Rosie O’Donnell is facing a backlash after offering, via Twitter, to pay U.S. senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake $2 million each in exchange for their “no” vote on the Republican tax bill which appears headed toward passage in Congress.
The outspoken liberal used the rationale that “they have been paid obviously,” implicitly charging that some “yes” votes on the bill are a result of lobbying and donations from special interest groups and that, accordingly. she would “happily” pay anyone who’s willing to change their vote. “I promise to give 2 million dollars to senator susan collins and 2 million to senator jeff flake if they vote NO,” she tweeted. “NO I WILL NOT KILL AMERICANS FOR THE [SUPER] RICH.”
She then reached out to Collins directly, asking her to “redeem [her] soul” and tagging a picture of her family.
Collins and Flake have supported the sweeping tax bill despite previously expressing reservations and their frequent opposition to President Trump. Collins was previously instrumental in the defeat of the Senate’s effort to repeal Obamacare, voting “no” with John McCain and Lisa Murkowski. The tax bill, which is deeply unpopular per recent polls and predominantly favors the wealthy, is expected to be approved in the house on Wednesday after it narrowly passed the Senate on Tuesday evening.
O’Donnell, who currently stars in the Showtime series SMILF, faced a backlash from conservatives on social media, some of whom even suggested she was in violation of the law for seemingly attempting to bribe an elected official. “Rosie actually broke the law with the tweet itself,” conservative writer Ben Shapiro argued, setting off a firestorm. “Attorney General Sessions, get cracking!”
Per the New York Daily News, it is not immediately clear whether O’Donnell violated the bribery statute with her tweets, and the FBI neither confirmed nor denied any investigations.
On Wednesday, in the wake of the backlash, O’Donnell retweeted several people defending her comments as either comic or unserious in nature.
The text from 18 USC §201(b) reads as follows: