Email #85, Subject: “declined to answer a question”?

I read a newspaper report about your trip to India last week:

“Before meeting the prime minister, Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte declined to answer a question on visa restrictions, saying it was up to President Trump to reassess his policies on immigration.”

Although I assume you didn’t travel half way around the world just to avoid questions from your constituents, it’s striking that the same question was asked at the Vinton town hall on the same day. While you were declining to answer in India, your cardboard cutout was declining to answer back home here in district 6.

While it is of course up to the President to reassess his immigration policies, as chair of the House Judiciary Committee, immigration policy is also one of your primary duties. Your own staff helped to craft the President’s immigration ban that the courts subsequently struck down. You state in your own press release:

“My staff on the House Judiciary Committee are some of the best on Capitol Hill. They are experts in their respective fields and I proudly allowed them to provide their expertise to the Trump transition team on immigration law.”

Given your office’s involvement in the ban, why did you tell reporters in India that it is only “up to President Trump”? And what did you mean by “reassess his policies”? Do his policies need to be reassessed because a three-judge panel unanimously found his executive order to be illegal? Do you still support that executive order despite its illegality? As the leading member of Congress tasked with overseeing immigration policy, are you also “reassessing”?

These are basic questions. Your constituents have a right to answers. Why do you keep declining to give them?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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