At It Again: GOP Labeled as 'Crazy, MAGA Maniacs' By 'Morning Joe' Team

June 3rd, 2022 8:48 PM

With the push for gun control still going strong and January 6 hearings coming up, there are a lot of hot topics of discussion going on in the political world. In addition to that some things just never change, and MSNBC verbally bashing the GOP is one of those things. “Crazy, MAGA, mania!” is what MSNBC contributors John Heilemann and Donny Deutsch ever-so creatively came up with on Friday’s Morning Joe. Maybe they were hoping the left would give them a pat on the back for such a catchy line.

In the beginning, Way Too Early host and Morning Joe staple Jonathan Lemire kicked things off by reiterating Biden’s speech about guns from Thursday night. Lemire praised Biden for trying not to alienate responsible gun owners and expressing that this has nothing to do with the desire to take people’s guns away; even though Biden said explicitly in the speech that he wanted to ban AR-15s.



Lemire then showed two clips of Republican congressmen, trying to express to viewers how much Republicans love guns.  One clip was Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio at the Judiciary Commission hearing about gun control claiming that this is “an attack on the Second Amendment.”

The second clip was even more interesting. It showed Rep. Greg Steube of Florida showing Congress some of the guns he had that would be banned by the new bill.

And what was MSNBC’s response? They blew it completely out of proportion, saying that he behaved “like an utter ass” and made himself look “like he not only has way too many weapons, but doesn't actually know how to operate them.”

Steube was not trying to simply “wave” his “arsenal” around to scare Democrats, he was showing them the popular guns that would be banned as a result of their magazines.

Even better, Joe Scarborough, absent from his own show, still made himself relevant by tweeting about Steube’s “spectacle.” “This is the Republican Party of 2022. Extremists, freaks, insurrections, conspiracy theorist, and authoritarians,” he raged typed.

Heilemann chimed in by accusing Republicans of being too scared of the NRA and begging for their money, calling their acts “political cowardice.” He even called Steube an “ass” multiple times and clearly thinks that this is the entire Republican Party.

Deutsch contributed to the conversation further by accusing Republicans of not caring if a girl is raped but still making “sure an 18-year-old continues to buy automatic weapons and weapons of war.”

Did Deutsch mean to say “semi-automatic,” or does he actually think automatic weapons have not been banned yet (because they already have been)?

Former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri was a guest on the show. When discussing the upcoming midterm elections, she stated one of the narratives as being “do you want to fight extremism?” She continued “That there's -- that he's so proud of the 30-round magazine that he wants to show everybody that he has one. So that's extremism.”

So according to the former senator, a man showing people his gun magazines that might potentially get banned is “extremism”, okay then.

She then branded Americans as “willing to look the other way on extremism,” because they are “so focused right now on the pain at the grocery store and the pain at the pump.”

If Americans really trying to make ends meet at their jobs, on their rent, grocery bills, gas, and trying to take care of themselves and loved ones really is extremism, then it looks like every American is supporting extremism according to McCaskill.

This example of media bias was brought to you by the US Postal Service and Lincoln.

Click "expand" to see the full transcript.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe


7:11:04 a.m. Eastern

JONATHAN LEMIRE: The president also said last night, quote, “this is not about taking away anyone's guns.” But at yesterday's Judiciary Committee hearing for new gun legislation, the top Republican on the committee, Jim Jordan, claimed the Democrats are trying to do just that.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH) (IN CLIP): No one wants another tragedy. No one wants this to happen again. That's why it's regretful that Democrats have rushed to a markup today, in what seems more like political theater than a real attempt at improving public safety or finding solutions. [Transition] This bill just another democratic attack on the Second Amendment. And it's likely just the start.

LEMIRE:  There was another moment later in the hearing when Republican Congressman Greg Steube who was appearing virtually from his home in Florida showed off guns and magazine clips he claimed would be banned.

REP. GREG STEUBE (R-FL) (IN CLIP): Here in front of me, I have a Sig Sauer P-226. Comes with a 21-round magazine. This gun would be banned. [Transition] Here's a Sig Sauer 320, it takes a 20-round magazine. [Transition] Here's a gun I carry every single day to protect myself, my family, my wife, my home. This is an XL Sig Sauer P-365. Comes with a 15-round magazine.

Here's a 7-round magazine, which would be less than what would be lawful under this bill if this bill were to become law. It doesn't fit. So this gun would be banned.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE: I hope the gun is not loaded.

REP. STEUBE: I'm at my house. I can do whatever I want with my guns.

LEMIRE: Yeah as you’re hearing it there, as the Congressman waved around those guns, Democrats expressed concern about his safety.

Joe tweeted about that moment, saying this, quote, “This is the Republican Party of 2022. Extremists, freaks, insurrections, conspiracy theorist, and authoritarians. Whatever you call them, don't call them conservative. They stopped being that a long time ago.”

Donny Deutsch, I turn the floor to you here. Your reaction to Joe's tweet, of course, but also that spectacle we saw from that Republican Congressman?

DONNY DEUTSCH: What's wrong with these people?

MIKE BARNICLE: They're mentally ill.

DEUTSCH:  What is wrong with these people? Watching that and talk about theater of the absurd. His last line is, I can do what I want with my guns. That's the marching cry.

What I still don't understand, from a political point of view, you've charted on the show many, many times, I don't have to restate the statistics about what 90 percent of the people want as far as universal background checks and 80 percent want the red flag laws. We all know those. Don't the Republicans understand that this is a different moment in time, that politically, where is the bugaboo at this time? Where is the bogeyman in the closet, that if any Republicans come out and act bravely, and John, actually, is it no longer -- am I naive to say it's political suicide to come out on the side of just common sense stuff?

And also, before I throw it back to you, just one thing that Biden did last night, and I agree with everybody, I thought he was super strong, and I’ve been very critical of him sometimes not having his mojo and I thought he was pitch-perfect, is celebrating gun owners. And I think that is a big part of the strategy. And if I was messaging going forward, I would have gun owners as the people coming out as spokespeople for what we need to change as far as gun laws.

Back to my question, though. Isn't it a moment in time that political bravery wouldn't even be that brave at this point?

JOHN HEILEMANN:  Well, it's hard to know. Look Donny, where the action is for these Republicans is not in -- they would lose nothing by being in favor of gun measures that 90 percent of the American people are in favor of, in a general election. But that's not where the action happens in American politics, it happens within your party, in a primary.

DEUTCH: Even Republicans.

HEILEMANN: There are a lot of Republicans that do not want to cross the NRA. They want the money from the NRA and they make sure that the NRA doesn't fund a primary opponent against them so they act in this spirit of political cowardice. And you know, Congressman Steube is obviously an ass, and you know, I’ll agree with everything Joe said but the thing I think of when I see a performance like that, is what an opportunity for Democrats.

And Claire, that's my question. Like, you know, I don't want to turn everything back on the Democratic Party, many of who are on the right place in these gun regulations, and God knows they should go further than some of these very modest proposals like universal background checks or red flag laws.

But you look at a spectacle like that, you look at a Florida Congressman behaving like an utter ass on television, brandishing these weapons, doing things to make him look like he not only has way too many weapons, but doesn't actually know how to operate them.

And you think to yourself, how can he with those kind of images characterizing the Republican Party, not the stream of the Republican Party, but the mainstream of the Republican Party. How -- is it the Democrats aren't able to take those images, those positions, those statements, and turn those against the Republican Party in an effective way?

This seems like such an obvious political win over for Democrats. Because it's not just that Republicans are on the wrong side of 85 percent of the American people on most of these things, but they go and make utter asses of themselves on television like Congressman Steube did yesterday.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL:  Well, I think, and you know Donny might want to speak on this too, I think the essence of the midterm elections is going to be two different narratives. One is, do you want to fight extremism? Do you want to fight the fact that the Republicans in a whole bunch of states, including mine, are now saying, if you're raped, you must carry your rapist's fetus to term, that you cannot terminate a pregnancy when you have gotten pregnant from a rapist.

And then you do this. This extreme position that somehow taking away a magazine that can kill 30 children in less than two or three minutes is A-Okay. That there's -- that he's so proud of the 30-round magazine that he wants to show everybody that he has one. So that's extremism.

Now, on the other side is change. And I don't want to lose sight of that. I think there's a lot of Americans that are so focused right now on the pain at the grocery store and the pain at the pump that they are willing to look the other way on extremism, because they want something different in terms of their own personal financial world.

That is the challenge for November. And if the Democrats stayed disciplined and on message about extremism, they will win some districts that everybody right now thinks they don't have much chance.

7:24:39 a.m.

DEUTSCH: The one thing I want to add on top of that, and I agree with Eugene and Claire, right on the money, you've got to wrap it in fear, though. You've got to wrap it and attach it to the MAGA maniacs. The talking points are, yes, the Republicans want if God forbid that a 14-year-old girl who is raped by her uncle can't get an abortion, the Republicans want to make sure an 18-year-old continues to buy automatic weapons and weapons of war, that Republicans want to continue to destroy our democracy.

We cannot -- and Joe talks about this a lot. We cannot let the crazies take over. You have to make the fear of crazy MAGA maniacs more than the fear of an extra 50 cents on a loaf of bread. And that dichotomy that Clare laid out is where it is. But you got to wrap it with the emotion of fear of crazy.

LEMIRE:  Well that’s the messaging we are starting to hear from the White House. As much as the President is still trying to reach across the aisle on certain issues, giving the benefit of the doubt to Mitch McConnell, more than frankly most of his staff would like him to, we have heard him talk about ultra MAGA, extreme MAGA, trying to paint them as the party that is so extreme on these issues. I think we are going to have those attacks ramped up—

DEUTSCH: Go further than the word extreme. Ultra is a positive word. Make it crazy—


HEILEMANN: Crazy, MAGA, maniac

DEUTSCH: Yeah, that’s it, you got to go that hard.