Letter to the editor: Former Frelinghuysen staffer sounds off

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.)
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.)

Editor’s note: The author asked to share this letter to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.)  It does not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.

Dear Rodney,

As a student of history, I have long been vexed by the motivations for those who could’ve stopped Hitler and did not. The countless politicians, industry leaders and military officials who stood in his way and then just casually stepped aside allowing him to perpetrate war crimes on a scale that western civilization had not seen up to that point and lead the world into the most destructive war in human history. 

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.)
The author says his former boss, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), has ‘turned a blind eye towards fascism.’

Was it callousness, anger, hatred, stupidity that motivated them to not say or do anything to stop him?

After observing the actions by you and your fellow members of Congress since Jan. 21, it has become very evident that it is not any of these reasons that causes supposedly good people to turn a blind eye towards fascism. It’s cowardice. Cowardice by those elected to serve all the citizens not just the ones who voted for them. 

I’ve watched you tell high school students that you “haven’t come around to gay marriage being legal yet.” I watched you avoid answering questions about controversial issues like abortion, immigration and almost any other issue with the slightest hint of controversy surrounding it. I thought that the depths of your cowardice ran only that deep.

To watch you stand by idly as Trump signs executive order after executive order marginalizing the most vulnerable in our society…

To observe you say nothing to the constant race-baiting and hate that were hallmarks of his presidential campaign…

To read your e-newsletters where you discuss how Republicans can finally accomplish their legislative goals now they have complete power and then do nothing to speak up when the President subverts the constitutional powers of the legislature by passing unconstitutional executive orders in violation of the basic rights established in the Bill of Rights…

These show that your cowardice runs even deeper than I could have imagined. 

The names of people who enabled fascists throughout history are known not for the tax reforms they passed, the budgets they helped create or the other legislative deals they helped craft. They are remembered in history as those whose personal ambition, cowardice and spinelessness caused them to stand by and do nothing to stop the march of dictators.

Names like von Papen and Chamberlain. People who could’ve been barriers and yet did nothing. In 25 years, when the history books are written do you think your legacy is going to be any different if you don’t stand up to your fellow Republican Donald Trump and his policies? 

I once spoke with pride of working for a United States Congressman. Now I am embarrassed to even tell people I worked for you and crafted your schedule to help you get re-elected time after time.

At the end of the day it is pitiful to think I once worked for a Congressman who can’t even stand up in the face of fascism because of the fear of losing his cushy seat.

I can promise you that I will work tirelessly over the next two years to ensure that a new representative, who actually speaks up for the ideals that this country was founded on, is occupying the Congressional seat for the 11th district in 2018. 


Daniel Johnson
Former District Scheduler 
11th Congressional District

Morristown resident Daniel Johnson was a scheduler for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) from 2012-2013. He works as a photographer and is a member of NJ 11th for Change.

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  1. Democrats need to stop considering Frelinghuysen as a “safe seat” and nominate a strong candidate with adequate resources to fight a real campaign in the 11th district. With two no name candidates and no visible campaign, Frelinghuysen only got less than 60% of the vote. Imagine what would happen if he had to Tina real campaign?

  2. Other than naming post offices and proclaiming he is for the environment Frelinghusen has done nothing for NJ In his 24 years in office.He was selected because of family name and slavish obedience to the GOP. This can be confirmed by Google search.

  3. Thank you for this excellent piece, Mr. Johnson. I have lived in Congressman Frelinghuysen’s district for most of my life (excluding only my college and grad school years), but I have never felt represented by him. He tap dances around issues that show the slightest inclination for controversy, and he toes the Republican line like a trained puppy. I don’t know if he really agrees with the conservative side of his party, but he certainly does not stand up to them. Speaking with him, he comes off as level headed and compassionate. But his policy decisions do not reflect that. They are simply the decisions of a man who would rather not make waves, even if he should–even if he himself may disagree with the party. Ultimately, he will just do what his party tells him to do, whether or not it is for the good of his constituency; whether or not he even agrees with it. He has been protected in his seat both by being the son of a popular representative and by representing a rather wealthy area, whose cares and woes are not representative of the majority. He’s not bombastic. He doesn’t draw attention to himself. He shows up to district events, if briefly (though I don’t know that he holds many town hall meetings–he does the social circuit though). He is just quietly our lifelong congressman. That is why so few question whether he really should be our representative. He seems harmless and moderate enough–how bad could he be? Just look at his voting record. We are now in the Trump era and he must be stronger. He’s glided along, almost (and sometimes actually) unopposed. I will continue to write letters and call his office. Thank you again for this Letter to the Editor.

  4. Fools, one and all for responding to this opinion piece as if it were factually correct. Sorry, but it’s got a lot of alternative facts in it.

  5. ITA with the author of this thoughtful letter, and I, too, will work hard to help someone replace Frelinghuysen, just as I volunteered on Mark Dunec’s campaign a few years ago. Felinghuysen and other Repubs who mostly go along with tRump’s evil, divisive, poorly planned and poorly implemented agenda are afflicted with more than cowardice. They are power-hungry. They are so intent on ensuring Republican control of all 3 branches of government that they would sell their souls to the devil to achieve that goal. That is precisely what they’ve done. The party that flaunts its religiousness is in bed with the devil. A pox on their House.

  6. Our country is being damaged and degraded by President Bannon and his ilk. However there will be consequences for the republican brown-nosers.

  7. It’s always self serving politicians that think of the party before the people he’s just a rubber stamp.you complain about Obamacare but offer nothing you talk about taxes and offer nothing you talk about jobs but offer nothing well now you are nothing to the people of Morris county.

  8. He’s never had a real job. He’s never cared about his constituents. And he doesn’t need the job. Let’s get him out now!

  9. Thank you so much for your brave letter. I hope your desire for public service has not been squashed by this bad experience. I have recently been redistricted into the 11th, but at the outset I was optimistic — this is the district that sent Millicent Fenwick to office, after all. But unlike Fenwick, Frelinghuysen seems to just vote the party line. So disappointing. This is not the time to be represented by a milquetoast.

  10. To replace Cong. Frelinghuysen either of two things need to happen. Or both:
    1) Take back Trenton completely and re-draw the gerrymandered districts to more fairly represent the state’s political divisions. The Congressman deliberately ignores his constituents who didn’t vote for him.
    2) Get 11th District citizens whom he doesn’t represent fired up. Identify the demographic groups that are neither registered nor vote and convince them that the Congressman will never do anything for them, but how the our candidate will. We’re not going to convince the mainstream Republicans or the red hats so don’t bother, but there are lots of people who don’t vote who should. Enough to take back the seat

  11. RF is a coward and he has been allowed to slip his way into reelection by doing nothing. Not this time. I , too, will be working tirelessly to defeat him. He has taken advantage of the good will of the people.

  12. Dear District 11 Republicans: I know you hate taxes and all New Jerseyians hate their absurdly high tax bill. I know how high they are. However, Property Taxes have more to do with your town and state governments, not the US Congress. Think about things other than taxes. Please, there is more to life than our bank accounts.