Nets Revel In GOP Infighting, Tout Trump Targeting Freedom Caucus

Just before the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) went live on Thursday night, President Donald Trump unleashed on the principled conservatives of the House Freedom Caucus in his latest Twitter tirade. And as the networks came on the air, they were eating it all up. “President Trump with a tweet storm, naming names, after his failure on health care, ObamaCare still the law of the land,” hyped ABC Anchor David Muir on World News Tonight, “And President Trump is making it clear who he blames. Some conservative Republicans who did not vote for the president's plan.

The President today making a declaration of war in 140 characters or less. Going after some in his own party, those conservatives blamed for derailing health care,” flaunted Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega as she read from Trump’s tweets, “The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team and fast. We must fight them and Dems in 2018.”

Many in the Freedom Caucus made their way to Washington in the Tea Party tsunami during the first part of the Obama Administration. Ever since they returned the House of Representatives back over to Republican control, the liberal media have had them in their sights. And with Trump’s new threat of attempting to primary out the caucus, the networks were all hot and bothered at the prospect.

But today he declared political war on his ‘Friends,’” reported Chip Reid on CBS Evening News, “Reports say caucus member Mark Sandford was told the President wants someone to run against him in next year's Republican primary.

In an interview with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell, which aired earlier in the day, House Speaker Paul Ryan discussed how he didn’t like the President’s threats to seek aid from Democrats. “That prompted Tennessee Senator Bob Corker,” explained Reid as he smeared Republicans, “known for reaching across the aisle, to join the Republican circular firing squad, tweeting: ‘We have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges the president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem.’

While closing out his report, Reid mocked the predicament the Republican Party had found itself it. “Republican Ted Cruz said today, that ‘Republicans need to stop aiming their cannons at each other,’” he joked, “But Scott, apparently all it takes is an angry tweet from the President to set the Republicans' guns ablazin’.

On NBC Nightly News, reporter Kristen Welker seemed to almost praise the internal party scuffle, saying: “A source familiar with the President's thinking tells NBC News he's working to build a consensus of moderate Republicans and even eyeing some Democrats and he could make this fight very personal.

She also sat down with The Washington Post’s Robert Costs, who talked about Trump as though he was the heavyweight champion of the world. “They’re willing to send the President and his big plane to these Freedom Caucus districts. Trump’s not an ideologue and if you go against him, he has no reason not to turn against you,” he warned.

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All three highlighted a dis from Congressman Justin Amash aimed at the President. “It's constructive in fifth grade, but it may allow a child to get his way, but that's not how our government works,” he told a group of reporters while leaving the Capitol.

On ABC, Vega let Congressman Dave Brat speak directly to Trump. “He thinks we're a no. When we're trying to get him to yes on a bill that will help the Republicans and him,” he explained, “Yeah, he's great, you're great. We all ran on drain the swamp, we're going to provide a great product and we're on your side.”

Every one of the Big Three networks were excited at the opportunity to drive wedges between the factions of the “Big Tent.” This glee was completely absent during the 2016 Democratic primary and general election when they were openly harassing Senator Burnie Sanders to drop out and rally his supporters behind Hillary Clinton. But we did see this same wedge driving during the Republican primary. 

Transcripts below: 

ABC
World News Tonight
March 30, 2017
6:38:04 PM Eastern

DAVID MUIR: And this evening, just before we came on the air, President Trump with a tweet storm, naming names, after his failure on health care, ObamaCare still the law of the land. And President Trump is making it clear who he blames. Some conservative Republicans who did not vote for the president's plan. Is this a warning shot with the midterms next up? Here's ABC's Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega tonight.

[Cuts to video]

CECILIA VEGA: The President today making a declaration of war in 140 characters or less. Going after some in his own party, those conservatives blamed for derailing health care, tweeting, "The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team and fast. We must fight them and Dems in 2018." This threat to throw down in the midterm elections comes after the President said last week the loss taught him exactly who his friends are in Washington.

...

VEGA: Michigan Congressman Justin Amash tweeting, "It didn't take long for the swamp to drain Donald Trump" Others, more diplomatic. He's essentially threatening you guys come 2018. Where is the loyalty? That?

DAVID BRAT: Well, based on what he's hearing. He thinks we're a no. When we're trying to get him to yes on a bill that will help the Republicans and him.

VEGA: Virginia Congressman Dave Brat telling me today, he just wants the President to hear him out. You want to say something to him directly?

BRAT: Yeah, he's great, you're great. We all ran on drain the swamp, we're going to provide a great product and we're on your side.

...

...

CBS Evening News
March 30, 2017
6:36:36 PM Eastern

...

CHIP REID: Reports say caucus member Mark Sandford was told the President wants someone to run against him in next year's Republican primary. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told CBS This Morning’s Norah O’Donnell he's unhappy that Mr. Trump wants to work with Democrats to pass health care.

 

NORAH O’DONNELL: The president of the United States is saying he's going to work with Democrats on this.

PAUL RYAN: I know the President has been saying that. And I don’t want that to happen. You know why? Cause I want a patient-centered system. I don't want government running health care.

REID: That prompted Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, known for reaching across the isle to join the Republican circular firing squad, tweeting: “We have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges the president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem.”

[Cuts back to live]

REID: Republican Ted Cruz said today, that “Republicans need to stop aiming their cannons at each other.” But Scott, apparently all it takes is an angry tweet from the President to set the Republicans' guns ablazin’.

SCOTT PELLEY: Chip Reid at the capitol.

...

...

NBC Nightly News
March 30, 2017
7:06:55 PM Eastern

... 

KRISTEN WELKER: Tonight less than a week after praising conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus who rejected his ObamaCare repeal, President Trump now casting blame, intensifying his attacks in a new tweet this morning suggesting he might even back primary challengers. “The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team and fast. We must fight them and Dems in 2017.” But signs tonight that strategy is not getting those conservatives on board.

 

JUSTIN AMASH: Most people don't take well to being bullied. It may allow a child to get his way but that's not how our government works.

...

WELKER: Now new indications tonight the President is trying to bounce back. A source familiar with the President's thinking tells NBC News he's working to build a consensus of moderate Republicans and even eyeing some Democrats and he could make this fight very personal.

ROBERT COSTA: They’re willing to send the President and his big plane to these Freedom Caucus districts. Trump’s not an ideologue and if you go against him, he has no reason not to turn against you.

WELKER: Meanwhile tonight, former President George W. Bush reportedly sending his own message about the President. After watching Mr. Trump's inauguration speech, three people reported to the New York magazine and said “that was some weird [expletive.]”

[Cuts back to live]

WELKER: Late tonight, the President targeting three members of the Freedom Caucus on twitter including Chair Mark Meadows, a sign he isn't backing down from this new strategy.

...

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