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SUMMIT – They used to call August “recess time” for members of Congress, but that apparently sounded too much like youngsters romping in the schoolyard. So now it’s district work time, a much more official, if not pompous, designation.
And so it was that Tom Malinowski, D-7th District, brought his work time Wednesday night to a jam-packed room of more than 100 in the town library. It was a supportive crowd with the exception of a loud critic wielding a recorder who obnoxiously fired off a series of questions at the congressman as the session was wrapping up. That disturbance, however, didn’t really impact the evening.
Malinowski began this night by saying there are “fundamental questions” as to who we are as a democracy and country. He said he sees his mission as two-fold – working on bread and butter issues like the Gateway Tunnel in addition to speaking out against the excesses of the man he previously has called the “mad king” in the White House.
A former assistant secretary for Human Rights in the State Department, Malinowski drew some laughs (although it really isn’t all that humorous) when he described the president’s foreign policy this way – “He likes people who like him.” Malinowski was referring to leaders like Putin and Kim Jong-un.
This remains a very competitive district and it was a bit surprising that no one in the crowd challenged Malinowski. The guy yelling at the end didn’t really count.
Republicans have been less reticent to do that via press releases. A recent one from the campaign of Tom Kean Jr., who is seeking the GOP’s congressional nomination in the district, said that Malinowski votes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and liberals like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez “more than any New Jersey congressman.”
But is that a negative?
It certainly wasn’t to people in the room who asked the congressman about impeaching Donald Trump, climate change and how best to stymie the president. One woman asked if Trump could somehow be “quarantined.”
Malinowski said the president has the power all presidents have, adding that some Republicans privately object to Trump’s more outlandish actions and tweets. It’s hard to see, of course, what good objecting
Malinowski was asked about the “Fair Tax,” which essentially would do away with the income tax in favor of a national consumption (sales) tax. The congressman said he would look at it, but cautioned that he supports a “progressive” tax system, meaning that the more you make, the more you pay.
The loudest applause for Malinowski came when he reminded the crowd he was the sponsor of a resolution condemning the president for suggesting that four liberal House members, all of whom are minorities, go back to where they came from. Three of them were actually born in the United States.
Malinowski, who was born in Poland, said he wondered why the present hasn’t urged him to return to his native land.
The crowd understood this wasn’t the type of question that demanded an answer.