Blitzer Wonders If Trump Is Setting Up ‘Loyalty Test,’ Quotes Bible to Bash Trump

On Monday’s The Situation Room, Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) showed why Republicans appearing on CNN shows has become a chore filled with persistent hostility and left-leaning questions, no matter the host. In this case, it was Wolf Blitzer badgering Walker to further condemn the President for his criticism of “The Squad,” using the Gospel of Matthew to hit Trump and fretting that the President could be setting up a “loyalty test.”

Over nine minutes of the 12-minute-and-seven-second interview was spent on this topic, which began with Blitzer asking Walker to rehash “what went through your mind” when the crowd at a Greenville, North Carolina Trump rally chanted “send her back” regarding Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

 

 

Walker reiterated his public displeasure with the chant, but he also underlined for CNN viewers that the conversation should also include the things uttered by Omar and her colleagues, but Blitzer wasn’t having it (click “expand”):

WALKER: Now at the same time, there is a consumption over this and I feel like that we're overlooking some of the racially charged language. In fact, I just returned from the border over the weekend. The morale among our border agents after being referred as concentration camps or drawn something kind of Nazi comparison there has been very hurtful. I hope that we can put the energy and the emphasis on those using the language across the board.

BLITZER: That's a fair point. President Trump trying to distance himself from the chant but said he disagreed with it. He continues, though, to attack these women. On Sunday he tweeted that they are, in his words, “not capable of loving our country.” Do you believe that?

WALKER: What I do believe, it is very hard to answer someone's motives or someone's heart. What you're left to do is sometimes judge someone's actions and when you have people who are advocating things that are sometimes anti-Semitic or sometimes policies that we believe that hurt portions of our country, I think it is our responsibilities as a — responsibility as an elected member of Congress to call that out.

Blitzer countered by not asking a question so much as stating that no one can “really...question though, can you, whether or not” Omar and her colleagues Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Rashida Tlaib (MI) “love the United Sttes of America.”

Walker replied that “it's very difficult to make that perspective sometimes just based on the language” and that, while disagreed with President Obama’s policies, he would someone who he’d want his children to emulate in his family life.

Instead of going to another topic, Blitzer kept coming. Here were his next three questions, including a statement of fear that the President is “setting up a loyalty test” where criticizing him means you don’t love America (click “expand”):

But the President, over the past 24 hours, said these four women, these congresswomen, are very bad for the country and he also said, I'm quoting, “they must hate our country.” He called them racists, not very smart. He said they're not capable, again, of loving our country. Is that the message you want Republicans to run on in 2020?

(....)

You were at the rally in your home state of North Carolina when the President spoke. He waited for 13 seconds while the crowd calmed down. Then he began to speak, once — did you tell the President that night after the rally how upset you were?

(....)

I just want to point out, and as you know and all of us know, over the years the President has very often insulted what's going on here in the United States. He's used some pretty tough language. But is he setting up a loyalty test here? If you disagree with him, you really don't love America?

Walker stated that “it’s frightening” and has “saddened” him “that we have gotten away from political discourse,” but he will use the example of the Apostle Paul as a guide for how he treats everyone, including minority communities.

Blitzer closed by asserting that “[w]e’ve got to tone down this rhetoric” (presumably excluding CNN and the rest of the liberal press) as well as quoting the Gospel of Matthew to bash Trump:

Let me read to you from Matthew, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.” And also “love your neighbor as yourself.” Is that what we're seeing right now?

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on July 22, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
July 22, 2019
5:12 p.m. Eastern

WOLF BLITZER: Joining us now, Congressman Mark Walker of North Carolina. He's a member of the House Republican leadership, also serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.

CONGRESSMAN MARK WALKER (R-NC): Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: We have a lot to get to. First, you were at that rally in North Carolina with President Trump when the crowd started chanting “send her back.” What went through your mind when you heard that?

WALKER: Well, it was an immediate dagger that went through my heart when I heard such comments. My wife, Wolf, is a two-time historical black college and university graduate; as a former minister we have worked in the inner cities. The minority communities that value or put a little trust and value in what we're trying to do in Washington, I immediately thought of those folks, not from the political gain but to make sure that I do not want to support in any way, shape or fashion a phrase that, for decades, has been represented to hurt people in the minority communities. Now at the same time, there is a consumption over this and I feel like that we're overlooking some of the racially charged language. In fact, I just returned from the border over the weekend. The morale among our border agents after being referred as concentration camps or drawn something kind of Nazi comparison there has been very hurtful. I hope that we can put the energy and the emphasis on those using the language across the board.

BLITZER: That's a fair point. President Trump trying to distance himself from the chant but said he disagreed with it. He continues, though, to attack these women. On Sunday he tweeted that they are, in his words, “not capable of loving our country.” Do you believe that?

WALKER: What I do believe, it is very hard to answer someone's motives or someone's heart. What you're left to do is sometimes judge someone's actions and when you have people who are advocating things that are sometimes anti-Semitic or sometimes policies that we believe that hurt portions of our country, I think it is our responsibilities as a — responsibility as an elected member of Congress to call that out. I’m much more comfortable focusing on the policy. I know that we have done some, I feel like, great work when it comes to opportunity zones, criminal justice reform, even, in fact, in my home state of North Carolina –

BLITZER: But —

WALKER: Go ahead — yes?

BLITZER: I was just going to point out, though, that these are duly elected members of Congress. They were elected by their constituents in their respective districts. Even if you strongly disagree with them, even if you strongly criticize the words they're saying, you really can't question, though, can you, whether or not they love the United States of America?

WALKER: I think it's very difficult to make that perspective sometimes just based on the language. I think what you have to do is watch a pattern of behavior sometimes to be able to make sure which way are they wanting to lead the country and I think the President, he is politically incorrect, probably not as sensitive if some of these areas, but the American people sent someone to Washington to get us from point A to point B, even if it means scorched earth sometimes and I believe that's why the loyalty he has, specifically throughout much of the Republican base, has remained intact because he has accomplished some of these things and much of this, Wolf, has benefited our minority communities. I — listen, President Obama, solid man, solid husband; nobody questions his moral aptitude. In fact, heck — I'd want my children to emulate the kind of a husband and father that he's wanted to be, but some of the policies we believe, such as homeownership in North Carolina, went down all eight years under his leadership. We want to talk about the policies that are impacting all of our communities for the better.

BLITZER: But the President, over the past 24 hours, said these four women, these congresswomen, are very bad for the country and he also said, I'm quoting, “they must hate our country.” He called them racists, not very smart. He said they're not capable, again, of loving our country. Is that the message you want Republicans to run on in 2020?

WALKER: I want Republicans to run on how impactful opportunity zones are. I want Republicans to run on the lowest unemployment rate in some of our minority communities. Top down, administration down, I want to see us talking about those policies because that's the policies that we can win again in — on 2020.

BLITZER: You were at the rally in your home state of North Carolina when the President spoke. He waited for 13 seconds while the crowd calmed down. Then he began to speak, once — did you tell the President that night after the rally how upset you were?

WALKER: I did not see the President that night. In fact, I drove back to Washington, D.C., from Greenville, about four, four and a half hours. Even that night, I struggled. I put out something immediately that night, followed it up the next day. The President knows how I feel. I've had a chance to voice it to several people in the administration, including the Vice President and that's something that we're going to continue to — listen, the President in that moment, to — probably 40 percent of the audience were chanting that. I believe he recognized that. In fact, in his own words, he said he didn't like that and I believe in the future, if that was to take place, I believe that he would be focused enough to say we're not going do that.

BLITZER: Well, 40 percent, that's a big chunk of that — that was a huge crowd. That's a lot of people there.

WALKER: Yeah. It is. I think that the capacity was about 8,000, so I'm doing the math in my head, what’s that? About 3,500 that were shouting that. But I will tell you, many of the people that were around us, you could tell by the looks, that was not something that we are comfortable with and Republicans must do better. If Republicans truly believe that we have the best policies for the minority communities, then —

BLITZER: I just want to point out, and as you know and all of us know, over the years the President has very often insulted what's going on here in the United States. He's used some pretty tough language. But is he setting up a loyalty test here? If you disagree with him, you really don't love America?

WALKER: I don't think so. I think that he is so rambunctious when it comes to his passion, of doing it the way that he believes should be done, when it comes to loving America, he does call out things, but listen, this is — this is — we've got a history of him branding and calling out different people. A lot of us thought it was almost humorous when he gave some of the nicknames to Crooked Hillary or Little Marco, some of those. This has been his style. It isn't something necessarily that we all agree with, but nevertheless, this is part of his winning strategy. I hope we can grow as a party —

BLITZER: Alright — yes, I was going to say, if the chant were to break out at another rally, I know he's got one planned for what? August 1st? What specifically — what would you tell the President you want to hear him say?

WALKER: I would hope that he would condemn it immediately, but I also want to give him the latitude to continue to focus on the policies. This is not just about The Squad. There were 100 Democrats that voted against the humanitarian aid. This kind of hard left leaning is where the energy in the Democratic Party is. I would encourage the President to call that out when it comes to the actions by those that are advocating for such left-leaning policies.

(....)

5:22 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: Let me end this interview, Congressman. You've been generous with your time, with where I began. Your outrage, your anger when you heard the chant at that rally in North Carolina. I want to point out to our viewers, you served as a Baptist pastor, a minister for 16 years. You’re chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. When you see this talk that's going on, even if you strongly disagree with these four congresswomen of color, when you see the President say these awful things about them, even as you make some fair points about some of the things they've said, what does that say to you as a Baptist minister? What's going on with our — in our country?

WALKER: Well, it's — it's — it’s frightening, Wolf, that we have gotten away from political discourse and I'm saddened by that. My job is to make sure that my speech and my tone, to quote Paul the apostle, is seasoned with salt and with grace. I think of the many people in the minority communities that I love and I cherish their friendships and I'm going to continue to be out there advocating for those because if we truly believe we have the right message, it should be good for all communities.

BLITZER: Let me read to you from Matthew, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.” And also “love your neighbor as yourself.” Is that what we're seeing right now?

WALKER: I don't know that we could say that we're seeing that specifically in any aspect. It has become harsh, but — but historically, there have been moments and spikes in our country, where the rhetoric was harsh. I think what each member of Congress and each member of the administration, you have to do some soul searching. Is it just about winning the argument, Wolf, or is it about making a difference? And I think if you can look back and say, I want my time for me, serving in Congress to, be more than just making an argument and making a difference, I think that's where you can find the right tone and the spirit and the heart to proclaim what it is that you truly believe in.

BLITZER: We've got to tone down this rhetoric. Congressman Mark Walker, thank you so much for joining us.

WALKER: Thanks, my privilege.

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