The future looked bright for U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz in the halls of Congress. We still believe that to be true, but it’s clear the freshman congressman didn’t get off on the right foot last week in the wake of a mob’s seditious storming of the U.S. Capitol.
After the mob dispersed, Bentz — who represents Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District — joined more than 130 GOP lawmakers who voted to object to Pennsylvania election results. The vote was based on shaky data that has been proven wrong.
The objection, rightly, failed.
Later, Bentz told the Malheur Enterprise newspaper in Malheur County — where Bentz worked for decades as lawyer — that he doesn’t believe President Donald Trump should resign and he shouldn’t be impeached after the insurrection at the Capitol last week.
Bentz arguably represents one of the more conservative areas of Oregon, if not the nation, so his vote on the Pennsylvania results was no surprise. At the end of the day, he is an elected member of the Congress and can vote the way he feels best represents his constituents.
The only problem with such logic is the Pennsylvania results were never really in question, and courts soundly rejected legal protests to it. To still vote in protest of the results after such legal proceedings calls into question the new congressman’s judgment and just exactly whom he believes he is representing.
If he believes he must only listen to his ultra right-wing constituents, then he must rethink his outlook. The 2nd Congressional District is home to a good share of ultra right-wing voters, but it also is filled with middle-of-the-road Republicans and many Democrats. Their views and concerns matter too.
Bentz’s views on what should occur after the president essentially incited a mob to storm the Capitol building are head-scratchers. On a purely pragmatic road, he may be correct that an impeachment of the president would be a waste of time. The president, after all, leaves office within a week. But his comment that the president will be held accountable for last week’s mob “in the proper way” also is mystifying. What does that even mean?
Bentz made major missteps last week — miscues that raise questions about his political judgment. The voters of his district deserve better.