Disingenuous: Tapper Tries to Muddy Waters on Omar, Suggesting McCarthy, Trump Are Anti-Semites

In what was a poorly mangled attempt to be the liberal and unfunny Seth Meyers, CNN’s The Lead host Jake Tapper went on a rant Wednesday in which he pretended to throw fits at his control staff for not showing clips and tweets of anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), but instead ones that painted the Trump administration and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as not only hypocrites but anti-Semites.

So, in other words, Tapper’s four-minute-and-eight-second monologue seemed to muddy the waters and engage in what probably would be condemned on CNN as “whataboutism” if such a stunt was pulled on Fox News.

Let’s start at the top. Everything seemed fine as Tapper first observed that “[t]here’s been a lot in the news about bigotry,” including the latest batch of anti-Semitic tweets by Omar that were met with bipartisan condemnation.

 

 

Tapper then showed a testy exchange in which colleague Manu Raju continued his solid work on this topic by tracking down Omar to demand she explain herself further. Omar brushed that all aside, telling Raju at one point: “Are you serious? What is wrong with you?”

Next, Tapper played two soundbites from the President earlier Wednesday slamming Omar’s conduct and plus a mention that Vice President MIke Pence agreed. Again, nothing out of the ordinary besides the snide mention that he only spun Omar's anti-Semitism as being something that others are alleging. What bravery! 

Tapper then summarized Omar’s latest tweets about Jewish people, but this was when the immaturity kicked into high gear (click “expand”):

TAPPER: Because there is nothing that this White House finds more offensive than a politician feeding into stereotypes about Jews and Jewish money and controlling politicians, which is what Omar is accused of having done. 

TRUMP [on 12/03/15 to the Republican Jewish Coalition]: Is there anybody that doesn't renegotiate deals in this room? This room negotiates like — I want to renegotiate — this room — perhaps more than any room I have spoken to. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] More than any room. That’s okay. I’ve been called on that a couple of times too. [SCREEN WIPE] You’re not going to support me even though you’re the best thing that could happen to Israel and I’ll be that and I know why you’re not going to support me and, you know, you’re not going to support me because I won’t want your money. [SCREEN WIPE] You don’t want to give me money, okay? But that’s okay. You want to control your own politicians. That’s fine.

TAPPER: I'm sorry. That was the wrong clip. That was then-candidate Trump in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition suggesting that haggling Jews like to control politicians with their money. 

Okay then. First off, one can hear in the video that members of the audience didn’t gasp or uncomfortably laugh as audiences might when a speaker says something questionable. Instead, it’s genuine laughter like the RJC knows what Trump was doing. 

In addition, here’s what The Blaze Media’s Jordan Schachtel tweeted when MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin tried to make the same point: “He was making a light-hearted joke. I was there. Everyone got it. Audience was opposed to Trump (preferred Jeb+Marco), & still, everyone laughed. Stop playing whataboutism w/ Omar. Also, POTUS is most pro-Jewish, pro-Israel president ever. So there's that.”

Alas, Tapper continued on, asking producers to fetch more footage of Omar, but instead was given “a deleted Donald Trump retweet from 2016 as conservative Erick Erickson tweeted at the time: ‘A Star of David, a pile of cash, and suggestions of corruption. Donald Trump again plays to the white supremacists.’”

Yes, this was one of the more undeniably controversial things Trump did during the campaign, so let’s give Tapper the benefit of the doubt, even if one thinks Trump didn’t know what he was doing.

Predictably, the next “failed” Omar clip was instead the President’s infamous “both sides” comment (click “expand”):

TAPPER: Control room, I'm not looking for stuff about Trump. I’m looking for the Congresswoman Omar clip. Do you have it? I'm being told we have it. Thank you. Run it please. 

TRUMP [on 08/16/17]: Excuse me. They didn’t put themselves down as — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. 

TAPPER: No. Control room that was president trump saying that very fine people were marching alongside neo-Nazis and skin heads and white supremacists — people who had chanted “Jews will not —” Yes. Those people. The anti-Semites in Charlottesville. My sincerest apologies. 

Again, a controversial statement, but where this point didn’t work was the fact that Tapper then showed clips of those dumb neo-Nazis and white supremacists with their silly tiki torches on August 11 when the President’s comments concerned the clashes on August 12 (in addition to the fact that he had repeatedly condemned the deadly violence and all forms of hatred). 

But again, that’s arguing on the margins....unless you wanted an air-tight, #FactsFirst case.

As the MRC research showed (plus tweets Wednesday from Stephen Miller), CNN was more than happy to play footsie with Trump during the campaign, so if Trump was an anti-Semite as Tapper was seeming to argue, perhaps they should check their receipts from 2015 and 2016 first.

Tapper then ended with perhaps the most egregious example, which was seemingly suggesting that McCarthy was an anti-Semite for criticizing three of the country’s largest liberal political donors (click “expand”):

Can we please forget about President Trump for a second? Can we show the Omar tweet? Please, the Omar tweet. Can you show it please? Ah, that’s not — this isn’t it either — unbelievable. This is a tweet by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy right before the midterms saying: “We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY [in all caps] this election.” Of course, that’s an allegation by the House Republican leader. The three wealthy liberals, all of whom happen to be of Jewish descent were trying to buy the election. Guys, I'm not talking about that either. Okay, I’m sorry. We’re going to take a quick break. We seem to have some issues here sorting out which anti-Semitic tropes are offensive and which ones are not. We'll be right back as we sort this out. 

So what should have been an unequivocal condemnation of anti-Semitism, blasting Omar’s treatment of Raju, or even how Omar has repeatedly shown an apprehension toward Jewish people (including Wednesday’s hearing with Elliot Abrams), Tapper tried to deflect attention toward the GOP as having a problem with anti-Semitism. 

So, in other words, that’s whataboutism, which was amusing considering what Tapper tweeted on February 4, 2017 about the topic and comparisons that didn’t exactly line up. But Orange Man Bad, so that’s perfectly fine.

All told, this site has a proven track record of both praising and criticizing Tapper. Despite this truly pathetic display, our approach won’t be changing anytime soon.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Lead on February 13, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Lead
February 13, 2019
4:47 p.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: There’s been a lot in the news about bigotry. Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar this week was accused by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats of spreading “anti-Semitic tropes.” Omar has apologized, but our own Manu Raju found her quite unwilling to discuss the controversy when he asked her about it today. 

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSWOMAN ILHAN OMAR (MN): Are you serious? What is wrong with you?

MANU RAJU: I’m asking you a question about your tweet. You had a tweet saying that President Trump trafficked in hate.

OMAR: Yes. I tweeted, and there’s a response. You can run that. Have a nice day.

TAPPER: Omar's apology that she referred to there was not good enough for President Trump. 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress. [SCREEN WIPE] What he said is so deep seeded in her heart ask that her lame apology and that’s what it was — it was lame and she didn’t mean a word of it was just not appropriate. I think she should resign from Congress, frankly, but at a minimum she shouldn't be on committees. 

TAPPER: An amen came Vice President Pence, who tweeted: “[To] those who engage in anti-Semitic tropes should just be denounced, they should face consequences for their words.” Congresswoman Omar specifically suggested financial are what fuel support for Israel. She tweeted: “It's all about the benjamins, baby.” And when asked to whom she was referring, she tweeted, “AIPAC,” the pro-Israel lobbying organization. Because there is nothing that this Whtie House finds more offensive than a politician feeding into stereotypes about Jews and Jewish money and controlling politicians, which is what Omar is accused of having done. 

DONALD TRUMP [on 12/03/15 to the Republican Jewish Coalition]: Is there anybody that doesn't renegotiate deals in this room? This room negotiates like — I want to renegotiate — this room — perhaps more than any room I have spoken to. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] More than any room. That’s okay. I’ve been called on that a couple of times too. [SCREEN WIPE] You’re not going to support me even though you’re the best thing that could happen to Israel and I’ll be that and I know why you’re not going to support me and, you know, you’re not going to support me because I won’t want your money. [SCREEN WIPE] You don’t want to give me money, okay? But that’s okay. You want to control your own politicians. That’s fine.

TAPPER: I'm sorry. That was the wrong clip. That was then-candidate Trump in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition suggesting that haggling Jews like to control politicians with their money. We waned the clip of Congresswoman Omar. Control room, I want the — the Omar clip. Give us the Omar clip. There — wait, no, that's not it either. That’s a deleted Donald Trump retweet from 2016 as conservative Erick Erickson tweeted at the time “A Star of David, a pile of cash, and suggestions of corruption. Donald Trump again plays to the white supremacists.” Control room, I'm not looking for stuff about Trump. I’m looking for the Congresswoman Omar clip. Do you have it? I'm being told we have it. Thank you. Run it please. 

TRUMP [on 08/16/17]: Excuse me. They didn’t put themselves down as — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. 

TAPPER: No. Control room that was president trump saying that very fine people were marching alongside neo-Nazis and skin heads and white supremacists — people who had chanted “Jews will not —” Yes. Those people. The anti-Semites in Charlottesville. My sincerest apologies. Can we please forget about President Trump for a second? Can we show the Omar tweet? Please, the Omar tweet. Can you show it please? Ah, that’s not — this isn’t it either — unbelievable. This is a tweet by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy right before the midterms saying: “We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY [in all caps] this election.” Of course, that’s an allegation by the House Republican leader. The three wealthy liberals, all of whom happen to be of Jewish descent were trying to buy the election. Guys, I'm not talking about that either. Okay, I’m sorry. We’re going to take a quick break. We seem to have some issues here sorting out which anti-Semitic tropes are offensive and which ones are not. We'll be right back as we sort this out. 

NB Daily 2016 Presidential Charlottesville violence Israel/Palestine Double Standards Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN The Lead Video Government & Press Kevin McCarthy Jake Tapper Manu Raju Donald Trump Ilhan Omar
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