Tapper Segment Questions Jewish Trump Supporters; Guests Offended by Calls for Prayer

Monday night’s OutFront saw fill-in host Jake Tapper anchor another off-the-rails segment hours after a disastrous installment of The Lead that saw GQ’s Julia Ioffe falsely claim that the President has radicalized more people than ISIS (which was followed over 40 minutes later by a measly apology). 

This time, it featured guests chastising public pleas for prayer, questioning Jewish Trump supporters, and, yes, blaming the President for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

 

 

The nuttiness began with The Nation’s Joan Walsh, who did her best to indirectly suggest that the President was anti-Semitic because he’s recently attacked The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol while continuing to criticize CNN and Tom Steyer even though they were mail bomb recipients.

Former Trump adviser Marc Short promptly called out Walsh, noting that Trump's daughter, son-in-law, and three of his grandchildren were Jewish, so “notions of calling the President anti-Semitic are over-the-top.”

Walsh denied that she was calling Trump anti-Semitic, except she used the liberal media’s favorite word in the past week (“but”) to then make the case that Trump has a hostility toward Jews and she’s seen “racist people hire black people.”

Not surprisingly, anti-Trump Republican Amanda Carpenter rallied to Walsh’s side. It was here that both Carpenter and The Daily Beast’s Jay Nicholson falsely tried to state they weren’t blaming Trump for last week’s violence even though they were (click “expand”):

CARPENTER: Two separate incidents, but it gets down to one huge concern, and that goes to Donald Trump's language and his associations. We saw what happened with the pipe bomber, with a person who believed Donald Trump when he said the press is the enemy of the people, and he acted on it. Donald Trump is not responsible for that man, but knowing that his words had that impact, will he retire that phrase now? Because what's to stop that from happening again?  And so, going-forward, knowing that his words caused that man to act, he is responsible, knowing that the Trump campaign played footsie and cozied up to the alt-right all through his campaign, which at its core is an anti-Semitic movement, anybody that spends five minutes in the internet, looking at their chat rooms can figure that out. Is he still going to send those coded signals to that community which gets them riled up? He's not responsible for what happened this week, but going forward, if he does not change and recognize the impact his words have, he will be. 

(....)

MICHAELSON: Well, I think it's strange we keep using the word responsible as though it's black and white. If you're a kid at a party and you spike the punch with a bunch of grain alcohol, are you responsible when some kid gets drunk and commits a DUI? I mean, you know that that's inevitable. President Trump has been playing with fire for years and his supporters have been playing a kind of devil's bargain. “Well, if we support him, we'll overlook the bad stuff.” Well, this is the cost. The bill has come due. When you play with fire, when you aggravate a situation like this, when you pander to white supremacists, and say, well, there's good people on both sides of a neo-Nazi rally, what do you expect that's going to happen? So, I think this focus on responsibility as though it's some kind of a legal case is maybe mistaken. You know, academics use this term stochastic terrorism, which is creating the conditions for a lone wolf, an evil person like Robert Bowers to act. That doesn't mean you're responsible for those actions, but it means you create those circumstances about.

As he did earlier, Short sought common ground by arguing that “all of us could be doing a better job” in maintaining respective discourse from the President on down, but his fellow panelists weren’t interested because they had a narrative to push.

Short astutely noted that too many people were placing faith in (flawed) human beings and not in God, but even Michaelson (who’s also a Rabbi) and Walsh weren’t interested (click “expand”):

SHORT: I also think that too often, we as a country we put our faith in our elected leaders and I think that the one who can help to heal our land, is the one in Second Chronicles said, if my people will humble themselves and face me and pray to me, I will heal their land and that's what our nation needs to be doing, is more praying as opposed to getting more involved in political pointing fingers. 

MICHAELSON: I'm sorry, isn't praying what the people in the synagogue were doing when they were gunned down —

SHORT: Absolutely.

MICHAELSON: — because President Trump says they should have an armed guard? I thought they were praying.

The former Trump official reiterated his point, but Walsh lashed out for invoking prayer because “a lot of people don’t” believe in God so it’s insensitive to push prayer when others want to place trust “in the goodness of one another” and elected leaders to guide them.

“So, to tell people to just pray because we have a man in the White House who can't find it within himself to do the decent thing and tone this down, that's really disrespectful, Marc. You didn't mean that,” Walsh added.

“It's disrespectful to encourage people to pray? Interesting,” Short replied. 

Naturally, Carpenter defended Walsh’s argument and insisted that it’s on the President to change.

Tapper went to Michaelson and decided to ask about the plausibility of Jewish people genuinely concerned about increasing security at their places of worship. Michaelson offered a disturbing response, lashing out at Jewish Trump supporters (click “expand”): 

Well, I think it's reasonable for synagogues to have security, obviously, but it's really a dodging of responsibility to say the victims should have had guns to fight someone with an AR-15, which, of course, is a weapon that shouldn't be on the streets in the first place, but, you know, a lot of Jewish Trump supporters have entered into that devil's bargain. They said, well, we'll put up with a little anti-Semitism in the movement, because after all, Donald Trump isn't anti-Semitic, and he's so good on Israel and so forth and that's why this is really a moment of reckoning for American Jews and for anyone who cares about prejudice in this country. 

Of course, Tapper and none of the panelists pushed back. Walsh got the next turn and condemned Kellyanne Conway lamenting the “anti-religiosity int his country” in light of the synagogue shooting. 

Short was ready to fire back, reemphasizing how Walsh was offended on behalf of non-religious Americans for Short talking about prayer (click “expand”)

WALSH: Kellyanne really outdid herself today. That is magnificent. That is just incredible spin. I mean, late night comedians. These people were not murdered by an anti-religious person. They were murdered by a crazy anti-Semite.  Bill Maher may mock every religion. He has never picked up a gun and murdered anyone. How does she sleep at night? How did she live with herself? That is preposterous and it's again, it's this dangerous deflection of responsibility, but, you know, thankfully, it's too stupid, honestly, to be believed. No one will fall for it. 

TAPPER: Marc, your response?

SHORT: Well, I think just a few minutes ago, I was encouraging prayer and Joan said she thought that was offensive to the agnostics and atheists in our country. 

WALSH: I did. 

SHORT: So, I think we see the evidence of it right here on your show.

WALSH: I'm not hostile to religion.

SHORT: It doesn't have to be Bill Maher. It's actually right here on your show.

WALSH: Are you kidding? 

SHORT: And I think there's a double standard when we talk about —

WALSH: Are you kidding? 

SHORT: — no, I'm being quite factual with the comments you just gave. 

WALSH: My comments contribute to an anti-religious atmosphere. I went to Catholic school. I'm a practicing Catholic. How dare you. How dare you, Marc Short?

SHORT: All I said, Joan, is that we should be encouraging people to pray, 

WALSH: You guys really —

SHORT: — and you said that was really offensive. 

WALSH: You really need to watch yourselves, that is offensive.

Carpenter again stood by Walsh and trashed Conway, by opining how people were living in fear thanks to insufficiently leadership from a tremendously flawed individual whose supporters viciously attacked her.

Michaelson had the last word and again tied Trump to the synagogue shooting:

It’s beyond offensive. The notion that this was — I don't know how much more explicit a terrorist has to be than Robert Bowers, saying explicitly why he's carrying this out, lies about a migrant caravan, lies about Jewish involvement. These are lies that are in Trump's movement and it really goes to show, you know, anti-Semitism and Trumpian nationalism, it's a package deal. You can't have one without the other and that's exactly — that's why I think as a rabbi, what I would like to hear the President say is an apology. 

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront on October 29, click “expand.”

CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront
October 29, 2018
7:37 p.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: Joan, let me start with you, the White House argument is that the attacks on him have not stopped. Tom Steyer was on my show yesterday, had some very harsh things to say. Congressman Adam Schiff had some very harsh things to say. Their argument, why should he unilaterally disarm? 

JOAN WALSH: Because he is the President, Jake, I know you know that, we expect more from the President and I also have to say, you know, on a day like today, he wakes up, and he calls us once again enemies of the people, and now we get a third pipe bomb addressed to CNN. He did not do it. It's solely the bomber's responsibility, but he can't hold back for even a few days. Right after — Tom Steyer got a pipe bomb. He had some sharp words for the President. He can't hold back from Tom Steyer, on the day when more Jews were massacred in Pittsburgh in the entire history of our country. That same day, he decides to attack a very prominent Jewish conservative, Bill Kristol, by name. He cannot stop himself and, therefore, the criticism won't stop either. It's our job. 

TAPPER: Marc, your response?

MARC SHORT: I think that the President has elevated Jewish members across his administration to the highest levels. You know that he's welcomed in, his son-in-law is Jewish, his daughter has converted to Judaism, his grandchildren were being raised Jewish. I think notions of calling the President anti-Semitic are over the top. I’ve said —

WALSH: I didn't call him anti-Semitic.

SHORT: — I’ve said on your show before that I do not think the press is the enemy of the people. That a fair and free press is foundational to our democracy. Having said that, with that freedom comes enormous responsibility for the media to report news fairly and without bias. I think it's hard to argue that this administration has been covered without bias. 

TAPPER: Well, Joan, let me drill down, because you said — interjected saying you didn't call him anti-Semitic. 

WALSH: I did not. 

TAPPER: What were you suggesting President Trump did when you noted that on the same day, those Jews were massacred, the deadliest day for Jews in American history on Saturday, that he went after Bill Kristol, the prominent Jewish conservative if —

WALSH: He clearly didn't care enough not to go after Bill Kristol.  I would also add since Marc, you know, is bringing this up, it took the President several hours to mention that this occurred at a synagogue. It took him a long time to mention that these were Jews and then his first statements about it seemed to imply that the Jews might bear some responsibility because they weren't armed Jews and they didn't have a way to fight back. All his behavior and statements were tone deaf, Jake, until we hear from reporting that his daughter and son in law, Jewish, persuaded him, that's the word that's being used, he persuaded him to take a kinder tone to use the word Jewish, to use the word synagogue, to express concern. I don't know what is in the man's heart, Jake. I judge him by his behavior, and his behavior did not show a lot of care and concern about the Jewish community that day. 

SHORT: But you’re also not judging him based upon his words. You're judging him on what you interpret to be what he left out of his words and not looking at the fact that, again, he has elevated Jewish members across his administration —

WALSH: I actually don't care about that, Marc. I’ve seen —

SHORT: I know because you’re trying —

WALSH: I've seen racist people hire black people. 

AMANDA CARPENTER: I think we need to clarify things a little bit.

TAPPER: Let's bring in, Amanda. Go ahead, Amanda.

CARPENTER: Two separate incidents, but it gets down to one huge concern, and that goes to Donald Trump's language and his associations. We saw what happened with the pipe bomber, with a person who believed Donald Trump when he said the press is the enemy of the people, and he acted on it. Donald Trump is not responsible for that man, but knowing that his words had that impact, will he retire that phrase now?

TAPPER: Well, obviously —

CARPENTER: Because what's to stop that from happening again?  And so, going-forward, knowing that his words caused that man to act, he is responsible, knowing that the Trump campaign played footsie and cozied up to the alt-right all through his campaign, which at its core is an anti-Semitic movement, anybody that spends five minutes in the internet, looking at their chat rooms can figure that out. Is he still going to send those coded signals to that community which gets them riled up? He's not responsible for what happened this week, but going forward, if he does not change and recognize the impact his words have, he will be. 

TAPPER: So, there is this question about words, Marc. I’m sorry, Jay. To that point, here's what — I'm sorry, Jay. Here's what former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had to say, take a listen. 

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: President who should be unifying and instead he is exciting people, inciting people, the President's words matter more than anybody else and his job I always thought is to be a unifier, not to be the leader of a party, but to be the leader of this country.

TAPPER: Well, it's hard to argue that he should be a unifier and a leader of the country. Do you think the President's words can hold — can be held responsible for the actions of a grown man? 

JAY MICHAELSON: Well, I think it's strange we keep using the word responsible as though it's black and white. If you're a kid at a party and you spike the punch with a bunch of grain alcohol, are you responsible when some kid gets drunk and commits a DUI? I mean, you know that that's inevitable. President Trump has been playing with fire for years and his supporters have been playing a kind of devil's bargain. “Well, if we support him, we'll overlook the bad stuff.” Well, this is the cost. The bill has come due. When you play with fire, when you aggravate a situation like this, when you pander to white supremacists, and say, well, there's good people on both sides of a neo-Nazi rally, what do you expect that's going to happen? So, I think this focus on responsibility as though it's some kind of a legal case is maybe mistaken. You know, academics use this term stochastic terrorism, which is creating the conditions for a lone wolf, an evil person like Robert Bowers to act. That doesn't mean you're responsible for those actions, but it means you create those circumstances about.

TAPPER: Let's bring Marc in. Marc, the President says he wants unity, and yet you've heard the other panelists and let's take a look at some of the tweets that he sent.  We had one tweet today calling Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Florida governor, “a thief.” There's no evidence that he's a thief. He called Tom Steyer after Tom Steyer was on my show criticizing him — he called him — and, by the way, Steyer was a target of a bomb. He called him “wacky” and “a crazed & stumbling lunatic.” On the caravan, quote, he wrote: “Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our southern border....This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you.” What — what is your response because you're out numbered here, 3-1. People who think that President Trump needs to — is playing with fire, as Jay put it, that you can't incite a base and incite a movement so much and not think that maybe some people are going to take it too far? 

SHORT: I don't think that the President in any way is encouraged by bombs or the violence that's occurred. I do think that there's — all of us could be doing a better job, from the President to those of us who commentate to frankly the news organizations, to help to lower the rhetoric in this country in ways that we can be more respectful of each other. I also think that too often, we as a country we put our faith in our elected leaders and I think that the one who can help to heal our land, is the one in Second Chronicles said, if my people will humble themselves and face me and pray to me, I will heal their land and that's what our nation needs to be doing, is more praying as opposed to getting more involved in political pointing fingers. 

MICHAELSON: I'm sorry, isn't praying what the people in the synagogue were doing when they were gunned down —

SHORT: Absolutely.

MICHAELSON: — because President Trump says they should have an armed guard? I thought they were praying.

WALSH: Exactly.

SHORT: Listen to the full response he gave that question, when he was asked specifically about that. He also has said that those people should have certainly been protected in the synagogue and I think you'll hear more of that tomorrow. So, again, we're trying to point fingers at political purposes.

WALSH: Four police officers were shot. They had guns, Marc. 

SHORT: Joan, I understand what happened. I understand that, and I think we all need to step back for a second, tone down the rhetoric ourselves, allow the President's opportunity tomorrow to make more thorough remarks, but recognize in many cases, we're putting our faith in people, when, in fact, we should be putting our faith in God. 

WALSH: So I happen to believe in God, but a lot of people don’t, Marc, and they’re entitled to that.

CARPENTER: We can pray all we want — let me be quick on that.

TAPPER: Let's Joan go and then you can go. 

WALSH: I happen to believe in God, but a lot of people in this country don't and they are entitled to that. They're entitled to believe in the goodness of one another. 

SHORT: I'm not questioning that. 

WALSH: And to believe in the goodness and the integrity of their elected leaders. So, to tell people to just pray because we have a man in the White House who can't find it within himself to do the decent thing and tone this down, that's really disrespectful, Marc. You didn't mean that. 

TAPPER: Amanda, let me bring you in here. 

SHORT: It's disrespectful to encourage people to pray? Interesting.

CARPENTER: Yes, everybody should pray, and I pray for our leaders, definitely Donald Trump. But for things to change, he must dramatically change course going forward. Until he lets these movements know that their presence and their support is not welcome, they will continue to feel emboldened. They will continue to take his words and give it purpose in their own life. This is why people are driven to do these things, to commit these acts of terrorism, because they find purpose in doing these things, like sending pipe bombs and going to a synagogue and shooting them up and that has to be put to a full stop, full clarity for anything to change going forward. 

TAPPER: Jay, let me play devil's advocate here because I think there are a lot of people in the Jewish community who saw what happened on Saturday and said, boy, we need to get armed guards in our synagogue, just to protect our congregants. Is it possible that that's all President Trump meant? Like this is a dangerous world, things are bad? You should have armed guards? I mean, I understand to a lot of people it came out as tone deaf and clumsy. But is it not possible that he just meant it in the same way, you know, a million Jews across the country on Saturday said, we need to check in with our security people at our synagogue?

MICHAELSON: Well, I think it's reasonable for synagogues to have security, obviously, but it's really a dodging of responsibility to say the victims should have had guns to fight someone with an AR-15, which, of course, is a weapon that shouldn't be on the streets in the first place, but, you know, a lot of Jewish Trump supporters have entered into that devil's bargain. They said, well, we'll put up with a little anti-Semitism in the movement, because after all, Donald Trump isn't anti-Semitic, and he's so good on Israel and so forth and that's why this is really a moment of reckoning for American Jews and for anyone who cares about prejudice in this country. 

TAPPER: I want to bring — Joan, I want you to listen to Kellyanne Conway earlier today, suggesting that the massacre acts, Tree of Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack on Jews on American history, is because or at least part of a general anti-religiosity sentiment in the country. Take a listen. 

KELLYANNE CONWAY: The anti-religiosity in this country that is somehow in vogue and funny to make fun of anybody of faith, to constantly be making fun of people who express religion, the late night comedians, the unfunny people on TV shows. It's always anti-religious and remember, these people were gunned down in their place of worship.

TAPPER: Joan, what was your response to that? 

WALSH: Kellyanne really outdid herself today. That is magnificent. That is just incredible spin. I mean, late night comedians. These people were not murdered by an anti-religious person. They were murdered by a crazy anti-Semite.  Bill Maher may mock every religion. He has never picked up a gun and murdered anyone. How does she sleep at night? How did she live with herself? That is preposterous and it's again, it's this dangerous deflection of responsibility, but, you know, thankfully, it's too stupid, honestly, to be believed. No one will fall for it. 

TAPPER: Marc, your response?

SHORT: Well, I think just a few minutes ago, I was encouraging prayer and Joan said she thought that was offensive to the agnostics and atheists in our country. 

WALSH: I did. 

SHORT: So, I think we see the evidence of it right here on your show.

WALSH: I'm not hostile to religion.

SHORT: It doesn't have to be Bill Maher. It's actually right here on your show.

WALSH: Are you kidding? 

SHORT: And I think there's a double standard when we talk about —

WALSH: Are you kidding? 

SHORT: — no, I'm being quite factual with the comments you just gave. 

WALSH: My comments contribute to an anti-religious atmosphere. I went to Catholic school. I'm a practicing Catholic. How dare you. How dare you, Marc Short?

SHORT: All I said, Joan, is that we should be encouraging people to pray, 

WALSH: You guys really —

SHORT: — and you said that was really offensive. 

WALSH: You really need to watch yourselves, that is offensive. 

TAPPER: Amanda, I know that you're a person of faith also, I wonder if you can be quick, I want to let Jay, who's a rabbi, so, he's obviously a person of faith, your reaction also.

CARPENTER: She's trying to shift the blame to a different political target by going after late night hosts, but here's why it's so tone deaf, there are a lot of people in America who are scared. If you work in the media, you are probably scared. If you want to go to church, you're scared. If you want to go to a grocery store, you're scare. If you send your kids to school, you're probably scared and for some reason, all the people in the White House can't get that and empathize where that because they're too busy protecting their own fragile political egos. 

TAPPER: Jay, what did you think about the anti-religiosity? 

MICHAELSON: It's beyond offensive. The notion that this was — I don't know how much more explicit a terrorist has to be than Robert Bowers, saying explicitly why he's carrying this out, lies about a migrant caravan, lies about Jewish involvement. These are lies that are in Trump's movement and it really goes to show, you know, anti-Semitism and Trumpian nationalism, it's a package deal. You can't have one without the other and that's exactly — that's why I think as a rabbi, what I would like to hear the President say is an apology. 

 

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