When Sen. Mike Lee tweeted ‘We’re not a democracy,’ Twitter became the battleground for the republic

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, announces he will serve as a co-chairman of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in Utah at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The Republican senator from Utah ignited a debate after the vice presidential debate with tweets about his views on government and the Constitution.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee created an uproar on Twitter for his tweets during and after Wednesday evening’s vice presidential debate, particularly his declaration: “We’re not a democracy.”

The senator, who is in isolation in Washington, D.C., after testing positive for the coronavirus last week, began the live tweets by welcoming the candidates to “the most beautiful state in America” and spoke about Utahns’ voracious Jell-O appetites.

Utah became a state in 1896, nearly 50 years after applying for statehood as the State of Deseret. We consume more Jello on a per capita basis than any state in the Union.

— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) October 8, 2020

Two minutes laters, the tweets turned more serious.

“The word ‘democracy’ appears nowhere in the Constitution, perhaps because our form of government is not a democracy. It’s a constitutional republic. To me it matters. It should matter to anyone who worries about the excessive accumulation of power in the hands of the few,” Lee wrote.

During the next 28 minutes, he sent out five more tweets that ranged from his musing on governmental powers to defending his maskless public appearance that is suspected to have led to the senator catching the coronavirus.

“We’re not a democracy,” Lee wrote more affirmatively at 7:34 p.m. By Thursday afternoon, the statement had more than 22,000 likes and nearly 9,500 retweets.

We’re not a democracy.

— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) October 8, 2020

And then after midnight, Lee doubled down, writing “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity (sic) are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.” The early Thursday morning tweet had around 29,000 retweets later in the afternoon — with many expressing opposition to the senator’s views.

Twitter reacts

Steven Schmidt, a former senior presidential campaign adviser to Sen. John McCain who co-founded the Lincoln Project, said: “The attainment of liberty, peace and prosperity can only be achieved through democracy. This isn’t an abstract, academic argument that Sen. Mike Lee is making. It is the authoritarian argument in a nutshell. Astonishing statement from a United States Senator.”

“It would be fun to run against this guy,” Schmidt said, tagging the Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans who do not support President Donald Trump.

run against this guy. Someone should think about it. @ProjectLincoln

— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) October 8, 2020

Sen. Lee responds

Several digital outlets reported on the Twitter debate over Lee’s views on democracy.

Lee’s spokesman Conn Carroll told Vox in an email: “At a time when Democrats want to pack the Court, eliminate the Electoral College, and turn the Senate into the House, it is very good that Americans are re-reading The …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Top stories


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