In 2010, Colorado senator Bob Bennett got his comeuppance when his support for TARP won him the ire of Tea Party members, then at the apogee of their power. The abortion and gay marriage opponent and Patriot Act supporter famously lost a primary to the curiously illiterate Mike Lee, often considered an expert on a Constitution that froze in 1861. To quote The Magnificent Ambersons, Bennett had gotten his comeuppance — and his cup runneth over. Dying of pancreatic cancer, Bennett shared regrets with his wife and son, both of whom then spoke to The Daily Beast in a legacy-building effort:
Are there any Muslims in the hospital?” he asked.
“I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump,” Bennett told his wife and son, both of whom relayed this story to The Daily Beast.
The rise of Donald Trump had appalled the three-term Utah senator, a Republican who fell victim to the Tea Party wave of the 2010 midterms. His vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, had alienated many conservative activists in his state, who chose lawyer Mike Lee as the GOP nominee for Senate instead.
As they traveled from Washington to Utah for Christmas break, Bennett approached a woman wearing a hijab in the airport.
“He would go to people with the hijab [on] and tell them he was glad they were in America, and they were welcome here,” his wife said. “He wanted to apologize on behalf of the Republican Party.”
“He was astonished and aghast that Donald Trump had the staying power that he had… He had absolutely no respect for Donald Trump, and I think got angry and frustrated when it became clear that the party wasn’t going to steer clear of Trumpism,” his son relayed.
We love posting these stories. A man whose senatorial tenure worsened the lives of millions of people, including his constituents, purportedly said the words he couldn’t say aloud in DC, much less Denver. Death loosens lips.
EDIT: I had no idea about Bennett’s CIA past, including involvement in the Watergate and ITT scandals.