MSNBC Goes Conspiracy in Georgia: ‘Please Win Fair and Square, Brian Kemp’

MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle and one of her guests on Friday jumped into conspiracy theory territory while discussing the post-election gubernatorial fight in Georgia. At one point, she lectured Republican Brian Kemp, who appears to have emerged victorious, “Please win fair and square, Brian Kemp.” 

Guest Jason Johnson of the website The Root called the whole election “rigged”: “You got a lot of young people out there that if this happens, if they can see that somebody can rig an election this way and then be made governor, it will disenchant and disenfranchise so many young people.” 

 

 

After guest Tim Phillips from Americans for Prosperity dismissed this idea, Ruhle badgered him to agree that Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State, should recuse himself: 

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Tim, why wouldn’t Brian Kemp recuse himself? 

TIM PHILLIPS: I’m not going to get into whether or not he should recuse himself or not. You’re here. I can ask your opinion. 

RULE: Why not? Hold up. Back up. Do you think that Brian Kemp should recuse himself? 

RUHLE: I don't have an opinion on that. 

RUHLE: Yes, you do. Come on now. You think I invited you here to have no opinion? Try again. 

PHILLIPS: Jason, a rigged election is a bit much. That’s a silly statement. 

RUHLE: Okay, then we're not going to say an election is rigged. 

PHILLIPS: That's just a silly statement. 

Eventually, Ruhle lectured Kemp: “The right thing to do, please win fair and square. Recusing yourself would really be a good idea.” 

A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more: 

MSNBC Live
11/9/18
9:09

STEPHANIE RUHLE: I want to bring in my panel. It is an excellent one. Jason Johnson, politics editor at The Root and Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. Tim, to you first. We have run into these types of situations before. Do we need to change the way we vote in this country? Every time I go to vote, I think millions and millions of dollars are put into these campaigns and I go to vote and it is so antiquated. It is so backwards. My mom has been working at polls all my life. I'm like, is it my mom, some lady named Doris and Helen that are deciding the future of our democracy? Like, it seems ridiculous to me. 

TIM PHILLIPS (Americans for Prosperity President): Representative democracy can be messy. We’re seeing that right now. I know that.  Here’s the difference: In Georgia and in Arizona, it seems they have it more under control. They can tell you, “Hey, this many ballots are outstanding. We are simply counting them.” So, in Georgia, they're walking through the provisional ballots. In Arizona, they're still counting through. But even, they can say this is how many ballots are out. This is where they are. The disturbing thing in Florida and why I think Governor Scott is smart to be doing what he's doing.

RUHLE: To say left wing liberals are down there? Which part is the smart part? 

PHILLIPS: To simply start a lawsuit that says they can’t even tell us how many ballots are outstanding. They keep finding ballots. That’s different, Stephanie. That’s different from Arizona and Georgia. And given the history of that Broward's office in the ‘16 Democratic primary when their preferred candidate, suddenly ballots were found there. There were legal issues there. Florida's I think worse than Arizona and Georgia, where at least they can tell you, “Hey. In Georgia, we're looking at provisional ballots.” It’s a more difficult process. Florida can't even tell you how many ballots we're talk about at this point. 

RUHLE: Okay, than given that history, Jason, do we need to change the way we vote in this country? Does it need to be on a weekend? Does every state have to be the same? It’s crazy to think that Georgia and Arizona have it figured out, but Florida doesn’t. One nation under God. 

JASON JOHNSON: Georgia and Arizona don’t have it figured out. Brian Kemp has been reffing his own fight for this entire campaign. That is a huge conflict of interest. He has not been releasing information. You have got Freedom of Information requests. It’s over 150 counties in Georgia. Freedom of Information requests about which ballots are spoiled, which ballots are provisional. And he’s not sharing that information. The Secretary of State office shares it with the Brian Kemp campaign which is the same guy. That is not how democracy works. 

...

JOHNSON: You got a lot of young people out there that if this happens, if they can see that somebody can rig an election this way and then be made governor, it will disenchant and disenfranchise so many young people. 

...

RUHLE: To that point, Tim, why wouldn’t Brian Kemp recuse himself? 

PHILLIPS: I’m not going to get into whether or not he should recuse himself or not. You’re here. I can ask your opinion. 

RULE: Why not? Hold up. Back up. Do you think that Brian Kemp should recuse himself? 

RUHLE: I don't have an opinion on 

RUHLE: Yes, you do. Come on now. You think I invited you here to have no opinion? Try again. 

PHILLIPS: Jason, a rigged election is a bit much. That’s a silly statement. 

RUHLE: Okay, then we're not going to say an election is rigged. 

PHILLIPS: That's just a silly statement. 

JOHNSON: If you've been repeatedly chastised by the court, the court say, “Hey, look, your job is to inform the local agencies to change it.” And he didn't do it. 

RUHLE: In Jason’s opinion, it is rigged. I would like to know your opinion. Is it appropriate for Brian Kemp to remain in charge of the election in the state where he is running for governor? You definitely have an opinion on this.  

PHILLIPS: It's appropriate under the law to do it. Whether or not you choose to do it is another thing. It probably would have been cleaner to say, “You know what? I’m going to step aside, run this campaign full time. Most campaigns are full time. So folks ought to step away from their positions, whether it's congress or state legislature or anything else. But to say that it's a rigged election is too far. By the way, most state constitutions have chosen to make it the Secretary of State’s office an elective office. That’s a constitutional question that a state or — 

RUHLE: If it was the reverse, if Stacey Abrams was secretary of state and didn't recuse herself, what would you think?  

PHILLIPS: I just said I think it's better for most elected officers to step away from their positions.  

RUHLE: So, which elected officers is it better if they don’t? 

PHILLIPS: I think it’s good for all of them. Don’t you? 

RUHLE: I do. We just got to it. 

PHILLIPS: But to suggest it's rigged is wrong, that's going too far. 

JOHNSON: You have 700 voting machines that were in bubble wrap. You had county officials that were saying we could have used these to slow down some of these lines. And it only seems to be happening in areas — 

PHILLIPS: That’s incompetence. 

JOHNSON: Yes, but it’s his job to fix that incompetence. 

PHILLIPS: Actually, the local board of elections is running hte local elections. 

JOHNSON: He is the secretary of elections. It’s his job. 

PHILLIPS: You think he should have gone to Fulton County to say — 

RUHLE: It’s my job to take us to commercials. So, we’re going to leave it there. You know what our takeaway is that both of these gentlemen and I think, you know what, Brian Kemp? The right thing to do, please win fair and square. Recusing yourself would really be a good idea. And if you’re the best candidate, may the best candidate win. I think we’re in agreement on that. 

PHILLIPS: It was a fair and square election. That was not a rigged election. That’s silly. That’s silly talk. 

 


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