The liberal media for years has gone into hyperbolic overdrive whenever anything related to Trump or those within the MAGA wing of the GOP is brought up, and Tuesday afternoon’s panel on CNN’s Inside Politics With John King was no different, with King employing unusually harsh language as he described Republican candidates who continue to support Trump’s claims of election fraud as a “cancer.”
King began the segment by talking to CNN’s Melanie Zanona, who recently reported on the different reactions among Republicans to the January 6th hearings: “In millennial terms, this is the latest Trump loyalty test. Essentially, right? I mean, what's interesting is you talk to Republicans and they say they are not worried about these hearings breaking through to voters or impacting the midterms, but what they are concerned about is pleasing Donald Trump.”
After playing two Newsmax clips of Republican Congressmen attacking the January 6th Committee in general and Liz Cheney in particular, King read out statistics collected by The Washington Post, “Voters in places that cast ballots through the end of May have chosen at least 108 candidates for statewide office or Congress who have repeated Trump’s lies. This is a cancer in the Republican party.”
Refusing to concede an election for 588 days as of this writing is, to put it mildly, not a good look for Trump, and not exactly conducive to trusting elections in the long run. However, the term “cancer” implies a rapidly spreading disease that will ultimately kill the American system of government unless radical measures are taken. An illness perhaps, but is it one that requires a “political chemotherapy,” some sort of immediate and aggressive action as suggested by King’s metaphor?
King then went after Bill Stepien, whose testimony of telling Trump on election night that the odds of his reelection were incredibly slim — only for Trump to take the advice of an allegedly inebriated Rudy Giuliani and declare victory — was aired during Monday’s January 6th Hearing. King pointed out that Stepien’s firm is advising candidates in several races, “including Harriet Hageman who is Liz Cheney's opponent in Wyoming, Kelly Tshibaka is Murkowski's opponent in the Senate race in Alaska, and Ronny Jackson is Trump's former doctor at the White House who is running for reelection in Texas. All Big Lie supporters.”
NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe then chimed in, saying, “They are doing what benefits them. Now, whether that is sustainable for a democracy is a whole other thing, but it's probably working out just fine for Bill Stepien.”
It is true that Stepien’s company is supporting Congressional candidates who support Stop The Steal, and this very well might be a cynical move on Stepien’s part. But the core of Rascoe’s argument was, like King’s, that these actions will destroy the American government.
One has to wonder what the media’s coverage of this would be like if, for example, AOC or Ilhan Omar claimed that they were cheated out of an election. Would their litigation efforts be described as cancerous or unsustainable for democracy? Heck, Stacey Abrams’ claims of fraud in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial did nothing to dim her rising star in Democratic politics; if anything, it increased it. King gushed over Abrams for her 2019 State of the Union response.
The media has cried “wolf” one too many times, and they have degenerated to the point where even a legitimate concern is clouded by a mask of partisan hatred.
Click “Expand” to see the relevant transcript.
CNN’s Inside Politics With John King
12:48:19 PM ET
JOHN KING: The January 6th Committee hopes its hearings prompt a national reckoning for Donald Trump, but it is also spurring a race among some Republicans over who is most MAGA. CNN’s Melanie Zanona joins our conversation. This is your great reporting. You're probably too young to remember the old Saturday Night Live skit “Quien Es Mas Macho?”
MELANIE ZANONA: I'm sorry?
KING: Ricardo Montalbán or Lorenzo — oh, never mind. This is “Quien Es Mas MAGA?” Explain.
ZANONA: Hey ok, there we go. In millennial terms, this is the latest Trump loyalty test. Essentially, right? I mean, what's interesting is you talk to Republicans and they say they are not worried about these hearings breaking through to voters or impacting the midterms, but what they are concerned about is pleasing Donald Trump. And they have found that a surefire way to do that is to go out there on TV and on Twitter, and defend him and attack the Select Committee, attack Liz Cheney — one of his favorite targets. And that’s exactly what we’ve seen — I mean, essentially it's become a competition as to who can be the most MAGA and they're all jockeying to claim that mantle.
And when you really dig in about who’s leading the charge, they all have somewhat different political reasons for doing so, right? You have Kevin McCarthy, who wants to be speaker one day. You have Elise Stefanik and Jim Banks, who both want to have a potentially higher leadership position next year, and you have Ronny Davis who actually is facing a Trump-backed primary challenger at the end of this month after he voted to support the bipartisan Commission. So they all sort of have different reasons for trying to go this route.
KING: And there you have members of the leadership team who all want to move up even more and then, if that happens, there are openings in the sub-leadership, if you will, which is why you see rank and file Republicans who are on Team Trump saying it wherever they can find a place to say it.
[Cuts to clips]
RALPH NORMAN [On Newsmax’s The National Report, 06/13/22]: This is a sham of a dog and pony show that — um, this administration has put at the taxpayer's expense.
FRED KELLER [On Newsmax’s The National Report, 06/13/22]: : Liz Cheney’s just — uh, doing the work of Nancy Pelosi — uh, when they should actually be having prime time hearings on inflation, on gas prices.
[End of clips]
KING: Those are incumbent members of the United States Congress. Uh, Seung Min, your newspaper today, The Washington Post looked at this district by district, state by state. Voters in places that cast ballots through the end of May have chosen at least 108 candidates for statewide office or Congress who have repeated Trump’s lies. This is a cancer in the Republican party.
12:51:53 PM ET
KING: Well Bill Stepien was one of the witnesses yesterday, the campaign manager, who said I told the President on election night, votes aren't there, and the likelihood is maybe five or ten percent at most that we would get there. So you would think oh, he knows. He knows. So he would not support The Big Lie.
Well these are three candidates Bill Stepien’s firm are advising right now, including Harriet Hageman who is Liz Cheney's opponent in Wyoming, Kelly Tshibaka is Murkowski's opponent in the Senate race in Alaska, and Ronny Jackson is Trump's former doctor at the White House who is running for reelection in Texas. All Big Lie supporters. All this — so, again, even the people who know are not drawing a line saying I will not work for candidates who repeat this.
AYESHA RASCOE: Well, I mean, pretty much when he was in — you know, working for Donald Trump, there's always this deal where Trump will, you will — they will back Trump, and if he says something they don't like, they may behind the scenes go oh, this is wild, whatever. But as long as it benefits them, they will stick with him, and that's what they're doing in this case. That's what the Bill Stepiens of the world are doing.
Yes, like, they know that the election wasn’t stolen but they have a base that wants to hear that, that's eating that up. And so they're willing to go out and do what benefits them and support those candidates who are selling that same lie. They are doing what benefits them. Now, whether that is sustainable for a democracy is a whole other thing, but it's probably working out just fine for Bill Stepien.
JACKIE KUCINICH: Well, it is — and the candidates that he is helping —
RASCOE: Yes, yes.
KUCINICH: — are doing the exact same —
RASCOE: Yeah, yeah.
KUCINICH: — thing because they want a Trump endorsement in order — especially, I mean, the woman running against Cheney, she wanted extra leverage to try to defeat Liz Cheney. So it's just a perpetual cycle on that side that there hasn't been anyone who has been really able to break it.
KING: How about “I can't work for you if you're going to promote and propagate a lie that is a danger to democracy.” That hard?
KUCINICH: Uh, I — apparently it is for him.