Conservative Panelists Fight Media’s ‘Blood in the Water’ Narrative

As this author noted earlier on Sunday, the liberal media is adamant they smell President Trump’s blood in the water and they’re eager to declare his presidency dead. But during the network Sunday talk shows on ABC and NBC, their conservative panelists pushed back hard on that narrative and even mocked how they make the same claim “every other week”.

During ABC’s This Week, fill-in host and chief White House correspondent Jon Karl actually suggested that “Democrats smell blood” to former acting DNC head Donna Brazile. A short time later, Brazile argued that, “the President, he's unraveled. Things are unraveling. By the way, he promised a beautiful wall. Now we're talking about steel slats.”

After joking about how he found steel slats “beautiful”, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) mocked how he didn’t “have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times” on that show he heard Democrats say it's unraveling over the last two years. ‘It's unraveling. This is it. This is the fulcrum. This is the point when it’s all going to fall apart.’

“It feels a little differently this time doesn’t it,” Karl urged him to consider. “No, listen, it doesn't feel differently to me. This is who this President is. So, why are we surprised that he's upending everything. That's who he is. That's who people voted for,” Christie proclaimed.

About 10 minutes later, New York Times Washington Bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller was revealing in how their reporting that morning asserted that President Trump felt “very isolated in the White House. He sees enemies everywhere. He's more distant from his children. He doesn’t listen to Jared and Ivanka. He’s watching a lot of television. He doesn’t come down to the Oval Office until 11:00 a.m. most days.”

 

 

Clearly unwilling to accept the narrative, National Review editor Rich Lowry interrupted her to point out how “every other week we’ve had this news cycle that says the whole thing’s falling apart.” “My belief is just, the wheels are never quite coming off the way they seem they’re coming off,” he continued. “This has been a bad week but he’ll get someone respectable to be defense secretary. These are plum jobs that people want.”

Meanwhile, on NBC’s Meet the Press, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt was pushing back on moderator Chuck Todd’s summation that it was the “functional end” of Trump’s presidency.

Hewitt admitted he was frustrated because Trump always found a way to step on his good news but he had a long list of accomplishments which included: “Two Supreme Court justices, 30 appeals court justices, massive tax cut, massive tax reform, we haven’t even talked about the bipartisan prison reform on Monday, the farm bill on Tuesday, the Jerusalem embassy.”

He was even confident about Trump’s chances for reelection. “And I was just watching Julian Castro. He can't beat Donald Trump. I'll take any bet anybody wants to make, he could not beat Donald Trump. They're not big enough,” he told Todd.

Not happy with that answer, Todd went to liberal PBS News Hour reporter Yamiche Alcindor to get the conservative take. “I think mainstream conservatives, and I would also say far-right conservatives, you can see patient waning thin this week because you had Rush Limbaugh basically saying the president’s caving,” she said.

A few minutes later, Todd gave Hewitt one more chance, asking, “If he backs off this wall, is his base gone?” And Hewitt couldn’t have disagreed more: “No, this is where people misread the Republican Party. Five percent of the base is gone. It is overstated, overvalued, overheard. But this shutdown – If, he defines it as Chuck Schumer is keeping the government shut over $5 billion out of $4 trillion in outlays, he wins.”

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s This Week
December 23, 2018
9:43:17 a.m. Eastern

(…)

JON KARL: But Donna, explain to me why Democrats are not willing to give anything on this. Couldn’t they get – they can get all – I mean come on, get what you can get out of Trump.

[Donna Brazile groans]

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Wow, that’s was quite a groan you gave there.

RICH LOWRY: What was that sound.

DONNA BRAZILE: That is the sound of Nancy Pelosi about to power take power and we’re going to wield it! No, I'm groaning because Democrats have offered this President a little bit to get a lot more and he rejected it. He rejected it because he thought he could get even more from a Republican-controlled Congress. He didn’t get it. My good friend [to Chris Christie], it's Christmas, so me and you are going to show a little love right here. Let me say this, the President, he's unraveled. Things are unraveling. By the way, he promised a beautiful wall. Now we're talking about steel slats.

CHRISTIE: I think steel slats are beautiful.

[Laughter from the panel]

BRAZILE Really?

CHRISTIE: Donna listen, I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times that I’ve sat on this set or the one in New York and heard Democrats say it's unraveling over the last two years. “It's unraveling. This is it. This is the fulcrum. This is the point when it’s all going to fall apart.”

BRAZILE: Would you prefer the chaos? It’s chaotic.

KARL: It feels a little differently this time doesn’t it?

CHRISTIE: No, listen, it doesn't feel differently to me. This is who this President is. So, why are we surprised that he's upending everything. That's who he is. That's who people voted for.

(…)

9:53:33 a.m. Eastern

ELISABETH BUMILLER: McConnell’s criticism this week about Mattis' resignation and how he couldn’t agree with the President was a big, big warning sign for Trump about Republicans. I mean, McConnell is very disciplined, we all know that, doesn’t show his cards. The fact that that statement was so tough, we know what McConnell thinks privately which is Trump is a big problem for the party. But to have it said publicly is a big problem. Trump is – fabulous reporting this morning by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman. You know, he’s very isolated in the White House. He sees enemies everywhere. He's more distant from his children. He doesn’t listen to Jared and Ivanka. He’s watching a lot of television. He doesn’t come down to the Oval Office until 11:00 a.m. most days. I mean, this is not—

RICH LOWRY: I’m with Chris on this. Every other week we’ve had this news cycle.

CHRISTIE: Armageddon.

LOWRY: That says the whole thing’s falling apart. My belief is just, the wheels are never quite coming off the way they seem they’re coming off. This has been a bad week but he’ll get someone respectable to be defense secretary. These are plum jobs that people want.

(…)

NBC’s Meet the Press
December 23, 2018
11:22:56 a.m. Eastern

CHUCK TODD: Hugh Hewitt, what is your level of patience on this stuff? You were a national security conservative. I know you're not happy about this. This sort of, the upheaval. I asked Pat Toomey at what point, if this were a Democratic president, you’d be all over it. Right? You’d be criticizing the behavior and all this stuff but there has been this hesitance, why?

HUGH HEWITT: I'm frustrated because so much has gotten done. Two Supreme Court justices, 30 appeals court justices, massive tax cut, massive tax reform, we haven’t even talked about the bipartisan prison reform on Monday, the farm bill on Tuesday, the Jerusalem embassy. President Donald Trump has a long list of accomplishment but he does always seem to step on his story. And in foreign policy, the massive military rebuild is good if you keep Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador John Bolton in the room and listen to them. He has a great national security team, Gina Haspel. He'll new good secretary defense. He’s got a great story to tell. And I was just watching Julian Castro. He can't beat Donald Trump. I'll take any bet anybody wants to make, he could not beat Donald Trump. They're not big enough. They have to go after a long list of achievements and a huge personality.

TODD: But I go back to can the president keep -- you know, how more patience does -- do sort of mainstream conservatives have?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I think mainstream conservatives, and I would also say far-right conservatives, you can see patient waning thin this week because you had Rush Limbaugh basically saying the president’s caving. You had Laura Ingraham saying bring on the shutdown. You had these Republicans who usually sing Donald Trump's praises basic telling him, “look, you need to be a little stronger on this and you need to figure out your message.”

(…)

11:27:55 a.m. Eastern

TODD: Hugh, you said something during the Kavanaugh hearings. That if Kavanaugh – If they back off on Kavanaugh, it will be a disaster for the Republican Party. If he backs off this wall, is his base gone?

HEWITT: No, this is where people misread the Republican Party. Five percent of the base is gone. It is overstated, overvalued, overheard. But this shutdown – If, he defines it as Chuck Schumer is keeping the government shut over $5 billion out of $4 trillion in outlays, he wins. Whatever he gets in the end, and what Dick Durbin told you, the news out of the show is that the Democrats will raise the money if they change the wording. President Trump should take that and get the fentanyl stopped. You can go point at that new point of entry. He should take that deal.

(…)

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