At a time when more than 200 hostages (including Americans) are being held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, it's certainly not a good time for "hostage" metaphors in Washington politics.
But MSNBC weekend host Katie Phang just had to go there on Saturday in describing the ongoing House Republican struggle to elect a Speaker after a Matt Gaetz-led faction removed Kevin McCarthy.
In an interview with Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Phang said:
You know, we talk about getting to 217 and the chances of maybe more centrist voices from the Republican party joining the Democrats. Actually get something done. Because Americans are being held hostage by the GOP right now."
During an actual hostage crisis, it is grotesque of Phang to analogize political squabbling over the Speakership to hostage-taking. What next, because the House Republicans don't have a head, they're "decapitated" like a Hamas victim?
So what was Phang's proposal to end the stalemate? Of course, some Republicans should ditch their party solidarity and "come join with the Democrats." Jacobs was only too happy to run with that suggestion.
"We have both publicly and privately messaged that we are open to a bipartisan way forward. I would love if five Republicans came and voted with us and Hakeem Jeffries became Speaker."
They would be "open" to allowing Republican defectors to join them, making Democrat Hakeem Jeffries Speaker?! How magnanimous of the Democrats! Note that at one point, Kevin McCarthy was within a handful of votes of gaining the Speakership. Don't seem to recall Phang or others in the liberal media calling on Democrats to provide the necessary votes to put McCarthy over the top.
Phang then raised the issue of "the normalization of violence and violent rhetoric by the GOP." Whereas Phang suggested an investigation to determine who had been threatening violence, Jacobs explicitly accused Jim Jordan of using threats of violence against other House members in an attempt to intimidate them into voting for him as Speaker.
"It should be no surprise that Jim Jordan is willing to use violence to overturn the will of the people and change an election outcome. We have seen him do that before."
This, despite Jordan having posted at X:
"No American should accost another for their belief. We condemn all threats against our colleagues and it is imperative that we come together. Stop. It's abhorrent."
Here's the transcript.
The Katie Phang Show
8:09 am EDT
KATIE PHANG: Congresswoman, we are watching things like Jim Jordan trying to become the permanent Speaker, failing three times. We're seeing though, consistently, Hakeem Jeffries' name being put forth, strongly and in unity, by the Democrats.
You know, we talk about getting to 217 and the chances of maybe more centrist voices from the Republican party joining the Democrats. Actually get something done,
Because Americans are being held hostage by the GOP right now. Nothing's getting done. No legislation has been presented since September 30th. Any, maybe, you know, of this erosion from the solidity -- the solidarity, from the GOP are saying, nobody is going to break ranks, and come join the Democrats?
SARA JACOBS: You know, we have both publicly and privately messaged that we are open to a bipartisan way forward. I would love if five Republicans came and voted with us and Hakeem Jeffries became Speaker. But there are many options of what a bipartisan way forward could look like. And I'm hopeful that some Republicans will take us up on that offer, as Whip Clark said, take yes for an answer so we can get the House reopened and get back to the business of serving the Americanpeople.
PHANG: How exasperating is it, though, to see names like Kevin Hern and Byron Donalds, people that are also rabble-rousers in their own right, being, you know, putting their hat into the race? Throwing their hats into the ring to be be able to be the permanent Speaker of the House?
JACOBS: I mean, at this point, Democrats are open to a bipartisan way forward, and a part of that will be trying to stop anyone to become Speaker who objected to the 2020 election, and tried to overturn the election. And so, it is disappointing to see so many people who still feed into the big lie, putting their name in for Speaker.
I was in the House chamber on January 6th, it was actually my third day in office. I was sworn in on January 3rd. And I remember how terrifying it was. And how real it was. And the fact that we have people who want to lead this body, who still feed into the very thing that incited that violence is deeply problematic.
PHANG: And Congresswoman, before I have to let you go, I have to ask along that vein. It is alarming that there has been the normalization of violence and violent rhetoric by the GOP. How has it been, kind of viewing what's happening on the other side of your colleagues, on the other side the aisle? With the fact that threats, death threats, have been made when people didn't vote for somebody like Jim Jordan?
JACOBS: It's very concerning. Look, it should be no surprise that Jim Jordan is willing to use violence to overturn the will of the people and change an election outcome. We have seen him do that before.
But I actually used to work in international conflict resolution, and I know that, actually, this normalization of political violence is incredibly dangerous. And it is the first step of what could be a very dangerous and difficult path.
And so, I am very concerned about a lot of the rhetoric that we're seeing from the other side, and the threats and intimidation and violence, frankly, that we are seeing.
PHANG: And Congresswoman, do you think it's worth --I've been advocate for some type of investigation to be done, frankly, with these threats that have been made. Is there maybe some interest on your part to make sure this doesn't happen? That it's not continuing in any way, by maybe investigating who is making these threats?
JACOBS: I, mean I think it makes sense to do that. And to make sure we understand who has been encouraging it, especially from inside the body.
But at the end of the day, this is a Republican civil war. And Republicans need to figure this out amongst themselves so we can all get back to work and get back to the very important work we need to do, with all these crises happening around the world and here at home.
PHANG: Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, again, thank you for joining us. I always appreciate you.