Appearing on CBS This Morning, former RNC Chair Reince Priebus excoriated co-host Tony Dokoupil for his “ridiculous” connection of riots in Wisconsin to proof that the Republican Party is “giving up on “broadening” its appeal. Determined to not sit back and take the liberal narrative, the former White House Chief of Staff accused CBS of “dismissing the fear that people have in this country of wild violence.”
Dokoupil began by offering this linkage: “You're a Kenosha native and not too long ago you were calling for the renewal of the Republican Party by broadening the base, reaching out to minority voters.” He continued, “The President yesterday seemed committed to a very different strategy. He only visited sites of destruction. He praised law enforcement. He did not acknowledge systemic racism. Has he given up on trying to broaden his appeal?”
Priebus shot back: “[You] are you missing and dismissing the fear that people have in this country for wild violence put on by people who come from out of town, destroying cities and businesses, and it needs to be addressed.”
After agreeing that the situation surrounding the Jacob Blake shooting should be discussed, Priebus shot down Dokoupil’s premise: “You can do both things. You can address the issues…. But your setup is ridiculous. This has nothing to do with broadening the base of the Republican Party.”
The attempted pummeling of Priebus stands in stark contrast to Dokoupil’s other guest, Joel Payne, a former 2016 Hillary Clinton operative. The CBS This Morning tossed this softball: “I want to bring in Joel now to get his reaction to what you've just said, Reince, and also to talk about the President's strategy overall versus Joe Biden's. Joel, what do you think?”
"What do you think?" In other words, “Hammer the guy I was just hammering.”
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
8:03 Am ET
ANTHONY MASON: While the president was there, there were some clashes between protesters and his supporters. But the majority of events remained peaceful. The reverend Jesse Jackson was among those at a rally calling for justice for Jacob Blake.
TONY DOKOUPIL: Joining us is CBS News political analyst and Kenosha native Reince Priebus who traveled to Wisconsin with the president. He previously served as the President's White House chief of staff, as well. Also with us, CBS News political contributor Joel Payne, he is the former director of African-American advertising for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Good morning to both of you. Reince, I want to start with you. Because you're exactly the person to talk to this morning because you're a Kenosha native and not too long ago you were calling for the renewal of the Republican Party by broadening the base, reaching out to minority voters. The President yesterday seemed committed to a very different strategy. He only visited sites of destruction. He praised law enforcement. He did not acknowledge systemic racism. Has he given up on trying to broaden his appeal?
REINCE PRIEBUS: I think you're missing in your intro, the 7:00 hour, your intro here, are you missing and dismissing the fear that people have in this country for wild violence put on by people who come from out of town, destroying cities and businesses, and it needs to be addressed. First -- Do things like the Jacob Blake shooting need to be addressed? Absolutely. You can do both things. You can address the issues --
DOKOUPIL: I agree you can do both things. That is exactly the point --
PRIEBUS: Right . But your setup is ridiculous. This has nothing to do with broadening the base of the Republican Party. Yes, the Republican Party needs to add, they need to multiply. They can't subtract people out of the room. They need talk to people of all races, all backgrounds, and talk about the issues that matter in America.
DOKOUPIL: Well, Mr. Priebus, you can do both things. My question pertains to why the President has not been doing both things. He's talking only to one side of this issue and not acknowledging the grievances of the many thousands of peaceful people in the streets. Not only in Kenosha but in cities all across the country. I want to bring in Joel now to get his reaction to what you've just said, Reince, and also to talk about the president's strategy overall versus Joe Biden's. Joel, what do you think?
JOEL PAYNE: Well, I think, Tony, I think your lead-in makes sense. I do think the president needs to be talking to both sides. I think that's what the moment calls for is presidential leadership.
GAYLE KING: Reince, it's true what you're saying in terms of people were very glad to see him yesterday. I saw the crowds lined up, cheering the President on as he drove by. This is the thing that is hard for people to take -- everybody agrees that that the looting, the violence, nobody on either side likes that. But it seems that the president only denounces it when it is against him. He doesn't -- he doesn't seem to embrace the violence on both sides. And I think that's what many people are struggling with. I'm wondering how do you address it? How condemned the protesters as thugs. But on the other side, when he was asked about Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man --
DOKOUPIL: Rittenhouse --
KING: Rittenhouse, when he was asked that, he seemed to be giving him a pass. I think that's why it's so difficult. He seems to be sending mixed messages. Do you disagree with that premise?
KING: Joel, how do we advance the conversation when people can't acknowledge that there's systemic racism. I think, Reince, look at the numbers, numbers of black people killed by police compared to the number of white people that are killed by police. Clearly there's a problem, and it's always reduced to there are a few bad apples. Nobody wants any bad apples. People want justice. They want -- when it does happen, they want police to be held accountable. Heretofore that does not seem to be the case. And I think that's why it's so frustrating. Joel, I want you to pick up the question about systemic racism. The two sides are so far apart on this.