Thursday, August 23, 2018

Flip Flop: Walberg on Trump's Wiretapping Allegations

Link to nicely formatted, printable PDF of this report:

Less than a month and a half after taking the office of President, in the pre-dawn hours of a Saturday, Donald Trump released this official White House statement to the world:

An alarming official statement from the new White House administration

To this day, there are still no substantiations for Trump’s allegations in that official White House message. Except, when people with legislative power make harsh, unsubstantiated rumors about people with no legislative power, who are perceived to be political opponents – That is very much McCarthyism in a nutshell.

Two months after that original White House statement, U.S. Congress member, Tim Walberg was asked about Trump’s wiretapping allegations at a constituent event.

Color Key to Highlights
Questions: Teal
Walberg’s Statements: Yellow

Thursday, May 11, 2017 (9:00 am)
Coffee Hour
Jackson, MI
Moderator: “I have two yes or no questions. The first is still about President Trump: ‘Do you think President Obama wiretapped President Trump; yes or no?’

Walberg: “No.”

[Constituents roundly applaud]

Walberg: “I hope you heard that answer.”

Heckler: “We did.”

Just as Walberg hoped, I heard his answer. And I thought it sounded perfectly reasonable. If I had been at the event, I would have applauded Walberg’s response as well. At that point, it had been two months since Donald Trump had made those allegations, and he had still not given any supportive evidence for them. Nor explained how he had been informed of such a thing, and why he associated all of it with McCarthyism.

Eight months later, Walberg flip-flopped. Walberg now concurred with Trump’s unsubstantiated wiretapping allegations. Walberg expressed his new position during a call-in segment to this radio program:

Thursday, January 25, 2018
The Steve Gruber Show
Lansing, MI
Gruber: “Let me ask you this. Do you believe in your opinion, was Trump Tower wiretapped, and wiretapped under false-pretenses with a FISA warrant that had no business being approved?”

Walberg: “Um, well – I guess the only comment I can make on that is from everything that is coming out now, when people laughed at Donald Trump when he suggested that his office had been tapped, and they poo-pooed it and said this is just a guy trying to get some publicity; It appears that Donald Trump may have the last laugh.

Gruber: “Here’s the real question - nexus of all of this – The real nexus of all of this: Does this all lead back to Barack Obama himself? Does it lead back to the previous occupant of the White House and the Oval Office? Was the former President involved in the rigging of the Clinton investigation, and the compromising of the FBI, and the wiretapping of Trump Tower, and the weaponizing of America’s intelligence community? Does this lead back to Barack Obama?

Walberg: “It would be my opinion that any person with an objective analysis of all that has gone on prior to what we’re seeing rolled out in front of us now, as well as what we’re seeing rolled out in front of us now, you’d have to say this did not happen without some involvement, or knowledge of, and approval by the former administration.

Gruber: “Is that a yes?”

Walberg: “That is a yes. And as I said, it is my opinion that with all the evidence that is coming out now, and all of the evidence that was suggested before, that something that has become as full-involved as what we’re seeing now, a President with an administration, and with controls and levers over FBI, Justice Department, etcetera, had to have known about it, but was very skillful in trying to keep it from appearing directly at his doorstep.Let me say it that way.”

Gruber: “But had to have known about it. There’s just - he had to have known about it.”

Walberg: “I would say, the amount of involvement that Barack Obama as President had in every area of life in Washington D.C., and very-very cleverly picking people who would do his work. I cannot believe that he didn’t know about it. But he was skillful in always making sure, that if it came close to him, it didn’t land in the Oval Office. Well, I think if people’s reasonable understanding would say if that was the case, then either the President was totally out of touch, or he was skillful in doing what was necessary to make sure that it didn’t fall directly on his office desk.”

Gruber: “Or he knew exactly what was going on.”

[The host then wrapped up the segment and went to commercials]

What was Walberg talking about when he said: with all the evidence that is coming out now? It has been eight months now since Walberg said that. At the time, and ever since, I have not found any evidence that indicated that Obama ordered a wiretapping of Trump. Walberg was not referring to classified evidence either, because he referred to it several times in that interview as evidence “coming out now”, and “what we’re seeing rolled out before us now”. Those are not descriptions used for classified evidence.

Again, what was Walberg referring to? Something provoked Walberg to flip-flop from a very confident opinion that he had eight months prior to that. And when he told us that position, which was contrary to the one Trump espoused, Walberg said that he hoped that we had heard it.

  • Is Walberg hopeful that we have now heard him flip-flop on the issue?
  • Is Walberg hopeful that we will want to hear him explain why he has flip-flopped?
  • Is Walberg hopeful that we will want to hear him cite his sources?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Walberg Compares Constituent Questions to Domestic Violence

Link to formatted, printable PDF of this report:

Last year, Tim Walberg received some criticism for his inappropriate remark invoking domestic violence to a constituent question. This report looks into some additional aspects of that incident that did not get much prior coverage, such as: 
  • Walberg made that same remark twice over the span of two days
  • The full questions and context in which Walberg made those remarks
  •  How Walberg spun and doubled-down when faced with criticism for it
  • Outline of the justifications for criticism of Walberg’s remarks

Monday, August 7th, 2017
Coffee Hour
Delta Township, MI
Moderated Question: “That’s a great segue into questions about education. Harry from Grand Ledge: ‘Do you believe in the scientific method as the avenue for determining what is true about the natural world? If yes, how do you reconcile that with your skepticism of global warming due primarily to industrial activity that began in the 19thcentury. If no, do you think we should drop science courses - physics, chemistry, biology – from high school curricula?’”

[Constituents roundly applaud]

Walberg: “That’s probably the most comprehensive question I ever heard in my life, other than, ‘When did you stop beating your wife?. I never started. I majored in biology with a minor in geology in university. I believe in sciences. My best courses in high school and college were in the sciences. I’m a Christian. I believe in a god who created the universe. I believe in a god who wants me to be a good steward of his creation. That’s why science is important. So, I combine those things – being a good steward of the resources that are here, knowing as much as I can about it, but never believing that I’m god in a legislative costume. So, I guess that’s the best way I can answer it. I think it works together.”

[At this moment a swell of heckling began which made some news in itself]

Every time I review Walberg’s remark there, I’m struck by how he said, “that’s the best way I can answer it.” It would be interesting to have Walberg outline how he thinks his response adequately addressed the question that was asked. Also, Walberg’s claim that he, “majored in biology with a minor in geology in university” is a complete lie. My full report on that topic is here:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Coffee Hour
Dexter, MI
Moderated Question: “Congressman, the next written question here is from Chris Justice [spelling?]. The question is: ‘You have shown with your votes-’And I should say we have many variations of this one: ‘You have shown with your votes and comments that you want to cut Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security. Which one do you want to cut the most?’”

Walberg: “And when did I stop beating my wife? Is that the next question?”

[A din of groans and disapproval from constituents. For ten seconds, Walberg stares ahead grinning at the constituents who are upset at his remark.]

Walberg: “Lemme, let me, let me tell ya’, I have never said that I would do anything except repair Social Security, keep the promise, and that Medicare as well.”

[Walberg continues talking about Medicare and Social security, and avoids mentioning Medicaid. At the 14:10 mark, one of the constituents who originally asked the question follows up asking Walberg to address the Medicaid part of the original question.]

Walberg: I do not want to cut Medicaid for Medicaid recipients that meet the qualifications of Medicaid recipients.We’re talking only Medicaid expansion that we’re looking at.

Live Constituent: That’s still Medicaid!

Walberg: That was not Medicaid until Obamacare.

Live Constituent: That’s Medicaid! My patients rely on that! My patients rely on that!

[A strong round of applause throughout the room]

So, Walberg affirmed once again that he wants to make cuts to Medicaid. So, it is not unfair for citizens to ask Walberg why he wants to make cuts to Medicaid, because that is his intention.

Walberg’s domestic violence comments got news coverage that day. So, the next day he addressed that criticism in his opening remarks.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Coffee Hour
Hudson, MI
Video (3:00 mark)
Walberg: “Many of my colleagues have stopped doing it [having town halls]. And the reason they’ve stopped doing it is because they say, ‘Why should I put myself it the setting where the Resist Movement, the Disrupt Movement that’s out there now can have YouTube moments on the cameras, the iPhones that are always there, and have that used against me in my next campaign?’ And that’s what will happen.”

“Yesterday we saw strong evidence of that, and are seeing evidences of taking statements out of context. And encourage me not to be as open and honest with my constituents, because of fear of having those YouTube moments, and having it spun against me. The fact that I would be challenged with an untruth, I would – The example with yesterday, be willing to hurt innocent people by doing away with Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and health care, is a scurrilous statement, not backed up with any truth at all, including my voting record, and direct statements.”

“But then to say in my response that took umbrage with that strongly, and now say that I countenance and make fun of domestic violence? Anyone who knows me, and has known my positions, my voting record, know my relationship with my wife of 43 years, and how I’ve carried myself throughout this community, understands why I take umbrage with that. But I’m going to continue doing these town hall meetings, with iPhones pointed at me, with recording being done by trackers for my opposition in the coming campaign. We’re gonna do this because you deserve to hear from your representative. But I hope when you hear those statements, and see those pictures that will come from those cameras, and those statements that are made, you’ll understand there’s another part of the story.”

So, Walberg doubled-down that he believes that his domestic violence responses were appropriate. As he originally made them, it did not seem as though Walberg was taking “strong umbrage” to the questions. Walberg grinned both times. People don’t normally grin when they take umbrage to something.

Walberg also said that his record will make anyone understand why he would take umbrage with anybody that would accuse him of making fun of domestic violence. As someone who is familiar with Walberg’s record and previous statements, his stance on domestic violence is not clear. Walberg reliably votes against increasing restrictions to guns and concealed carry permits for convicted domestic abusers. Here are two other recent examples:

1) When Walberg was asked about Greg Gianforte violently attacking a journalist for asking a question, Walberg said that what Gianforte did could be seen as courageous, and Walberg was delighted to have him in Congress because Gianforte is a Republican:

Friday, May 26, 2017
Coffee Hour
Coldwater, MI
(Video (39:30 mark)
Walberg: “He didn’t have a criminal offense. $250 fine. I think probably Montana’s, Montana’s cowboys etcetera didn’t see that as anything but a badge of courage. I promise you, I’m not gonna body-slam a reporter - intentionally. I wrestled in high school and college. I have four rotator cuff, bicep injuries to show that I can’t do that anymore… It does get frustrating, but I won’t body slam them. And Montana’s decided that was okay… they made that decision in Montana. And I’m delighted because I want a Republican in that seat.

Moral RelativismBelief that morality is a variable cultural construct; there are no universal moral values.

            2) Walberg has not made any critical statements about the many allegations of Donald Trump’s sexual assaults and harassment either. Even the ones that Trump has admitted to, and described committing himself. Those things have not hindered Walberg’s support for Trump.


            Walberg has either deliberately avoided addressing the points of criticism toward his controversial remarks, or he does not understand them. So, I will spell it out:

1)Walberg’s comments lessen the magnitude of domestic violence. – Among the attendees of Walberg’s two coffee hours, there were certainly people who had lived through real domestic violence. Walberg objected to critics for saying he made fun of domestic violence. So, I ask for Walberg to review the videos and see whether or not he grinned both times that he made those wife-beating remarks, and if he grinned at the constituents who had expressed their offense. Even if deep down Walberg was earnestly hurt by the questions that were asked, nobody had broken the rules that Walberg had set for the Coffee Hour. The questions had both been vetted by the moderators selected by Walberg’s office. Whatever stress or offense that Walberg may have endured by to those peacefully moderated questions, could never be compared to domestic violence, abuse, or being falsely accused of a crime. By drawing such a comparison, Walberg minimizes the suffering and lasting effects on people who have endured actual violence. Walberg’s grinning at the constituents who took offense to his remarks also demonstrates a carelessness toward the people he is obliged to represent.

2) Walberg intended to make constituents feel bad for asking perfectly legitimate questions. – Walberg attempted to equate constituents asking topical town hall questions, with constituents falsely accusing Walberg of violent crimes. Walberg attempted to publicly shame his constituents for having asked those questions. There was nothing inappropriate about the questions that were submitted and read aloud by Walberg’s moderators. There is no justification for Walberg to pretend to have been blindsided by inappropriate questions.

3) What context prompted Walberg to invoke domestic violence? – The first question was about science education, and the second question was about cuts to mandatory spending programs. Walberg said that critics were “taking statements out of context”, but he failed to explain what context would have made his comments appropriate in the first place.

4) Walberg thought he was being funny. – The wife-beating line went over better with the people at Delta Township than it did at the Dexter event. I don’t know if Walberg had ever used that line in the past, but it did elicit chuckles at Delta Township. Walberg was probably pleased by that reaction, and figured it would be a useful comeback line whenever tough questions come at him in the future. That is why he grinned both times after he said it. When the line didn’t go over well at Dexter, Walberg attempted to spin his motivation for saying the line. He argued that he had taken serious umbrage with the question that was asked, because the question was based on a maligning premise. However, Walberg should not take umbrage for being asked if he wants to make cuts to Medicaid, because moments later, he affirmed the premise of the question, that he does wants to make cuts to Medicaid.


Walberg’s attempts to spin the motivation behind his disrespectful remarks are similar to the October 16, 2017 Coffee Hour in Tecumseh, when he said: “Those of you who think there’s impeachable offenses to Tweets? Get a life. Get a life.” Some of the constituents that day told Walberg that it was disrespectful for him to tell them to get a life. We can see in real time how Walberg tried to spin his own intentions, by saying, “I’m not disrespecting you. If you can’t take a simple statement that says: Folks, we need to get a lifeGet a Life! Enjoy America folks! C’mon, this politically correct stuff goes too far. Goes too far. Too far.” So, Walberg tried warp a direct declaration to “Get a life” into a “simple statement” that “we” should all enjoy America by getting a life: Yippy, let’s all unite together in getting a life.

Gee golly shucks, it’s all warm and homespun now. Walberg could use that same technique to spin his gaffs into folksy simple statements in campaign slogans, like so:

Video of Walberg’s “get a life” remarks
See (37:00 mark & and 51:00 mark for Walberg’s spin)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Update: Walberg Lying that his Father Immigrated to U.S.

This report expands on my report from July 20 about Walberg falsely claiming that his Father immigrated to the U.S., and also referring to him as an "Anchor Baby".

- There are five additional occurrences of Walberg claiming that his father immigrated to the U.S. with that Total to 12
- There is one additional occurrence of Walberg referring to his father as an "Anchor Baby" bringing that Total to 5

Link to full updated and formatted PDF with all of Walberg's claims:

Walberg Claiming that his Father Immigrated to the U.S.
September 23, 2011
Endorsement of U.S. English
Washington, DC
Walberg: “A nation like ours certainly is a melting pot. I’m a Svenska [Swede]. My father came over from Sweden, but he came over to be American. His parents did. And so the language was something that they saw was important at that time to develop, to learn English, and Grandma never allowed us to learn Swedish. She said, ‘Ve’re Americans, ve no longer Svedes.’ Not that they rejected their heritage, but they saw America as a place that offered them all sorts of opportunities.”

Logo for the lobby group

U.S. English is a lobby group with endorsement videos only from white, mostly GOP Congress members such as Steve King (IA-05), Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46), Jim Jordan (OH-04), Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), and former Congress member Tom Price (GA-06). It seems like the initiative would smack in the face of the first amendment clause: “Freedom of Speech”. How would that initiative be anything but Congress putting limits and regulations on our speech?

Walberg Claiming that his Father Immigrated to the U.S.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
The Drift, with Gary Wellings
(Radio Call-in)
Whitmore Lake, MI
Audio (23:00 mark):
Walberg: “I doubt there are very few citizens in our country that don’t feel positive toward legal immigration. Most of us came that way. My dad came over from Sweden with his parents. I’m glad they did. But they came legally, through Ellis Island. Signed the documents, spoke our language, lived by our laws, and I’m the beneficiary of that. There are many people now who feel this is a way to change society, and a way to get special groups who will then vote for them, and take over America – change it from what it has been. Remember our President spoke truth about; and that was that he wanted to do foundational change to our country. We’re seeing that happen.“

Walberg Claiming that his Father Immigrated to the U.S.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Coffee Hour
Luna Pier, MI
Walberg: “We have seen just by talking about it, and the world coming to understand that this President is serious about that, a 61% reduction in the number of illegal incursions into this country since he took office. 61%. We want legal aliens. And we want legal aliens to come, and we want many of them to become citizens. Why do we want that? One of the key things of immigrants coming into this country, including my Father: They enhance the gene pool. Why do I say that they enhance the gene pool? Because most of them come with a frontier, entrepreneurial freedom spirit. They didn’t come to America because they thought it’d be a worse place than where they came from. They thought it’d be better. They thought they had more opportunity. That’s what my Dad’s parents thought. And they found a greater opportunity.”
Walberg Claiming that his Father Immigrated to the U.S.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Coffee Hour
Jackson, MI
Walberg: “So I would say, I think for a fact, knowing my colleagues, knowing what it would take to get a so-called ‘actual wall’; knowing that there are certain places where you got 30-to-100-foot cliffs, you don’t need a wall; that we will do what’s necessary to make sure our borders are secure. And then secondly, to make sure that our immigration laws, number one: Are followed. And number two: Where we need to reform and make it more efficient in getting people who genuinely want to experience the American dream, to live the American way, to come over here as my Father and Grandparents came, and experience America because they want to be American. To make sure those gates swing wide and free for those kind of people. And we don’t hold back the opportunity for people to experience what America is.”

[Skip to 0:40:20 mark]

Walberg: “I think each individual situation needs to be taken into consideration, which each country as well. I think one thing we oughta make sure is that people that come to this country provide something for this country. That’s how it’s always been. When my family came from Sweden, they came with jobs that they would give to this country, with skills. You just have to go to the Chicago skyline to see Wrigley Building and others, where my ancestors came with stone masonry work and added to that skyline in a very positive way. So that has to continue.”
Walberg Claiming that his Father Immigrated to the U.S.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Coffee Hour
Northfield Township, MI
Walberg: “There will also be the ending of chain-migration and diversity visas, none of which were ever part of our immigration system before. And we want to promote an immigration system that works as it has throughout the decades and decades that citizens have come, or immigrants have come to this country in order to participate in the American dream, and ultimately become citizens like my Grandparents and Father, who came here only desiring to have the opportunity to be American.
Note: There is an apparent contradiction here when Walberg says that his family came to the U.S. with only a desire to be American, when the previous month, he claimed that they came with stone masonry skills, and he said that we need immigrants with ready skills to immediately benefit the country.

Occurrences when Walberg claimed that his Ancestors Immigrated with Skills: 
·May 11, 2017 in Jackson ·May26, 2017 in Coldwater ·January 24, 2018 in Olivet

Walberg specifically claimed that his immigrant ancestors were stone masons who worked on Chicago’s Wrigley Building, and also helped to shape the city’s skyline. I have some substantial reasons to doubt that claim, but I am still following some leads on that. I will explore those claims further in a later report.

Walberg referring to his Father as an “Anchor Baby
Monday, May 24, 2010
Women’s Candidate Forum
Hillsdale, MI
Walberg: “I thank God that my Grandmother and Grandfather came over here from ‘Sveden’, and my Father was an anchor baby. No he wasn’t, because Grandma and Grandpa came over for the liberty and the opportunity of America, and they said, ‘Ve no longer Svedes. Ve’re Americans God bless America.