While nearly all of Wednesday’s impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump involved the House impeachment managers making their case against Trump, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah made himself the focus at the very end when he tried to claim a story about Trump accidentally calling him while trying to reach Tommy Tuberville is not true.
There are a few problems with this, chief among them being that he’s already on the record confirming the Trump story to Deseret News.
“Statements were attributed to me moments ago by the House impeachment managers,” Lee complained breathlessly at the end of the day’s session. “Statements relating to the content of conversations between a phone call involving President Trump and Senator Tuberville were not made by me, they’re not accurate, and they’re contrary to fact.”
He didn’t go into further detail, but it’s not clear what specifically he was objecting to. It stands to reason that if the report that the House managers were quoting from was inaccurate, Lee would have objected to that report when it was published a month ago.
It didn’t end up mattering — Rep. Raskin withdrew the bit from the record because it didn’t actually matter that much anyway.
The Mike Lee Tantrum of 2021 continues as he does everything he can to not have his words used to reflect negatively on Trump pic.twitter.com/n5lnEgrofm
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) February 11, 2021
Still, the bewildering tantrum Lee threw left a lot of viewers wondering what exactly he was so mad about. And a bunch of folks are suggesting that maybe the Democrats should follow up on this by calling Lee as a witness during Trump’s impeachment trial to sort this whole thing out.
And yet others have speculated that Lee seemed scared that this bit would anger Trump’s violent supporters. Trump’s call to Tuberville was a plea to delay the certification of the Electoral College vote, and Lee confirming that on the record might cause the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol to take aim at him like they have with Mike Pence.
Whatever the case, Mike Lee quickly became the top trend on Twitter in the United States for his tantrum. See a sampling of the responses do his display below.
Republican Mike Lee says something attributed to him is not accurate, but he won't actually say what's not accurate.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 11, 2021
Unclear which statements Mike Lee is disputing. Lee's office confirmed at the time that he received calls from Trump and Giuliani intended for Tuberville… and the managers played the voicemail from Giuliani.
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) February 11, 2021
Sen. Mike Lee seems more scared that the quote attributed to him, which seems very critical of Trump, than he was of the mob that nearly killed a couple of his colleagues. #ImpeachmentTrial
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) February 11, 2021
Okay then, put Mike Lee under oath.
— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) February 11, 2021
The really notable thing was how panicked Mike Lee seemed about doing *anything* that seemed less than utterly submissive to Trump.
— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) February 11, 2021
I like that Mike Lee thinks a misattributed quote will damage his place in history more than his blind obedience to Trump.
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) February 11, 2021
If we actually want to figure out what happened Mike Lee can testify under oath. Not hard.
— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) February 11, 2021
Wait, what part of the (recorded) phone call story is Mike Lee denying? That he's the source?
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) February 11, 2021
Sounds like we should get Mike Lee under oath and sort this all out.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) February 11, 2021
Apparently, Mike Lee wants to be sworn under oath to be a witness. OK!
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) February 11, 2021
Mike Lee’s tantrum was the equivalent of turning on a light on a cockroach. A lot of frantic skittering. Still a cockroach.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) February 11, 2021
Mr. Mulligan Senator Mike Lee is having a meltdown. Pathetic and desperate.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 11, 2021
If Mike Lee thinks he was misquoted, then he could be called as a witness to testify under oath.
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 11, 2021