There’s too hot for TV and then there’s too wrong for Tapper.
The anchor of CNN’s two-hour mid-afternoon show “The Lead” suggested to his colleagues Tuesday that he would bar Republicans from appearing if they were “not willing to stick to standards and facts.”
“How am I supposed to believe anything they say?” Tapper asked “New Day” hosts John Berman and Brianna Keilar. “If they’re willing to lie about Joe Biden wanting to steal your hamburgers and QAnon and the Big Lie about the election, what are they not willing to lie about? Why should I put any of them on TV?”
The outburst by Tapper comes against the backdrop of a campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the chair of the House Republican Conference, the third-ranking position in the GOP caucus.
Cheney, one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in connection with the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, has repeatedly slammed Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by Democrats and insisted the 45th president should be exiled from the party.
On Monday, Cheney told the Post that senators who led efforts to challenge the results of the election should be disqualified from seeking the GOP nomination in 2024 — a move that would rule out potential contenders Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, though the latter has said he will not run.
The following day, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was caught on a hot mic telling “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy that “I’ve had it with her,” referring to Cheney.
“I’ve lost confidence …,” McCarthy said prior to a live interview with the network. “Someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.” Once the cameras were on, McCarthy was more circumspect, telling Doocy that his fellow Republicans were “concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message” ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
Cheney has already survived one vote to oust her from leadership back in February, but observers doubt whether she will make it through a second challenge.
Back on CNN, Tapper — who also co-hosts CNN’s Sunday morning current affairs program “State of the Union” alongside Dana Bash — lambasted the House Republican leader.
“It’s remarkable that standing up for just basic facts is now controversial within the Republican Party,” he said.
“I happen to think the reason that the House Republican leader is so frustrated with Liz Cheney is not because of all the excuses he gives, but because her continued presence is a reminder of the fact that he [McCarthy] is exemplifying cowardice and lies …”
“The lie about the election on its own is anti-democracy and it is sowing seeds of ignorance in the populace and, obviously, it has the potential to incite violence,” Tapper later added.
“But beyond that is, if you’re willing to lie about that, what are you not willing to lie about? And, you know, that’s where we are when it comes to the House Republican leadership — McCarthy and [House Minority Whip Steve] Scalise and where we are with too many leaders of the Republican Party. They’re not willing to tell their voters the truth. What does that say about them?”
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