A Fox News panel debating the recent mail bombs quickly went off the rails as a debate over civility got heated.
Fox News host Bill Hemmer struggled to regain control on “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday after Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany, Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov, and Washington Free Beacon senior writer Elizabeth Harrington locked horns over President Donald Trump’s reaction to the spate of bomb scares.
Trump “exhibited leadership” McEnany noted, adding that the media should “instead of blaming the President, take a cue from the President.”
The president “called for this country to come together, instead of attacking one another, it is time to stand behind the president,” she said, referring to Trump’s call for “unity” in a statement he made Wednesday following the rash of suspicious packages bearing pipe bombs being delivered to top Democrats.
McEnany called out The New York Times for publishing a “shameful” piece Thursday fantasizing about Trump being assassinated.
“I disagree with Kayleigh,” Tarlov declared, pointing to Trump’s speech at a rally Wednesday in which he “controlled” himself but was still “poking fun” at the idea of being presidential.
“And then this morning, he tweeted that it was CNN’s fault, which is basically akin to, if a woman to get sexually assaulted, was it her fault for wearing a short skirt. He’s been completely inappropriate–”
“Really?” Hemmer interjected.
“You don’t think so?” Tarlov responded condescendingly. “That tweet this morning saying that CNN was responsible for this because of the fake news that they are spreading? This is no one’s fault but the deranged maniac that is sending those pipe bombs.”
McEnany and Tarlov settled into a debate about “culpability” as Hemmer attempted to reign in the discourse.
“We are not going to crank this, but the temperature can get hot on another day. We are going to keep it measured for now,” he said.
While acknowledging that there is “blame to go around for everybody’s rhetoric,” Harrington said the media was not being responsible to blame Trump “personally” when they have “no facts.”
“The fact of the matter is, media doesn’t care about reporting the facts anymore, they are care about reporting a narrative,” she said. “And the narrative is that it’s Trump’s fault, and he attacks the media so the media gets attacked. But look at the media’s culpability in driving up this division and this rhetoric.”
“There’s never an excuse for political violence, but when you have hysterical coverage for two years, saying everyone is going to die when we pull out of the Paris Accords, everyone’s going to die when we pull out of net neutrality, and the health care debate,” said Harrington. “What happened after the healthcare debate when we were going to repeal Obamacare? James Hodgkinson tried to assassinate the entire Republican House caucus. So words matter of course. The media has more than its share to blame in amping up this division.”
Though Tarlov admitted she did not think Trump was to blame for the mail bombs, she pointed to occasions when he allegedly endorsed violent rhetoric.
After more cross-talk by the panel, Tarlov exclaimed, “eff Trump?”
“Eff Trump is mild compared to what is going on here,” she added as the so-called discussion continued to spiral.
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