John Bush, a Kentucky lawyer nominated by President Trump to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, said he regretted some of his 400-plus social media posts that peddled right-wing conspiracy theories such as the birther libel against President Obama at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
The conservative blogger spent years publishing his controversial opinions under the pseudonym “G. Morris”, as exposed by Buzzfeed shortly after his appointment.
Senator Al Franken (D-MN) questioned Bush’s judgment, noting that conservative blogger relied heavily on World Net Daily, a conservative site famous for pushing birtherism, racism, conspiracies, and biblical End Times prophecies.
“One of the qualities I look for in a judge is judgment,” Franken said as he began his line of questioning about an article sourced by Bush that claimed a reporter in Kenya had been detained because he was investigating Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
Think Progress notes:
In the post — which bears the grammatically-dubious title “‘Brother’s Keeper’ — As In, Keep That Anti-Obama Reporter In Jail!” — Bush touted a World Net Daily story claiming that one of the publication’s reporters was being held by immigration officials in Kenya after the reporter went there to investigate Obama’s Kenyan half-brother.
The post implied, without explicitly stating, that then-Sen. Barack Obama bore some responsibility for this reporter being detained. In any event, Bush felt that he needed to distance himself from the birther website he once cited, telling Franken that “I was certainly not intending to endorse any views of another group, as far as birtherism goes,” when he wrote this particular blog post.
Questionable citations aside, many of Bush’s other blog posts stated much more directly how the judicial nominee views the world. In one post in particular, for example, Bush claimed that “the two greatest tragedies in our country” are “slavery and abortion.”
“What point were you trying to make in this post?” Franken asked. “It was a post titled ‘Brother’s Keepers,’ as in — this is the name of it — ‘Keep that anti-Obama reporter in jail.’”
“Well, first of all, before getting into the particular post, I have to tell the committee, there are some things I’ve written on the posts, or the blog, that I wish I could phrase differently or said differently at this point,” a clearly uncomfortable Bush replied. “That particular post, I don’t recall all the details of it, but I was certainly not intending to endorse any views of another group as far as birtherism goes.”
“How did you decide which sources were credible? And do you believe that World News Daily is a credible source?” Franken asked.
Bush attempted to dodge Franken’s question, but he pressed again: “Let me ask you again — How did you decide which sources were credible, and how did you decide that World News Daily is a credible source?”
“I don’t know whether I decided that or not,” Bush said, “I just really cannot remember.”
“Using sources that engaged in fake news, hate speech. And again … I think we have to, when we’re confirming judges, look at judgment. And in my mind, using my judgment to confirm someone to the circuit court who felt free to blog posts, and can’t answer how he decides whether to cite a source or not, whether it’s credible or not, that’s disturbing to me. Thank you.”