The McCarthy hearings in 1954 will forever be known as a black mark on American Politics. In those now infamous hearings, headed by Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), sought to “out” Americans for being communists. What ended up happening was innocent lives were ruined. After the Wisconsin Senator went way off the rails in questioning an Army private in the hearings, another Senator asked McCarthy, “have you no dececy, sir?” — the hearings ended shortly after and McCarthy was censured by the Senate.
Since then, the word McCarthyism has become synonymous with the practice of publicizing accusations of treason and disloyalty with insufficient evidence.
Today in the House of Representative’s impeachment inquiry, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was one of two witnesses who testified. Lt. Col. Vindman began his witness testimony before the House Intelligence Commitee’s impeachment inquiry hearing by calling the attacks against other witnesses who have testified “callow and cowardly.”
Vindman himself had been the victim of such attacks on Fox News and other right wing outlets. Many spectators wondered if the GOP would try to continue to promote the idea that Vindman was somehow a double agent or generally disloyal to the United States.
The GOP tried, and failed to paint Vindman as some sort of traitor and he came off just as a loyal American who has served the nation for the entirety of his adult life.
Steve Castor, the Republican attorney, tried to do this by asking Vindman about a visit to Ukraine for Zelensky’s inauguration earlier this year. He specifically focused on a job offer Vindman received from Oleksandr Danylyuk, the former head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. Apparently, Danylyuk offered Vindman an opportunity to become Ukraine’s defense minister three times during the trip — and, each time, Vindman declined.
“Upon returning, I notified chain of command and the appropriate counterintelligence folks about this, the offer,” Vindman said.
But Castor wasn’t done trying to use this tactic, and got more underhanded. He continued to press Vindman on whether he ever considered the offer, resulting in an exchange in which he appeared to call Vindman’s patriotism into question in a scene that totally resembled the 1954 McCarthy debacle:
CASTOR: Ukraine’s a country that’s experienced a war with Russia. Certainly their minister of defense is a pretty key position for the Ukrainians. President Zelensky, Mr. Danylyuk, to bestow that honor — at least asking you — that was a big honor, correct?
VINDMAN: I think it would be a great honor, and frankly I’m aware of service members that have left service to help nurture developing democracies in that part of the world. It was an Air Force officer that became minister of defense, but I’m an American. I came here when I was a toddler. And I immediately dismissed these offers. Did not entertain them.
CASTOR: When he made this offer to you initially, did you leave the door open? Was there a reason he had to come back and ask a second or third time?
VINDMAN: Counselor, you know what, the whole notion is rather comical that I was being asked to consider whether I’d want to be the minister of defense. I did not leave the door open at all.
CASTOR: Okay. But it is pretty funny for a lieutenant colonel of the United States Army, which really isn’t that senior, to be offered that illustrious a position. When he made this offer to you, was he speaking in English or Ukrainian?
VINDMAN: He is an absolutely flawless English speaker.
Not only did Castor try to paint Vindman as disloyal to the uniform he wears, he subtly threw in the thing about language — making it known that Vindman was foreign born and speaks a foreign language, namely Ukrainian. As they say, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or in this case a lawyer) to see why he did that.
Vindman was unwavering in showing he was a true-blue American.
The full questioning of Vindman by Castor can be seen below:
Castor’s questioning resembled the talking points of Fox host Laura Ingraham more than anything that belonged in this inquiry. Something late night host Seth Meyers tore up last week on his show. Check out that clip below:
The only question remains is when someone will ask Castor and his GOP clients if they have any decency.
Featured image via screen capture from youtube.com