Republican Senator Lamar Alexander chuckled after saying President Trump’s ignorance may have played a part in the Ukraine scheme.
The Senator from Tennessee, who is set to retire and whose no vote played a crucial role in denying the country witnesses during the impeachment trial this week, was a guest on Meet the Press on Sunday.
Host Chuck Todd asked Alexander if Trump’s Ukraine scheme went against what the Constitution sought to guard against — a president seeking foreign interference into an American election.
“Does it wear on you, though, that one of the foundational reasons that the framers wrote the Constitution was almost fear of foreign interference?” Todd asked.
Alexander, replied, “That’s true.”
“So, and here it is,” Todd said of Trump’s behavior regarding Ukraine.
Alexander then tried to differentiate what Trump attempted to do with Ukraine and what the Founders meant, saying, “Well, if you hooked up with Ukraine to wage war on the United States, as the first senator from Tennessee did, you could be expelled. But this wasn’t that.”
The senator continued, “What the president should have done was, if he was upset about Joe Biden and his son and what they were doing in Ukraine, he should have called the attorney general and told him that and let the attorney general handle it the way they always handle cases that involve public figures.”
Todd then asked: “And why do you think he didn’t do that?”
Alexander replied, “Maybe he didn’t know to do it.” The senator clearly laughed after giving his answer.
Todd smirked incredulously, telling Alexander that he’s heard that excuse from defenders of the president before, saying, “OK, this has been a rationale that I’ve heard from a lot of Republicans: ‘Well, boy, he’s still new to this.’”
Todd then asked, “At what point, though, is he no longer new to this?”
Alexander tried to say he wasn’t justifying Trump’s behavior, even though he just had, and then pivoted to Trump’s record on other topics and said it’s up to voters to decide.
“Well, the bottom line, it’s not an excuse. He shouldn’t have done it. And I said he shouldn’t have done it. And now I think it’s up to the American people to say, ‘OK, good economy, lower taxes, conservative judges, behavior that I might not like, call to Ukraine.’ Weigh that against Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders and pick a president.”
Sen. Alexander: “Well, the bottom line, it's not an excuse.” pic.twitter.com/dzqjK5Jhq5
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) February 2, 2020