Liberal Wolf Blitzer: Voting to Condemn Trump’s ‘Racism...Shouldn’t Be a Partisan Issue’

CNN’s Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer might be viewed as an iconic journalist and bastion of truth, but the Trump era has shown that he’s a liberal pundit who mirrors, say, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. On Tuesday’s show, Blitzer came back from break to insist that voting in support of a House Democrats resolution “condemning the President's racist comments...shouldn’t necessarily be a partisan issue.”

Senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny huffed that “everything is a partisan issue, particularly in this climate, in this moment, in this town and this whole discussion has devolved into a partisan issue,” which was “not surprisingly at all” and that not many Republicans would vote like CNN wants.

 

 

Zeleny added (click “expand”):

But the reality here is this is going to simply, you know, just not advance the argument about what this is all about. I mean, Republicans in the House of Representatives, every single one of them, are up for re-election, of course. in 2020....But the reality here is this is going to simply, you know, just not advance the argument about what this is all about. I'm not sure at the end of this if the vote actually happens this evening what this is going to accomplish other than unify the Democrats probably and make the country think that Washington is even more of a mess, but how you view this is how you viewed it coming in. 

Brought on as a seemingly non-partisan reporter, Sabrina Siddiqui with the left-wing Guardian newspaper remarked that “it is remarkable of itself that there is a vote being held on a resolution to formally rebuke the President's comments as racist” even though “it’s become in some ways par for the course in this administration.”

She also bashed the President and her fellow Americans that “a lot of this is trying to appeal to some of the worst resentments that a faction of Americans hold against people of color and that is what this debate is all about.”

As Blitzer does on a near-daily basis, legal and national security analyst Susan Hennessey was onset to opine on purely political topics. And thus the former Obama official teed off on not just Republicans as saying racist things, but how the Democrats have been too slow to make this formal move (click “expand”):

Well, I think it’s remarkable instead of having a conversation or seeing the Republicans have a conversation about whether or not the President's words were actually racist, we're having a conversation about whether or not it is acceptable to call something that let's be clear that is clearly racist by that name on the House floor. So, this is certainly an unprecedented situation but to the extent it’s so surprising and unprecedented it goes back to the President of the United States making these comments in the first place. Keep in mind, you know, it has taken two years for the House Democrats to get to this point. It is not as though he came into office and they were running to the House floor calling him a racist, calling his statements racist. He has incrementally pushed them sort of past the point in which there is any other word to fairly describe the President's statements. They were racist. 

Asked about comments Kellyanne Conway made on the White House grounds to Breakfast Media’s Andrew Feinberg wondering where his ancestors came from, Zeleny blasted her as being “ridiculous” and “sound[ing] like an immigration agent at the airport.”

Siddiqui got another chance as well, defending the so-called “Squad” as being criticized not for their views but because “they were also elected in part to represent the voices of communities who aren't — who haven't really been represented welcome back the hallways of Congress and so for them to be attacked on the basis of the color of their skin, that is why you have seen this uproar.”

Before a break, Hennessey blasted Conway and, again, makes one wonder why CNN allows its liberal analysts to opine on topics that are outside the realm of “legal” or “national security” matters (click “expand”):

Yeah, certainly nothing about that statement seemed particularly well thought out and I think Kellyanne Conway is sort of falling back to her classic gaslighting. She's trying to suggest, well we all come from somewhere else as though the President's comments had nothing to do with the fact these are — that these congresswomen are women of color. My ancestors are German and Polish. No one has ever once in my life suggested that I go back to where I came from. That is not an experience shared by minorities in this country. This is a well-known and well-tread racial and ethnic slur that the President was using and we saw Kellyanne Conway in her own statements. I think it illustrates how fundamentally indefensible it was even when she tried to offer this defense and it just shows how fundamentally unacceptable this language is. 

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Situation Room on July 16, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Situation Room
July 16, 2019
5:21 p.m. Eastern

WOLF BLITZER: Breaking news. We're awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives on a resolution condemning the President's racist comments directed at members of Congress. Judging by the debate so far, it has the support of very few Republicans. Let's bring in our correspondents and our analysts, and Jeff Zeleny, condemning racism shouldn't necessarily be a partisan issue. 

JEFF ZELENY: Wolf, everything is a partisan issue, particularly in this climate, in this moment, in this town and this whole discussion has devolved into a partisan issue. Not surprisingly at all. We haven't seen this exact movie play out but it seems like we have again and again with this. But I think, you know, there may be a couple of Republicans who cross over, Justin Amash from Michigan who was a Republican who’s leaving the Republican Party, he’s probably one who is likely to. Otherwise I can't think of many others who are going to. But the reality here is this is going to simply, you know, just not advance the argument about what this is all about. I mean, Republicans in the House of Representatives, every single one of them, are up for re-election, of course. in 2020. They are afraid to stand up against the president and many think that these Democrats have been wrong in some of the comments that they've said as well here, so I'm not sure at the end of this if the vote actually happens this evening what this is going to accomplish other than unify the Democrats probably and make the country think that Washington is even more of a mess, but how you view this is how you viewed it coming in. 

BLITZER: Because this is clearly the White House watching this vote, especially the Republicans, Kaitlan, very closely. Earlier, today, the President tweeted Republicans should not show weakness and fall into that trap. 

KAITLAN COLLINS: Yeah, the President is watching all of this very closely and especially because right now the President has nothing on his schedule, he's supposed to be meeting with congressional Republican leadership about an hour ago. They postponed that meeting because of all of the drama happening right now on the House floor even though senators were already in a car on the way to the White House. But the President is paying very close attention because he thinks those Democrats that he's been attacking should be rebuked, not his own comments and today so much is on his mind that even in his cabinet meeting he had a stack of comments that he said was a list of all of the comments that he says are vile that they’ve made. So the President and Jeff is right, has this hold on the Republican Party. So don't expect a ton of rebukes from Republicans. But the President will be watching who does rebuke him.

BLITZER: So he canceled his meeting with the Republicans leaders because he wants to watch the vote. 

COLLINS: So they didn’t say no. They didn’t say who canceled it. They just said, you kow, kind of quietly, this meeting has been postponed. We’ll let you know, But you can't ignore there is drama happening on the house floor and clearly a last-minute cancellation since people like Mitch were on the car, on the way on the short drive down to the white house but they said it is delayed but won't say for how long or what but it seems obvious if you turn on C-SPAN. 

BLITZER: Sabrina, What does this tell us about politics in the trump era?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI: Well, it is remarkable of itself that there is a vote being held on a resolution to formally rebuke the President's comments as racist. The resolution doesn't explicitly call the President racist, but it twice refers to his remarks as being racist and it’s become in some ways par for the course in this administration but it is still unprecedented for the President to single out these four congresswomen of color and I think frankly one of the most telling things that the President said was yesterday when he was asked if he was concerned if his comments were racist and he said he wasn't because he said that there are a lot of Americans who agree with him and I think that really reinforces just how intentional this is on the President's part and it is no coincidence that his re-election is around the corner and that’s part of why you’re also seeing very few Republicans joining Democrats in condemning what he had to say and a lot of this is trying to appeal to some of the worst resentments that a faction of Americans hold against people of color and that is what this debate is all about. 

(....)

5:31 p.m. Eastern

SUSAN HENNESSEY: Well, I think it’s remarkable instead of having a conversation or seeing the Republicans have a conversation about whether or not the President's words were actually racist, we're having a conversation about whether or not it is acceptable to call something that let's be clear that is clearly racist by that name on the House floor. So, this is certainly an unprecedented situation but to the extent it’s so surprising and unprecedented it goes back to the President of the United States making these comments in the first place. Keep in mind, you know, it has taken two years for the House Democrats to get to this point. It is not as though he came into office and they were running to the House floor calling him a racist, calling his statements racist. He has incrementally pushed them sort of past the point in which there is any other word to fairly describe the President's statements. They were racist. 

(....)

5:33 p.m. Eastern

ZELENY: Are we surprised by anything Kellyanne Conway has to say at this point? I mean, she is one of the closest advisers to the President. It’s why the President likes her and keeps her around because she said things that fit exactly into his mind and worldview. She sounded like an immigration agent at the airport. What country are you from? That’s ridiculous, of course, She's trying to change the subject and we still have not heard an answer to the question of where the President would like to see these members of Congress, these four Americans sent to? Go back where? So the whole — this whole thing really is only 48 hours has really devolved into something, but I think the bigger picture here is what does this mean? Is it more likely that the President is going to be impeached or impeachment proceedings. This has fanned the partisan flames which is exactly what I think the president is trying to do to gin up his base before the 2020 election. So, we'll see if the next 18 months are like this or not, but it seems to be heading in that direction. 

(....)

5:35 p.m. Eastern

SIDDIQUI: I think it is just important to reinforce that what’s so significant about these four women is, yes, you could have a debate over the ideology and just how far to the left they are trying to push the Democratic Party, but they were also elected in part to represent the voices of communities who aren't — who haven't really been represented welcome back the hallways of Congress and so for them to be attacked on the basis of the color of their skin, that is why you have seen this uproar in terms of the way that the President singled out them specifically and not say Bernie Sanders or some of the other progressive voices in Washington. 

BLITZER: She's getting grief for using the phrase these four women “represent a dark underbelly in our country.”

HENNESSEY: Yeah, certainly nothing about that statement seemed particularly well thought out and I think Kellyanne Conway is sort of falling back to her classic gaslighting. She's trying to suggest, well we all come from somewhere else as though the President's comments had nothing to do with the fact these are — that these congresswomen are women of color. My ancestors are German and Polish. No one has ever once in my life suggested that I go back to where I came from. That is not an experience shared by minorities in this country. This is a well-known and well-tread racial and ethnic slur that the President was using and we saw Kellyanne Conway in her own statements. I think it illustrates how fundamentally indefensible it was even when she tried to offer this defense and it just shows how fundamentally unacceptable this language is. 

NB Daily Congress Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism CNN The Situation Room Video Government & Press Wolf Blitzer Jeff Zeleny Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway Ilhan Omar Rashida Tlaib Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
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