Open Letter — Congressman Tom Coleman
Senate candidate Eric Schmitt has repeatedly stated in his press releases and television ads that, if elected, he will be a fighter for Missouri. But when we have recently experienced an actual violent insurrection with hand-to-hand fighting at the US Capitol, Schmitt’s rhetoric is misguided and politically tone deaf.
Missourians don’t want to send a “fighter” to the Senate, there are plenty of combatants there already. Missourians are looking for a “healer” to bandage the nation’s wounds, to work across the aisle to get things done, and to protect our fragile democracy.
That healer is Trudy Busch Valentine who, upon taking office, will be the first nurse ever elected to the U.S. Senate.
Having closely followed the Missouri senate race, I have concluded, like many Missourians, that her opponent, Eric Schmitt, uses poor judgment, cannot be trusted, and is too extreme for Missouri. These are disqualifying character traits.
Schmitt has undermined our elections
In December, 2020, Schmitt abused his position as state Attorney General by filing a baseless challenge to overturn the presidential election results. He perpetuated the fiction that Joe Biden was not the legitimately elected president. His case was promptly dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Schmitt has become a one man wrecking ball undermining our democratic system of self government. He threw open the door to political warfare in which no lie, no tactic, no baseless claim is off-limits. He sowed doubt about election outcomes so they will no longer be accepted by many Americans. Schmitt has helped to create a dangerous army of election deniers that moves the nation closer to political violence.
Schmitt sacrificed the health and safety of Missouri’s children on the altar of ambition.
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he sued local governments, as well as 47 school boards over mask requirements.
These MAGA-minded actions were made during the Republican primary to gain the support of his party’s extremist base. In doing so he unwittingly confirmed he is, in fact, an extremist himself. Like a true friend of the virus, Schmitt’s behavior put a lower value on protecting human life than he did to placate the extremists in his party.
We will never know how many of Missouri’s 1.68 million COVID illnesses and almost 22,000 deaths are attributed to Schmitt’s senate campaign-driven attacks on efforts to keep Missourians safe. But studies indicate schools without mask requirements were 350 per cent more likely to experience an outbreak of COVID than schools with a requirement.
Schmitt’s involvement in the Jan.6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol
As Vice Chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), Schmitt oversaw the spending of $150,000 to make robocalls encouraging Republicans to come to Washington to “Stop the Steal,” falsely alleging the presidential election had been stolen from Trump.
RAGA’s leading role in providing support to the violent mob that stormed the Capitol resulted in loss of life and injuring 150 police officers.
Schmitt Criticized the Dept. of Justice for enforcing the Espionage Act
The Department of Justice secured a search warrant from a federal judge to search former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Largo residence. It turned up 20 boxes of government documents—many with Top Secret markings—that Trump had illegally taken when he left office.
Schmitt, in an effort to gain the support of MAGA extremists, decided to shoot first and ask questions later as he immediately, without knowing the facts, criticized the FBI search. Schmitt declared as a senator, “I’ll take a wrecking ball to this overtly political DOJ…” So much for being a “law and order” candidate.
Schmitt opposes all abortions, no exceptions
Allowing some legal abortions is a major issue facing voters this year. A recent Saint Louis University/YouGov poll shows Missouri voters share a broad consensus on this issue. They overwhelming support legal abortions in cases of rape, incest, and when the woman’s life is endangered.
These survey results emphasize a significant difference between Trudy and her opponent. Trudy’s position is consistent with the views of Missouri voters. Schmitt’s extreme position of opposing all abortions with no exceptions is clearly out of step with Missouri voters.
Democracy is on the ballot
The overarching challenge to our nation is whether or not we will continue to live in a democracy. Regardless of where we live or what party we have supported in the past, we must have free and fair elections, our leaders must uphold the Constitution, the rule of law and safeguard the freedoms and responsibilities we share.
Young children in Missouri have the most riding on your vote. They rely on us grown-ups to love them, to teach them and give them guidance. We also have a responsibility—like our parents provided us—to protect and strengthen our democracy, to assure that every generation, from innocent toddlers to doting grandparents, will have a U.S. Senator who will protect them, maintain our liberty and freedoms, and secure our nation.
Trudy will be such a senator. Her life has been devoted to serving with compassion those in need of care. Her views are Missouri mainstream. She is ready to nurse our broken nation back to health.
Eric Schmitt, has failed Missourians. He cares more about his political career than the health of their children. He gives voice to election deniers and their Big Lie that has eroded confidence in our democracy, and created a toxic political culture that has recently exploded into political violence.
Schmitt uses poor judgment.
He cannot be trusted.
He is too extreme for Missouri.
Tom Coleman is a former eight term Republican Member of Congress from Missouri