In the aftermath of the anti-Republican group, the Lincoln Project, having some of its dirty laundry exposed to the public, MSNBC host Brian Williams has been sneaky in quietly cutting back references to the group on his The 11th Hour show, without ever bothering to inform MSNBC viewers of the scandalous behavior of group members.
Before revelations that came more out into the open over the month of January that Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver allegedly sexually harassed dozens of young men and boys over the years, and that his colleagues had been warned of his behavior, Williams frequently had members of the group as guests and sometimes gave free airtime to the group's ads attacking President Donald Trump or Republicans.
The MSNBC host was such a fanboy that, in December, he made sure to mark the one-year anniversary of the organization's founding by a group of disaffected former Republicans.
Between early December and January 26, guests who were affiliated with the Lincoln Project appeared on at least 13 different episodes of the show, and included MSNBC contributors Steve Schmidt and Michael Steele, as well as former Republican strategist Rick Wilson. Stuart Stevens and Tom Nichols also each made an appearance. Williams made sure to tout his guest's Lincoln Party affiliation each time.
But, since January 27, Steele is the only member of the group who has continued to show up on The 11th Hour, and, what's more, Williams stopped mentioning the former RNC chairman's involvement with the group as if a light switch flipped off between January 26 and January 27.
Between September 23 and January 14, Steele notably made eight appearances on the show, and was typically identified by Williams or his fill-in host as a "senior advisor" for the Lincoln Project. But, in the four appearances he has made on the show between January 27 and Friday, February 12, Steele's affiliation with the scandal-plagued group has not been mentioned.
The last time a Lincoln Project guest was labeled as such on the show, Williams notably had obnoxiously suggested that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and other Republican defenders of President Trump were "sniveling cowards" as he spoke with Schmidt on the January 26 show: "Donald Trump has vanished -- has vanished from sight -- he has vanished from Twitter -- out of sight, out of mind in all but MAGA nation. Why, then, does he only seem to live on in the minds and hearts of the sniveling cowards?"
The last time Williams linked Steele to the Lincoln Project was on January 14 when the MSNBC host was not shy about including a list of activities on Steele's resume to introduce him: "Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee; former lieutenant governor of Maryland; these days the host of The Michael Steele Podcast; and a senior advisor for the Lincoln Project."
By contrast, on Friday's show, Williams introduced Steele as "former chairman of the Republican National Committee, former lieutenant governor of Maryland -- he is also the host of The Michael Steele Podcast."
Williams has even used his show to give free airtime to the anti-Republican group's ads. On January 14, he lamented that the Lincoln Project is still needed because "villains outnumber heroes" before closing the program by showing a full ad attacking Republican Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz.
On November 19, he also showed a full ad attacking several potential Republican presidential candidates for being pro-Trump.
But, in recent weeks, references to the group on his show have all but disappeared without viewers ever being informed of any of the recent shameful revelations against the anti-Republican organization.
Friday's episode of The 11tth Hour with Brian Williams was sponsored in part by Horizon Fitness. Their contact information is linked.
Relevant transcripts follow:
The 11th Hour with Brian Williams
January 26, 2021
SENATOR RAND PAUL (R-KY): They don't have the votes to convict. We had 45 people -- 45 Republican Senators -- say that the whole charade is unconstitutional. So what does that mean? It means that impeachment, the trial, is dead on arrival. There will be a show, there will be a parade of partisanship, but the Democrats really will not be able to win.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Ladies and gentlemen, Rand Paul. With 45 Senate Republicans voting to dismiss Donald Trump's impeachment trial, the New York Times reports it this way tonight, and we quote: "The overwhelming level of Republican support exceeded what almost anyone was expecting."
Well, back with us once again this evening is Jason Johnson, campaign veteran, journalist, contributor to the Grio, professor of politics at Morgan State University; and Steve Schmidt, long-time strategist who led John McCain's '08 campaign, has since left the party. He's among the founders of the Lincoln Project, which set out to defeat Trump and Trumpism.
And, Steve, you are where I'm going to start. Donald Trump has vanished -- has vanished from sight -- he has vanished from Twitter -- out of sight, out of mind in all but MAGA nation. Why, then, does he only seem to live on in the minds and hearts of the sniveling cowards?
January 14, 2021
BRIAN WILLIAMS: I hope you're sitting down. Axios is reporting today the GOP is still very much Donald Trump's party, and we quote, "House and Senate Republicans strongly believe Trump will remain a force in the party's 2022 and '24 races even if he were to be convicted in the forthcoming Senate trial and barred from holding federal office himself." Would you like proof? Here is Ohio Senator and profile in courage, Rob Portman -- formerly a dependable Bush Republican who handed over his Senate seat to Donald Trump -- he said today, "The attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attack on democracy, itself, and the President bears some responsibility for what occurred." He goes on, "If the Senate conducts an impeachment trial, among my considerations will be what is best to help heal our country rather than deepen our divisions." So says Rob Portman who has voted with Donald Trump close to 90 percent of the time.
Well, back with us tonight, John Heilemann, author, journalist, our national affairs analyst; co-host and executive producer of The Circus on Showtime -- which is thankfully back on the air -- also executive editor over at The Recount. Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee; former lieutenant governor of Maryland; these days the host of The Michael Steele Podcast; and a senior advisor for the Lincoln Project.
So, Michael, I was looking at the pictures tonight of Viceroy Pence -- the head of the military district of Washington -- reviewing the National Guard troops outside in the absence of a functioning President. And I was looking at the Rob Portman quote. and I'm sitting here wondering: "What Republicans are ready to take the Donald Trump training wheels off, put on their big boy and girl pants, and be a political party?"