'Democracy isn't the objective': Republican U.S. senator draws Democrats' ire

By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican US Senator Mike Lee was targeted by Democrats Thursday for tweeting "Democracy is not the goal" following the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
Prominent Democrats called his Twitter post a sign of creeping authoritarian tendencies in President Donald Trump's party. It wasn't immediately clear what started the tweet.
Lee, a Conservative who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and tested positive for COVID-19, tweeted several times during the Vice Presidential Debate at the University of Utah after welcoming Pence and Harris back to his home state.
"We are not a democracy," Lee tweeted once. Then, in the early hours of Thursday, came a lengthy message that was the most criticized: "Democracy is not the goal; freedom, peace and propspeciality are. We want the human constitution to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that." "
Democrats quickly linked Lee's remarks to the November election, in which Republicans run the risk of losing their Senate and White House majority.
"Dear @SenMikeLee, I realize that you were elected by the people of your state. America is a representative democracy. That means we are also a democracy," replied Democratic representative Ted Lieu on Twitter.
"But I really hope you can get @GOP to adopt your view as the campaign slogan. It's a real winner," he added.
Neera Tanden, a former Obama administration official who advised Democrats Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted, "Mike Lee is speaking out against democracy. If this isn't a warning of authoritarianism, I don't know what it is."
A Lee spokesman defended the senator by quoting President James Madison, one of the leaders of the American Revolution against the British monarchy, who later served as the country's fourth president.
Madison, who wrote extensively of the government as one of the authors of The Federalist Papers defending the then-new US Constitution, once wrote: "Democracies have ever been a spectacle of turmoil and strife, ever found incompatible with personal security or." the property rights. "
Drawn into the Senate by the Conservative Tea Party wave of 2010, Lee called on Republicans four years ago by telling Trump, the then Republican presidential candidate, to step down over his indecent talk on the Access Hollywood tape.
A Trump supporter since then, Lee strongly supports the President's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who is expected to be examined by the Senate Judiciary Committee starting Monday.
Lee's spokesman said lawmakers hit by COVID-19 are "feeling better every day ... and planning to attend Barrett's confirmation hearings".

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Howard Goller)
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