On Monday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest suggested that Republican members of Congress were partly to blame for the death of a San Francisco girl by an illegal immigrant, yet his comments have been completely ignored by the “Big Three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) networks.
Instead of reporting on Earnest’s comments attacking the GOP, the networks have chosen to focus their attention on Donald Trump’s reaction to the horrific murder and how the Republican is “driving a wedge” into the GOP.
During his daily White House press briefing, Earnest argued that “it’s because of the political efforts of Republicans that we have not been able to make the kind of investment that we’d like to make in securing our border and keeping our community safe,” yet those comments have yet to make it on the network airwaves.
On Monday, NBC Nightly News used the murder by an illegal immigrant to play up how Trump “seized upon” the story to promote his stance on illegal immigration which has caused problems for Republican Party “desperate to win Latino voters.”
The network peddled a similar theme on Tuesday’s Today with Peter Alexander highlighting how “Trump has seized on the random shooting death of 32 year-old Kate Steinle.” The NBC reporter also made sure to point out how “Trump has quickly divided the Republican Party, desperate to win back Latino voters. Just 27% supported Mitt Romney's failed campaign in 2012, down from 40% for George Bush in 2004.”
CBS Evening News on Monday chose to focus exclusively on the murder of the young girl without injecting politics into its coverage but on Tuesday’s CBS This Morning reporter John Blackstone couldn’t resist bringing up Trump:
Steinle’s death has now been taken up by Donned Trump to support his controversial statements about Mexican immigrants and crime. The presidential candidate claims “Steinle's killer was forced back into the united States because they didn't want him in Mexico.”
Prior to Josh Earnest’s attack on the GOP on Monday, ABC’s Good Morning America had no problem using Trump’s controversial comments on immigration to play up the rift between him and other Republican presidential candidates.
From reporter Tom Llamas:
Claiming the tragic murder of Katherine Steinle in San Francisco only proves his point, lashing out at fellow Republican Marco Rubio who had called Trump's stance offensive and inaccurate. "What do you say to the family of Kathryn Steinle," he writes on Twitter. "Killed because we can't secure our own border." Nearly every Republican candidate has now distanced themselves, many openly condemning Trump's claim.
ABC, like CBS and NBC ignored Earnest’s comments on Monday’s World News and the network provided zero coverage of the San Francisco murder on Tuesday morning.
See relevant transcript below.
HODA KOTB: Now moving to politics and Donald Trump doubling down on his controversial comments on immigration as the Republican presidential candidate's empire takes yet another blow. NBC national correspondent Peter Alexander has the latest on that. Good morning, Peter.
PETER ALEXANDER: Hey, Hoda, good morning to you. Donald Trump is now dismissing the latest company to cut ties with him, that’s ESPN, after ESPN announced it’s gonna move an upcoming celebrity golf event away from one of Trump's courses. “Not a big deal,” that's what Trump said, as he spoke out again on this issue now driving a wedge into the Republican Party. At a charity golf event Monday night, Donald Trump teed off again on illegal immigration.
DONALD TRUMP: We're talking about crime. You saw what happened the other day with the young lady in San Francisco. It's a disgrace.
ALEXANDER: Trump has seized on the random shooting death of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, killed while walking along San Francisco’s Embarcadero with her father last week. The alleged attacker, a convicted felon, who federal officials say had been deported to Mexico five times. In a jailhouse interview, Francisco Sanchez said he didn't remember what happened, but didn't dispute that police said he did it. In a lengthy new statement, Trump insisted Steinle's shooting was “merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States.” Later he added, “Infectious disease is pouring across the border.”
TRUMP: They're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.
ALEXANDER: And in that statement, Trump argued his controversial comments about undocumented immigrants are being “deliberately distorted.” Trump has quickly divided the Republican Party, desperate to win back Latino voters. Just 27% supported Mitt Romney's failed campaign in 2012, down from 40% for George Bush in 2004.
GEORGE PATAKI: I am willing to debate you here in New Hampshire mano-a-mano anytime on the issue of immigration.
ALEXANDER: Late Monday, Trump also insisted someone else besides him retweeted a message about rival Jeb Bush that said “Bush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.” Bush’s wife is Mexican-American. Still, the billionaire whose comments have catapulted him to second place in recent Republican polls says he isn't backing down.
TRUMP: The polls are testament, you see what's happening, and now they say I'm going even higher. So I think the polls – the country is fed up.
ALEXANDER: He’s still defiant. This morning The Washington Post reports that many of the workers building Trump’s newest luxury hotel right here under construction in Washington, D.C. by a contractor, say they're undocumented workers who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in search of a new life. A Trump spokeswoman told the paper that Trump's company and its contractors follow all applicable laws. Matt and Hoda?
KOTB: Wow. This story keeps unfolding. Peter Alexander, thanks so much.