CNN host Jake Tapper has a pretty bad habit of sitting back and letting leftist guests get away with saying some really radical stuff. Earlier this year, Tapper let Parkland student Cameron Kasky attack Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) by equating him to the kid that shot up his school. Now, during Monday’s edition of The Lead, Tapper took the same approach as GQ magazine correspondent Julia Ioffe claimed: “this President has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did.”
Perhaps Tapper let her get away with it because people were sending her nasty stuff online after she wrote about the First Lady. But Tapper refused to do his job as a host even after conservative CNN political commentator David Urban called him out, saying, “Jake, for you not to push back.…for you not to push back that is irresponsible!” Tapper’s defense was that Urban was about to do it for him.
“That’s irrespirable. For her to say, the President of the United States has radicalized more people than ISIS is irresponsible,” Urban continued. “Well, okay. You disagree with it and I’m bringing you in and Mona [Charen] in to contradict here,” Tapper responded.
“Why do you disagree? Why do you disagree,” screamed liberal commentator and former Bernie Sanders campaign staffer Symone Sanders. “Because it’s not true. It’s factually not true,” Urban shot back.
And Urban was right because, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS had 50,000 fighters in Syria and 30,000 fighters in Iraq. But according to Ioffe, “ISIS had like 10,000 members. I think the President has far more supporters who espouse an equally hateful ideology that dehumanizes other people.” Clearly, one was more credible than the other.
But the facts apparently be damn to Tapper.
It took about 40 minutes for Tapper to have her apologize for her baseless smear. But it wasn’t because of its vile nature or divergence from reality. Nope, it was “[b]ecause the Republican National Committee is jumping on your comments you, earlier in the show, said,” Tapper said. “David and Mona disagreed with you strongly. This was something you wanted to clarify.”
“I think I spoke in the heat of the moment. This has been an emotional and personal painful time for me. I think I exaggerated and I apologize for that,” Ioffe told viewers while eventually admitting what she said was “not factual.” Then came the infamous qualifier:
But, the point I was trying ham-fistedly to make, is that it's not a coincidence that according to the ADL, the number of anti-Semitic attacks has jumped by nearly 60 percent in the first year that Donald Trump was in office. And it's no coincidence, because even though the main danger is home-grown, right-wing extremists as many studies have pointed out…
Over the weekend, Ioffe lashed out at Trump, Glenn Beck, and American Jews on Twitter and essentially blamed them for the synagogue shooting. “And a word to my fellow American Jews: This president makes this possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there, where you don’t live was worth it,” she wrote.
According to Tapper, her clarification was just “little house-cleaning”. This was also the same Ioffe that suggested President Trump was sleeping with his daughter Ivanka Trump and was fired by Politico two years ago. Her even being on his show tells you about his standards. Beyond that, Tapper presided over a train wreck of a panel discussion about how much responsibility President Trump held for the violence and death. Evident by the transcript provided.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN’s The Lead
October 29, 2018
4:11 p.m. Eastern
JAKE TAPPER: Julia, you know — you know this firsthand, because you wrote a story about First Lady Melania Trump and it was — it was just a straight story. It had some positive things, it had some negative things, whatever. She hated it. The president supporters hated it. They attacked you and President Trump refused to criticize his supporters and you said you need to take it up with them.
JULIA IOFFE: Yeah, he said I have no message for them and furthermore, when Melania was asked about this, she said I provoked the anti-Semitic, frankly, death threats. People were calling my house at 1:00 in the morning, saying, hi, you ordered a homicide scene cleanup. Or hi, you ordered a coffin to your house.
TAPPER: Sending pictures of you in an oven and all sorts of things.
IOFFE: Right. Right or a caricature of a Jew being shot execution style with the subject line being, “we're on to you.” And I think it’s interesting that now that Melania is — the first lady is now, you know, her campaign is be best and it's against cyber-bullying, but when there was a clear example of cyber-bullying, she said, well, the victim provoked it.
DAVID URBAN: It’s terrible. It’s terrible.
IOFFE: Please don't interrupt me. I have to agree with Symone here. I think, you know, this President, one of the things that he really launched his presidential run on is talking about Islamic radicalization and this President has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did. I mean, the way he talks, the way he — the way he —
URBAN: That's just — it's unconscionable for you to say.
IOFFE: The way that he allows these — the way he winks and nods to these groups. The way he says, I know I'm not supposed to say it, but I'm a nationalist. The way that he hems and haws when he has to condemn these people and kind of — gritting his teeth, kind of says, fine, okay, I condemn this, but then, you know, and all this —
URBAN: Jake, for you not to push back. Wait, hold on, for you not to push back that is irresponsible.
TAPPER: You’re about to push back.
URBAN: That’s irrespirable for her to say, the President of the United States has radicalized more people than ISIS is irresponsible.
TAPPER: Well, okay. You disagree with it and I’m bringing you in and Mona in to contradict here.
SYMONE SANDERS: Why do you disagree? Why do you disagree?
URBAN: Because it’s not true. It’s factually not true. You can — based upon what? How many — how many — how many camps have you gone to and interrogated ISIS folks. Have — do you know? What do you base it upon?
IOFFE: ISIS had like 10,000 members. I think the President has far more supporters who espouse an equally hateful ideology that dehumanizes other people.
URBAN: Julia, you're — and Symone — and Symone, listen and Jake, you raised this on TV the other day. You raised this yesterday. When Louis Farrakhan sat next to Bill Clinton the other day, where was the outrage? Where was the outrage of the Jewish community?
IOFFE: Louis Farrakhan is not the President of the United States.
SANDERS: I’m sorry. I don’t understand what — hold on, hold on, hold up now. What does Lewis Farrakhan have to do with me? This is craziness. We have —
URBAN I'm not talking about you, Simone. I’m talking about the Democratic Party.
SANDERS: I really believe that we should be able to have a conversation and get to the issue. The root of the issue is the President of the United States has aligned himself with white nationalists. He called himself a nationalist. He has aligned himself with neo-Nazis. And he is stoking the flames of what’s happening in this country.
MONA CHAREN: Get back to Jake's original question. Why does it matter if the President doesn't do this or does do it, right? And it matters because whether the American people thought this through or not, we do care about our president setting a moral tone. And at moments like this, we need him to. It feels, you know, very unsettling and nervous-making for people to see a president who is reluctant somehow to condemn evil, call it by its name.
URBAN: He just called it out.
CHAREN: Yeah, but he does it in this very mechanical way.
URBAN: Didn't do it well enough for you?
CHAREN: And then he backs up. Hold on a minute.
IOFFE: He didn't.
CHAREN: The fact is, the President has a special responsibility. He is a moral actor. And you're right, you can do whataboutism all day. I've done it throughout my entire career. Not whataboutism but pointing out the left's hypocrisies and the left's incitements. But when you're president, it's different. You can't just point to some person on the left and say, well, you know, they did something bad and then say, so it's okay for the president of the United States to do it.
URBAN: The thesis around this table is the President wants an unsafe future for his Jewish grandchildren.
TAPPER: No, I don't think -- I don't think people are saying that.
CHAREN: He's indifferent -- to whether he is sending coded signals to some people.
URBAN: He's indifferent…
CHAREN: He’s indifferent to whether he’s sending coded signals to some people in his audience. Yes.
IOFFE: He knows his grandchildren are going to be just fine with Secret Service protection. The rest of us.
URBAN: You think so, right. They're not going to have it for the rest of their life Julia.
TAPPER: But here’s my question. Here's my question.
URBAN: Can you say that with a straight face?
TAPPER: Sarah Sanders today said she cited Eric Holder saying, talking about kicking people. And Eric Holder went on to say he meant it figuratively not literally.
CHAREN: It was awful.
TAPPER: I'm not supporting it, I’m just trying to provide the full context. Hillary Clinton saying, when our opponents are that bad, we don't need to be civil. Exactly. Either it's important for leaders to set moral examples for their supporters or it's not. That's what I don't understand. Why do we have this standard? I know --
IOFFE: The thing is, Hillary Clinton is -- has never been president. She is now a leader, a Democratic leader. So is Eric Holder now in this capacity. President Donald Trump is the president of all of us. And he has to send a message to all of us. Not just the people who come at his rallies and say CNN sucks, and beat up reporters. And the caravan is full of criminals and middle easterners. He is the president of all of us. Not just his Jewish grandchildren. You know, like, to focus it just on his Jewish grandchildren, he's my president too. And I'm a Jewish citizen in this country and I feel deeply unsafe now.
TAPPER: I want to ask --
URBAN I had dinner last night with one of my Jewish friends who came here, supported by HIAS was brought here --
TAPPER: From the same refugee company.
URBAN: The same refugee company, right. Huge supporter, works for the administration.
SANDERS: What does that have to do with the President stoking the flames?
URBAN: I understand. That's my point. You feel the way you do, because of your political beliefs.
SANDERS: There's not, no.
CHAREN: So, you're saying there's absolutely no problem with the tone that the President has set.
URBAN: No, I'm not saying that.
CHAREN: It sounds like that.
URBAN: No, I'm not.
SANDERS: Do you have issue with his tone, yes or no? It's a yes or no question.
URBAN: No, it isn't.
TAPPER: So, here's my question for you. This is a legitimate question that I think a lot of conservatives really honestly feel, that when people say President Trump's words have an effect on especially the Florida would-be bomber, let's just focus on him for now. But it's not fair that media doesn't hold Bernie Sanders responsible for the supporter of his who shot up that baseball field and almost killed House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. He was — now, I asked Bernie about it at the time. I said, do you think -- you know, do you think calling for a revolution, et cetera, incites people. He denied it, he decried the violence. Explain why you think it's different. I really mean this. There are a lot of good-faith people, conservatives, who think this is a double standard.
SANDERS: Bernie Sanders is calling for a political revolution of ideas. He has never incited violence, he has never talked about beating up protesters. He has never called anyone the enemy. He has said that Wall Street should be held accountable and they should go to jail for bringing America to the brink of collapse. But he’s never incited violence. He's never other anyone.
And when there were folks in our coalition that were doing that, I and others and the senators spoke up against that. I think that's why this is different. Donald Trump has had ample opportunity to check his coalition. He has yet to check it. We see story after story. I don't know if it was -- I forget which outlet reported it. But it was reported that Ivanka and Jared had to coast and cog and pull Donald Trump into giving a strong statement. That's problematic. Let me tell you why rhetoric matters.
IOFFE: Or to lower the flag to half-staff.
SANDERS: Yes. To lower the flag to half-staff, to say something about Pittsburgh. This rhetoric matters, because people that are not in the majority, people that are in marginalized communities are literally under attack. They are fearing for their lives when radicalized people see what the President and his supporters and folks are saying, they it's okay.
URBAN: So, specifically, what would you like him to say.
SANDERS: I would like him to stop stoking — I would like him to stop — one, I would like him to stop calling himself a nationalist. I would like him to not just call for civility, but say I too have contributed to this and from this day forward I'm going to be better. I would like him to not condemn anti-Semitism in one breath and calling CNN the enemy of the people in the next.
4:53 p.m. Eastern
TAPPER: Let's talk about some stuff with our panel. I want to get to the conspiracy theories in a second. But first, we have some house-cleaning. Because the Republican National Committee is jumping on your comments you, earlier in the show, said that Donald Trump has radicalized more people than ISIS has. David and Mona disagreed with you strongly. This was something you wanted to clarify.
IOFFE: I do want to clarify. I think I spoke in the heat of the moment. This has been an emotional and personal painful time for me. I think I exaggerated and I apologize for that. But, the point I was trying ham-fistedly to make, is that it's not a coincidence that according to the ADL, the number of anti-Semitic attacks has jumped by nearly 60 percent in the first year that Donald Trump was in office. And it's no coincidence, because even though the main danger is home-grown, right-wing extremists as many studies have pointed out, this administration has methodically shifted resources away from monitoring those people, away from trying to control those people and keep them from committing violence. But I do apologize for that heated rhetoric.
IOFFE: Let's just say it's not factual.
TAPPER: And David, you wanted to take Bob Woodward's interpretation of the interview with Trump where you said he brings rage out in people.
URBAN: When you listen to the audio, I sat and listened to it carefully and I think you were trying to make the point to Bob, what the President says he brings rage out in people because people hate the President. Not that he goes to rallies and tries to incite rage. It says that their natural state. The President says, look, I don't know if that's good or bad. But I have a very strong — I illicit very strong emotions is what the President was saying there.
TAPPER: Okay, little house-cleaning there.