During Sunday’s AM Joy, fill-in host Jonathan Capehart and his panel discussed yet another tweet from President Trump dubbing the news media as the "enemy of the people" with Capehart arguing that Trump's tweet has “real world consequences,” referring to a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of CNN headquarters hours after the President sent out that tweet.
Capehart then asked panelist and faux Republican Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin: “At what point are we going to hear more Republicans...stand up to the President, stand up for their party, and stand up for the country when its democratic institutions are under attack?” In response, Rubin called on Democrats to “hold hearings on domestic, right-wing terrorism.”
Rubin also called on Republicans representing blue or purple states, like Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, and Senator-elect Mitt Romney, to “say something on domestic terrorism.” She also argued that “it would do a great service to the country and maybe deter him a little bit if this were presented as a policy issue, a serious policy issue and a national security threat.”
Fellow panelist and Post colleague Dana Milbank did not share Rubin’s optimism, fretting that congressional Republicans would not push back on President Trump’s rhetoric because “they can’t survive without the Trump base” and that “an even bigger blood letting in 2020 than they did in 2018” would be the only thing that would change their minds
Voto Latino's Maria Teresa Kumar was closer to Rubin, hoping that Romney would “speak a little truth” and surmised: “That is why he went is that he wants to be that statesman, that person that stands up. He is still trying to live in the shadow of his father. And his father was a great Republican that was able to bring people together. And I think that is what he is trying to do. He is trying to basically say, look, this is what patriotism in America looks like.”
Capehart closed the segment with a plea: “Save us, Mitt Romney. You’re our only hope.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of Sunday’s edition of AM Joy is below. Click “expand” to read more.
MSNBC's AM Joy
11:09 a.m. Eastern
JONATHAN CAPEHART : The President, in terms of these echo chambers, the echo chamber, the messages that he is sending out and the people that they are hearing, he sent out a tweet last week, all caps, “FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
GABRIEL SHERMAN: Yeah.
CAPEHART: That night, Thursday night, he did that. And then a few hours later, CNN offices here in New York City were evacuated.
CAPEHART: I mean these, we talk about “Earth to” and echo chamber of Trump supporters but they have real world consequences.
SHERMAN: It’s disgusting. You know, we have seen this, you know, emerge from the far right, where we have these, you know, absurd, extreme conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and then all it takes is, you know, one crazy person to act on it, you know, either walk into a pizza parlor with a gun or send bombs through the mail. And I think this is where the President, you know, the media, you know, covers him as this, you know, grand reality show. This is reality in the real sense of the word. This is life and death and the President is completely out of line in using this extremist, violent rhetoric from the bully pulpit of the White House. And so, we see this time and again. And I just think at the end of the day, it will be Republicans, the only way, I don’t even think if Republicans, you know, tell the President to stop using this language if he will listen. But clearly, you know, the media and the rest of the country have said this is unacceptable and yet, he continues to do it.
CAPEHART: And I just want to make, I just want to be very clear here that I’m not saying that the person who called in the bomb threat to CNN is a Fox News viewer. The point of that question was to say that when you have the President of the United States continually attacking the press and saying that the press is fake news, the enemy of the people; that it has real world consequences. And let’s not forget, last month, we were dealing with pipe bombs that were being sent to the leaders within the Democratic Party by someone who took those, took those messages of the President dangerously to heart. Jennifer, to Gabriel’s point, at what point are we going hear more Republicans, Congressional Republicans who aren’t retiring, who aren’t leaving Capitol Hill but who are still going to be there, stand up to the President, stand up for their party and stand up for the country when its democratic institutions are under attack?
JENNIFER RUBIN: Well, I would have hoped this would have happened a long, long time ago and I’m not terribly optimistic. I will say this though. There are a few Republicans in blue and purple states who are up in 2020. Joni Ernst being one. You have…
RUBIN: …Exactly, in Iowa. And it’s those people I think who…and Cory Gardner in Colorado, it’s those people who better start putting some distance between themselves and the President before they face the voters. So if there’s any hope, I think it would be in those people. And I will say one other thing, my greatest hope, and this is how desperate we all are, is really Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney owes nothing to this President.
RUBIN: And he can at least say something. He doesn’t have to do anything. But I would say something on the domestic terrorism and it is domestic terrorism. Here is where Democrats can make a difference. They need to hold hearings on domestic right wing terrorism and explore these things. They have to make legislative proposals. This President has essentially denied the phenomenon of domestic terrorism because he wants to go after Muslims and it is a threat to the country. We not only saw the pipe bombs but we saw someone motivated by the caravan to go into a temple in Pittsburgh and kill…
RUBIN: …you know, innocent people. So I think it would do a great service to the country and maybe deter him a little bit if this were presented as a policy issue, a serious policy issue and a national security threat.
CAPEHART: Dana, you have trolled the halls of Capitol Hill, walked into all of those offices. You know those people up there in the Capitol, how confident are you, to Jennifer’s point, that these purple…blue state, purple state Republicans will find…will find the courage to stand on their own two feet and speak truth to power when necessary?
DANA MILBANK: I have near 100 percent confidence that they won’t. And I think, isn’t that about the saddest commentary on our times that Jennifer’s right in saying that our greatest hope is Mitt Romney? But no, you know, and there is logic to it. They can’t, they can’t survive without the Trump base, 90 percent of which is still with this guy. It is political suicide. And you would have thought that some people would say, okay, country first, particularly after this week and the Bush funeral. It hasn’t happened so far. I don’t…I think they are just going to have to see an even bigger blood letting in 2020 than they did in 2018.
CAPEHART: Maria Teresa Kumar, I am going to give you, give you the last word. Your faith in Mitt Romney, Jennifer said that he could, he just has to say something. He doesn’t have to do anything. But isn’t that with what we went through with Senator Flake, who said lots of things but when it came time to vote he voted 90 something percent of the time with the President?
MARIA TERESA KUMAR: Well, what’s interesting about the state of Utah is that you have the opportunity to actually allow yourself to vote more moderately, believe it or not and you’re seeing changes in demographics. And I do think that he has the opportunity, in the state that he’s representing, to actually speak a little truth and I think that is why he went is that he wants to be that statesman, that person that stands up. He is still trying to live in the shadow of his father. And his father was a great Republican that was able to bring people together. And I think that is what he is trying to do. He is trying to basically say, look, this is what patriotism in America looks like.
CAPEHART: That is the Princess Leia strategy. Save us, Mitt Romney. You’re our only hope.