Fact Checking Pete Ricketts’ Zombie Lies

Ricketts is considering a run for higher office.

In the last few weeks, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has been very outspoken in his opposition to President Biden and his agenda. It’s unusual for a Nebraska governor to speak out on national issues. It’s evident to me that Ricketts has aspirations for higher office. The billionaire governor will most likely run for the U.S. Senate in 2024 or even the presidency.

The Nebraska press has dutifully reported on Ricketts partisan rants without doing any fact checking. Many of the articles read like a Ricketts press release. I will do the work of the press for them and provide the necessary fact checking.

LIE: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts rejected a federal request to help house unaccompanied migrant children because “we are reserving our resources for serving our kids” within the state.

FACT CHECK: Adam Morfeld tweeted as follows: If Governor Ricketts really cared about Nebraska kids he wouldn’t oppose SNAP expansion, paid family leave, medical marijuana, and K-12 public education. So it is not surprising that he doesn’t care about all children. This is what blind partisanship looks like — denying care to children.

LIE: President Biden has created an immigration crisis on our border with thousands of unaccompanied migrant children coming to our country without their parents or family.

FACT CHECK: The reality is that the border surge began in the summer of 2020. In a recent interview, Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT) pointed out that: “The surge at the border began last fall, in the last four months of Donald Trump’s presidency there was an 80 percent surge in apprehensions at the border.” The Connecticut Democrat also indicated that the eleven year high in border apprehensions occurred during the Trump administration. (Border apprehensions hit an eleven year high in 2019.)

Murphy followed up that interview with another tweet on immigration: “I’m not contesting there has been an increase in apprehensions. What I’m pointing out is that it didn’t start when Biden became President.

Here’s the rough data on % increases in border encounters:

Jun-Aug — 73%

Sept-Nov — 44%

Dec-Feb — 38%”

What’s more, Biden transition officials maintain that the Trump Administration delayed taking action on the surge at border. According to NBC News: “In early December, the Biden transition team and career government officials began sounding an alarm on the need to increase shelter space for the large number of migrant children expected to soon be crossing the border, but the Trump administration didn’t take action until just days before the inauguration, according to two Biden transition officials and a U.S. official with knowledge of the discussions.”

LIE: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts criticized Biden’s infrastructure proposal, claiming that only 5% of the money goes to real infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

FACT CHECK: The fact checkers at the Washington Post gave this bogus claim three out of four possible Pinocchios. Ricketts’ definition of infrastructure is ridiculously narrow since it only includes roads and bridges. According to the Washington Post: “Rail is transportation. Water pipes are infrastructure.”

LIE: The president “refused to compromise with Republicans on stimulus legislation.”

FACT CHECK: The reality is that the D.C. Republicans are fully committed to obstruction and sabotage in the hopes of regaining power. The House Republicans never had a covid-19 relief or stimulus plan. Similarly, 40 out of 50 GOP Senators didn’t have a plan and were simply content to obstruct.

Ten so-called “moderate” GOP Senators — who tried to wreck Obama’s presidency — made a wholly inadequate counter offer in the amount of $600 billion. It simply wasn’t a serious offer and left Biden with no choice but to pass the American Rescue Plan with Democratic votes.

The D.C. Republicans also don’t have an infrastructure plan. Senator Shelley Moe Capito (R-WV) described her so-called “plan” which would cost $600 to $800 billion as follows : “It’s just a ballpark figure. It doesn’t — it may not even be that much. I don’t know. I just kind of threw that out as a talking point.”

How is President Biden supposed to compromise with people who don’t do policy?

LIE: President Biden is forging ahead with a narrowly partisan agenda.

FACT CHECK: President Biden’s American Rescue Plan had a 70% approval when it passed. Similarly, Biden’s infrastructure plan has a 2–1 approval rating. Millions of Republicans outside of the D.C. beltway support his agenda. It’s only the cynical and hyper-partisan elected Republicans who oppose his popular agenda.

LIE: Nebraska is a pro-Second Amendment state, and we will stand up against any attempt by the federal government to impede our freedoms through restrictive gun regulations.

FACT CHECK: President Biden’s executive order to ban so-called “ghost guns” is clearly constitutional. In his opinion in the landmark 2008 Heller decision, conservative Justice Scalia ruled that bans on “dangerous and unusual” weapons are consistent with the Second Amendment. Two federal courts of appeals have affirmed assault weapons bans. The Supreme Court decided not to review those decisions and let them stand.

LIE: President Biden is going to lead the most “pro-abortion administration in American history.”

FACT CHECK: Countries that have banned abortions have more abortions than the countries where the procedure is legal. The types of big government abortion bans that Ricketts supports have failed and actually result in more abortions.

The unborn are an easy “constituency” to “represent.” They make no demands on elected officials and there is no need to develop or maintain a relationship with them. Once they’re born, right wingers forget about them, unless they get rich or own a war weapon.

The 2022 election cycle will be here before you know it. This election will determine whether the right wing of the GOP will wreck the state with ruinous tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Ricketts will be termed out and we will be electing a new governor. In addition, several Democratic and moderate Republican state senators won’t be running for re-election due to term limits. We have our work cut for us in 2022. Let’s get it done! Let’s leave it all out on the field! We can do this!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.