House GOPer: America Now a “Second-Class State”

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The concept of American exceptionalism is gospel in the Republican Party. Republicans in Washington consistently proclaim the US the “greatest nation in the world.” Late last month, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) ripped President Barack Obama for failing to mention American exceptionalism in his recent State of the Union address. The president, Boehner vented, “refused to talk about American exceptionalism. We are different than the rest of the world…[Democrats] reject that notion.”

At least one freshman House Republican apparently missed the American exceptionalism memo. At a meet-and-greet here on the second day of CPAC, Rep. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) veered wildly off the GOP script, referring to the US as “a second-class state.” Nugent was one of nearly a dozen freshman congressmen who showed up at the event, where attendees downed mimosas and glad-handed with the GOP’s new members as well as Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), who introduced each of the members. The freshmen each gave a brief statement, and while Nugent’s hit on the usual themes—paying off our debt, reducing the deficit, embracing free enterprise—the “second-class state” remark was a bit startling, and met with silence.

Here’s what Nugent’s said:

Washington has gone tone deaf in the last administration. They didn’t listen to any of us…

I was comfortable in retirement. The reason I ran is because I currently have three sons serving this great nation. What I saw in their future is not an exceptional America. What’s happened in the last four years has drug this country down and put it into a second-class state.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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