Luke Russert Marvels Over 'History' of Democrats' Gun Control Sit-In

On Wednesday's MSNBC Live, Luke Russert fawned over Rep. John Lewis, as he and his Democratic colleagues staged a pro-gun control sit-in inside the well of the chamber of the House of Representatives. Russert first asked Lewis, "You are a civil rights icon. Your stories are remarkable — beaten within one inch of your life, it has been said. How important is this moment for you?" He also played up Lewis's "distinguished congressional career." Russert later wondered, "Put this in history for me....Where does this stack up for you, in terms of what you've been able to accomplish in this life?" [video below]

The correspondent led his interview of Rep. Lewis and California Rep. Judy Chu with his effusive "civil rights icon" phrase and softball question to the Georgia Democrat. After Lewis lamented the lack of new gun control measures in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in Orlando, Russert followed up by highlighting his guest's long career in the House of Representatives. He also kept up his kid-glove treatment of the politician:

LUKE RUSSERT: You've had a distinguished congressional career. You've been here for many terms. Many of your colleagues, who share your experience, have never seen anything like this — the floor — the House of Representatives — taken over by a party, literally using tactics that you developed during the civil rights movement. How extraordinary is it that this is what it has taken for you to have to do — to literally sit on the floor of the House before you get a vote?

The NBC/MSNBC journalist then turned to Rep. Chu and touted the sit-in during his first question to the California Democrat: "What would you say is the fundamental reason as to why it has gotten to this point? Why is it that you have to literally sit on the floor? There are no cameras. There are no microphones. It is as organic as it can get. The reports are coming out via Twitter — the reporters in there in the gallery — it's almost like we took a step back in time."

Russert asked two more questions before concluding the interview with one more gushing question to Lewis: "Congressman Lewis, lastly, put this in history for me. You are the civil rights veteran. You've been on Capitol Hill for a long time. You've seen this body work; you've seen it not work. You probably recall a time when both sides were friendlier to one another...Where does this stack up for you, in terms of what you've been able to accomplish in this life?"

The transcript of Luke Russert's questions to Representatives John Lewis and Judy Chu from the June 22, 2016 edition of MSNBC Live:

THOMAS ROBERTS: NBC's Luke Russert joins me now from Capitol Hill; and Luke has two members of Congress with him right now — one being the aforementioned John Lewis. Luke?

LUKE RUSSERT: Yeah. Hey there, Thomas; and we're here with Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Judy Chu — two members who have taken part in this sit-in — and it's being led by Congressman Lewis; so we'll start off with him off the top.

Congressman Lewis, you are a civil rights icon. Your stories are remarkable — beaten within one inch of your life, it has been said. How important is this moment for you; and what are you hoping to achieve?

(...)

RUSSERT: You've had a distinguished congressional career. You've been here for many terms. Many of your colleagues, who share your experience, have never seen anything like this — the floor — the House of Representatives — taken over by a party, literally using tactics that you developed during the civil rights movement. How extraordinary is it that this is what it has taken for you to have to do — to literally sit on the floor of the House before you get a vote?

REP. JOHN LEWIS, (D-GA), LEADING HOUSE SIT-IN: Well, it's out of the ordinary; but sometimes, you move on what I call the spirit of history, to find a way — to get any way — to create the climate, environment, to get something done.

RUSSERT: Congresswoman Chu, what would you say is the fundamental reason as to why it has gotten to this point? Why is it that you have to literally sit on the floor? There are no cameras. There are no microphones. It is as organic as it can get. The reports are coming out via Twitter — the reporters in there in the gallery — it's almost like we took a step back in time.

(...)

RUSSERT: Congressman Lewis, where does this go? Do you stay on the floor indefinitely?

(...)

RUSSERT: Congresswoman Chu, in terms of the two votes that you guys want to see — background checks and no-fly, no buy — if it were to be brought forward, do you believe you could get some substantial Republican support?

(...)

RUSSERT: And Congressman Lewis, lastly, put this in history for me. You are the civil rights veteran. You've been on Capitol Hill for a long time. You've seen this body work; you've seen it not work. You probably recall a time when both sides were friendlier to one another; where they were more willing to, at least, allow themselves to be heard. Where does this stack up for you, in terms of what you've been able to accomplish in this life?

NB Daily Congress Regulation Guns Labeling MSNBC MSNBC Live Video Luke Russert John Lewis
Matthew Balan's picture