NPR Host Inskeep Asks Jeffries About 'Extreme Right Wing,' Avoids Talk of Democrat Radicals

November 16th, 2023 10:48 PM

NPR Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep interviewed House Democrat leader Hakeem Jeffries on Tuesday, and once again, he was every bit as accommodating as he was in his many softball interviews with Barack Obama. Inskeep asked if new Speaker Mike Johnson was "extreme right wing," but he skipped asking Jeffries about his party's extreme left wing, especially the censure of radical Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

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Jeffries loaded in the extreme-right labels. "Extreme MAGA Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that they cannot govern without House Democrats," he said. He expressed satisfaction that the current spending proposal avoided "right-wing policy provisions designed to undermine reproductive freedom, get rid of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, or target the LGBTQ+ community. Our current evaluation of the continuing resolution presented by Speaker Johnson is that it does not include extraneous and extreme right-wing policy provisions."

Inskeep asked Jeffries if Speaker Johnson was someone he could work with, and Jeffries explained "We have had several positive, forward-looking and direct conversations over the last week or two since he ascended into the position." But then, more extreme-right chatter:

INSKEEP: Do you view him as a member of his party's extreme right wing, as someone who is trying to control his party's extreme right wing, as some other way that you would define him? How do you see him?

JEFFRIES: Well Speaker Johnson's, you know, views in terms of the very conservative end of the spectrum speak for themselves. But now he is in a different position where he has to manage the entirety of the House Republican Conference and figure out a way to move the country forward in a manner that takes into account the reality that Joe Biden is the president of the United States, and Democrats are in the majority in the United States Senate.

This is as close as Inskeep came to Rashida Tlaib promoting the Hamas slogan "from the river to the sea," a reference to the eradication of Israel. "You have supported Israel up to now. You have opposed what you view as extreme language against Israel. But of course, civilian casualties are growing in Gaza. Are you in a different place than some of your voter coalition on the Democratic side?"

Inskeep could only challenge Jeffries from the left: "Would you make any warning or advice to Israel saying, effectively, I support you, but don't go too far, you'll hurt your own cause?" Jeffries didn't bite, speaking only of the "need to decisively defeat Hamas." That's not Tlaib's position.