NJ.com caught Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) pushing the trigger:

Speaking inside the Hoboken University Medical Center emergency room, Menendez said today a modified public option could draw support from U.S. Sens. Bill [sic - should be Ben] Nelson (D-Neb.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who announced their opposition to the elements of the bill over the weekend.

Menendez suggested adding a so-called trigger clause, which would only put the public option into effect if certain conditions are not met in the future. These conditions could include expanded competition in the marketplace or a decrease in insurance premium costs.

“There are other public options possible,” Menendez said. “They have only said they oppose the public option in its current version.”

First of all this is simply not true about Joe Lieberman. He has stated that he will oppose a public option and even opposes the trigger.

The trigger is not a modification of the public option. It is not like a public option. It does not serve the same function as a public option. It is the same as simply having no public option at all.

The trigger will be designed to make sure it is never pulled, so there will never be a public option. That is the only reason senators who are threatening to kill any bill that contains a public option will support the idea of a trigger. They know supporting a trigger is the same as dropping the public option all together.

Let’s make this clear for Sen. Menedez. Supporting a “trigger” is no different than supporting the elimination of the public option. The progressive base will not be fooled. The trigger is a worthless piece of theater; its only function is to trick the American people. If you want to drop the public option, don’t use some silly gimmick like the trigger to lie to your consituents. If Menedez really supports a public option, he should push for one of the ways to get the public option with a simple majority vote.