Congresswoman Alma Adams talks latest on the Hill

A quick convo with Adams touched on Trump, midterm elections and what we stand to lose if we don't vote.

This week, I bumped into U.S. Rep. Alma Adams of Charlotte at Johnson C. Smith University. Although the Charlotte Democrat was there for an event unrelated to politics, I couldn’t resist pulling her aside to discuss some of the latest developments in Washington.

We talked less than 24 hours after Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, was convicted on eight counts relating to financial crimes and the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, implicated Trump in illegal campaign payments to silence two women with whom Trump allegedly had affairs.

Here are some excerpts from our talk:

On Trump’s legal problems…

“When you look at what happened yesterday in court, with Cohen and the comments and allegations he’s made — made them under oath — I think that there’s some truth to it. But in terms of what the Congress might do, I haven’t seen them do much. I’ve seen them only protect the president because of his party, so they’ve been sticking together pretty well. I think if there are actually some documents or something that would support what he (Cohen) has said, that might change them; maybe they’ll take some action, but I’m not real encouraged that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will really do what we know is probably necessary and what they would do if this were President Obama.”

On Republican inaction relating to Trump…

“It’s amazing that when you have power you want to keep it, sometimes by any means necessary. I think that’s what we are looking at. They want to continue to control this country. We’ve had some awful things to happen — people are suffering, the tax bill has not been a tax bill for all; everybody is not doing great. African-Americans aren’t doing great. Many of us are underemployed, so those (low unemployment) numbers that they’re flaunting out there are really bogus.”

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On talk that House Democrats need new leadership…

“I think the first thing we need to do is be in a position to really lead that chamber. That’s the only comment I will make about that. Because, until we can regain control of the chamber so that we can make a difference in the lives of people…we can deal with the leadership issue once we are in power and in control to do that.”

Her feelings going into the midterm elections…

“We (Democrats) have reshaped our message in a way that people can understand it. We are for the people. We want better jobs, and by better jobs, I mean we want living wages. We want everyone to have affordable health care. We want to make sure that your medications are medications that you can afford. You can’t even afford to get sick right now. We want an improved economy. We want to drain that nasty, dirty swamp in Washington.”

On the Democrats’ messaging…or lack thereof…

“We don’t need to focus on all this negative stuff that’s going on. The people will deal with that. The people want to know from us, what are you going to do for us? How are you going to make my life better? How are you going to help me make those ends meet for my family? When we think about the number of people just in our county who are food insecure — over 160,000 — those are the kind of bread-and-butter issues. We’re talking about that as Democrats. Yes, the Republicans have been speaking, and particularly President Trump, in headlines, and we have been dealing with the fine print. But now we’ve enlarged that. So we’ve got about a 24-point (type) now. So people can see it, we’re talking about it, and they know we’re serious.”

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A chief concern…

“I’m hoping that people will really come to understand what we have to lose if we don’t vote. What we have to lose are our human rights, our civil rights, our voting rights, our rights to a quality education — all of those things that parents and people, men women and children, care about. That’s what we’ve got to get to resonate to our community. If you don’t go and vote, we’re going to be in serious trouble as we look ahead to the highest court to even what is going on in the state of North Carolina. My district is still the most gerrymandered in the nation, still under consideration. So there are lots of things happening in our country and in our state that really gives us a bad mark across this country. If good people don’t go to the polls and vote for good people, bad people get elected, and bad people do awfully bad things to good people, and that’s what’s happening right now.”

Glenn Burkins
Glenn is founder and publisher of He's worked at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and Charlotte Observer.
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