CNN This Morning host Phil Mattingly had Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) on Tuesday morning’s program to discuss several different issues, notably the recent anti-Semitic statements from Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). Together they lamented Republicans calling out Democrats and tried to tie the anti-Semitic comments from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to House Republicans despite him running for president as a Democrat.
Mattingly introduced the subject by asking Slotkin about Jayapal and “the statement that she made about Israel being a racist nation.”
Slotkin responded by complaining about the “inflammatory rhetoric” that she had seen on Capitol Hill recently about Israel, with both Jayapal’s and Kennedy’s statements. She refused to identify Kennedy at first, only referring to the “crazy inflammatory statements” that had been made by “someone who has been invited to testify in front of Jim Jordan and the Judiciary Committee.”
Mattingly was the one who put the name to the person when he asked specifically about Kennedy’s invitation to testify from Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), seeming to think that this invitation linked them together in an anti-Semitic ideology somehow.
He said that, despite McCarthy’s statement that he disagreed with Kennedy’s opinion on the matter, “there’s a difference between censoring somebody and inviting them to testify at a hearing,” and asked Slotkin if the Republicans were not as “uneasy” about Kennedy’s statement as they should have been.
The assumption that McCarthy and the other House Republicans agreed with Kennedy simply because they had invited him for a testimony in a case is an absurd assumption. It would be like assuming that Jack Smith or any other investigator for the January 6th hearings agreed with Trump simply because they had some of his supporters there to testify in the case.
However, getting straight to the point, Slotkin said that they didn’t seem to be concerned, “which is part of the problem”:
No, which is a part—part of the problem. And when they're—when they're screaming and pointing at the other side because of perceptions of, you know, speech that didn't—that don’t—wasn't right, you—you sort of say well, guys, just—just have an even, balanced hand with it. If you're gonna call out something on one side, call it out in your own caucus as well.
She then began to lay blame on Republicans for “how broken Congress is,” because of their refusal to denounce their “nasty rhetoric” by saying, “well, if it’s my side it’s okay, but if it’s the other side it’s, like, the end of the world.”
It would be awfully nice if Slotkin and the rest of the Democratic Party were able to take this advice themselves, especially since the latest examples of anti-Semitism were coming from them.
Transcript of the segment below (click Expand):
CNN This Morning
7:41:51 AM ET
PHIL MATTINGLY: Another issue that's going on this week in the House, the issue of Israel has come up. It has been an issue that has often fractured your caucus to some degree. Not right down the middle, there’s—it's a smaller segment on one side.
But I guess my question is, right now, one, do you believe Congresswoman Jayapal has done enough in terms of kind of walking back the statement that she made about Israel being a racist nation?
And two, there's going to be a vote proposed by—a r—a resolution introduced by a Republican today basically stating that. Are you going to vote for that? Do you believe that that's problematic for your caucus, for your party?
REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): So, you know, I—it seems like every week when we come back over the—from the weekend, there's just a lot of inflammatory rhetoric that's just being thrown around, that, sort of, leaders often forget that people are watching, and they take their cues—leadership climate is set at the top.
So I obviously didn't agree with Representative Jayapal's statements. She walked them back. We also had some crazy inflammatory statements yesterday about the connection between COVID-19 and Jewish people from someone who has been invited to testify in front of Jim Jordan and the Judiciary Committee.
So I put out something that just said, like, can we just cool it on the rhetoric? She apologized. She called and reached out to me. And we have a statement—or that we're gonna—or a resolution that we're voting on. It's very simple. It's three paragraphs. It's about support for Israel. So I'll be voting for it.
But everyone just needs to tone it down on Capitol Hill because the whole country is watching and taking their cues from us.
MATTINGLY: You make an interesting point, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was invited to testify to a judiciary select subcommittee on Thursday.
Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House, was asked yesterday, look, if this is the issue, if antisemitism or concerns about antisemitism is an issue, how are you plausibly going to have Robert Kennedy come testify? And he responded, "I disagree with everything he said," telling reporters, "but I don't think censoring is—somebody is actually the answer here."
MATTINGLY: What I—I guess what I'm trying to figure out is, there's a difference between censoring somebody and inviting them to testify at a hearing. Have you had any indication that Republicans are uneasy about that testimony on Thursday?
SLOTKIN: No, which is a part—part of the problem. And when they're—when they're screaming and pointing at the other side because of perceptions of, you know, speech that didn't—that don’t—wasn't right, you—you sort of say well, guys, just—just have an even, balanced hand with it. If you're gonna call out something on one side, call it out in your own caucus as well.
And that's a good lesson for everybody in Congress. I think it's a signal of how broken Congress is, that we just don't, sort of, have that even hand and say, nasty rhetoric should be pushed back on no matter who it is. We—we basically say, well, if it's my side it's okay, but if it's the other side it's, like, the end of the world.
And this is just a part and parcel of just how tense and—and sort of, zero-sum the whole debate has become, and—and it's not what the country wants, likes, deserves. It's just—it's exhausting for the country.