Secretary of state candidate Dana Rohrabacher thinks Russia's human rights violations are "baloney"

Rohrabacher attacked a Yahoo anchor who asked about Russia's country's poor human rights record

Published December 8, 2016 3:03PM (EST)

 (Screengrab via Yahoo)
(Screengrab via Yahoo)

A Republican congressman from California who Breitbart claims is on the shortlist for secretary of state just displayed a trait that might very well endear him to President-elect Donald Trump — that is, obsequiously sucking up to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, when Yahoo News' Bianna Golodryga asked Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, about Trump's well-known coziness with the right-wing despot. When she brought up that Rohrabacher was referred to by Politico in November as "Putin's favorite congressman" and mentioned that Russia is guilty of human rights abuses comparable to those committed in China (which Rohrabacher had just denounced), the congressman patronizingly dismissed her claim.

"Oh, baloney!" Rohrabacher exclaimed. "Where do you come from?"

"I come from the former Soviet Union, that's where I came from," Golodryga replied. "I came here as a political refugee."

Rohrabacher responded by commenting, "Oh, well, then that's good, then the audience knows you're biased."

"I'm biased because I'm an American citizen who was born in a foreign country?" Golodryga replied incredulously.

After Golodryga again brought up Russia's human rights violations — which have been comprehensively recorded by Human Rights Watch —  Rohrabacher tried to claim that President Ronald Reagan, for whom he had worked as a speechwriter, would have approved of his position on Putin.

"Reagan was the one who reached out to [Mikhail] Gorbachev," Rohrabacher said.

"Are you comparing Gorbachev to Vladimir Putin?" Golodryga asked.

"Absolutely, I am," Rohrabacher replied.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He specializes in covering science, health and history, and is particularly passionate about climate change, animal science, disability rights, plastic pollution and the intersections between science and politics. He has interviewed many prominent figures including former President Jimmy Carter, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, animal scientist and activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, actor George Takei, and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Dana Rohrabacher Donald Trump Russia Vladimir Putin