So much for Governor Tony Evers playing the nice guy.
Republican legislative leaders lashed out Wednesday at Democratic Gov. Tony Evers after his staff secretly recorded a May 14 phone conversation over how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic the day after the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s stay-at-home order.
The recording and the reaction to it all but ensures a permanently broken relationship between Evers and Republicans who control the Legislature. The two sides have rarely gotten along since Evers was elected in 2018 and Wednesday’s episode was characterized by GOP leaders as unprecedented.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau called the recording “Nixonesque.” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called it “shameful.”
Don’t worry, Evers has a great excuse.
Evers’ spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, said the governor was not aware of the recording and instructed his staff not to do it again.
“This conversation was supposed to be about a potential path forward on a statewide approach to the COVID-19 crisis in our state following the Republican lawsuit to overturn the Safer At Home order,” Baldauff said in a statement. “The recording was intended for internal use only to inform detailed note taking and planning next steps. This was not intended for release to the media or anyone else, however, we were obligated to comply with the open records law to release these records once they were requested.”
Evers’ team recorded the May 14 conversation also to make sure they had an accurate account of what happened because Republicans and Democrats have publicly disagreed over how past meetings had gone, according to those close to Evers.
I’m sorry, we secretly recorded this meeting for note taking purposes, and then we leaked damaging portions of it to the media, but we had no idea we were going to do that, our motives are entirely pure, and we’ve constructed this narrative of the process to convince you of that.
Nixon’s people were a whole lot more convincing than that.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said someone in the Evers administration should lose their job over the recording.
“If no one in the administration loses their job over this, it’ll be a clear indication that this secretive taping was an order from the very top,” he tweeted.
Of course it is.