and bigotry regardless of
    where it originates.”
  • “And while we need to make sure that we get this humanitarian aid to the Palestinians and we need to support Israel’s right to defend itself. we cannot – and I think this is as historic a moment as any since I’ve been in in the Senate – we cannot take our eyes off of the brutal aggression of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. And I point out the Putin governments who’s promoted anti-Semitism…Putin and his government which has had previous ties and connections with…Hamas, a clear ally with Iran, if America were to walk away from its commitment to Ukraine at this point the way some in the House and a few in the Senate would propose we would be undermined in a historic way, I don’t think any nation-state ally or enemy would ever trust our word again, particularly after the courage of the Ukrainian people to literally destroy half of Russia’s military capacity. And again, the most absurd comment, these are the people who I work with up here who couldn’t pass Geopolitics 101, who say they don’t have any problem with Putin winning in Ukraine, but they’ve got huge concerns about President Xi and the Communist Party in China. If you don’t get the fact that if an authoritarian wins in Russia or Iran or China, they all win. And failure to understand that kind of connection is either political blindness or just a complete lack of understanding of how the real world works.”
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