Politics - News Analysis
Jake Tapper Abruptly Ends Off-the-Rails Interview When Trump Spox Refuses to Shut Up, ‘I’m Not Chris Wallace!’
Perhaps some real good will come out of last night’s debate.
We know that the “Biden senile” thing is done forever. Biden easily beat Trump in which candidate had a greater grasp on facts and sanity.
For one of the first times in five years, Trump’s bullying seems to have truly cost him and did so at the worst possible time, the point when he needed to make up ground.
And it might well have put far more spine in the media as each of them sees the Trump campaign’s need to “dominate” and the equally strong need to shut them down when they see it coming.
Jake Tapper delivered the perfect example of what we hope is a new reality in his interview with Trump spokesperson Tim Murtaugh today. The interview was tense and combative throughout but Tapper gave no ground and somewhat like last night, the harder the Trump side went at the bullying, the more ground and credibility they lost.
The interview begain by Tapper – quite reasonably – noting that last night’s debate was near unrecognizable as a “debate” and unbefitting of a presidential level event. They then reviewed the new rules being considered by the presidential debate commission. Murtaugh couldn’t deal with even the mildest criticism. Transcript from Mediaite:
In their initial discussion, Murtaugh fired back at the Commission on Presidential Debates for announcing on Wednesday that it would institute new, tougher rules of engagement — including cutting candidates’ microphones —after Trump’s willful disregard for them Tuesday night.
And then, of course, because it’s Team Trump, Murtaugh played the victim role and the rules could only possibly be due to the commission wanting Biden to win. Everyone is against Trump and it’s just so unfair!
Sure, the bipartisan commission is riding to the rescue of their guy,” Murtaugh said, baselessly claiming the CPD was biased for Biden. The president was a dominant force last night, and he did pummel Joe Biden. And I would point “out that Joe Biden interrupted the president more than 70 times as well, Jake. And so what they’re doing, the Biden people have clearly been working the rest and now they’re going to change the rules in the middle of the game. But the fact is the president will be there.”
Get bent. The “president” was a “dominant force” because he simply ignored all rules and all decorum, decency and everything else someone expects from adults doing serious things. Moreover, not a single person who watched that debate believes for one second that Biden “interrupted Trump 70 times” unless they call a laugh an interruption. Biden wasn’t “fighting” with Chris Wallace.
Tapper then asked if Murtaugh was really saying that the commission wants Biden to win? Were they really willing to go that far with the victim card? Murtaugh answered by saying it was a reaction to Biden having such a bad night last night and that the polls showed Biden losing, so the next morning there’s talk of changing the rules.
Tapper noted that, actually, no – the scientific polls (CNN and CBS) showed Biden kicked Trump’s ass. Tapper pointed out that Rick Santorum said that if he were a down-ballot Republican he’d be furious about the president’s behavior. Murtaugh shoved the argument aside saying Trump had a plan, be aggressive, and executed that plan. He accused Wallace of protecting Biden from Trump’s “plan.”
As it got heated, Tapper had to explain that the way interviews work is that he asks a question, Murtaugh answers it. Murtaugh doesn’t get to talk for ten minutes about Trump’s greatness. Tapper then said the most contentious part of the debate involved the question about denouncing white supremacy and – like they have all day – Murtaugh insisted that Trump did denounce it, despite the tape just being played, with Trump clearly avoiding the question.
Murtaugh said “it wasn’t hard” and that “at a certain point the media has to accept a yes answer to the question! Except Trump obviously never said he condemned white supremacy!
Tapper then brought up the “very fine people” comment and – as per usual – Murtaugh, as part of team Trump avoided it again, saying he wasn’t going to relitigate it. Tapper had had enough:
Right,” Tapper hit back, “because there were none. That’s the point.”
That prompted Murtaugh to launch into a long harangue about Biden’s record on racial issues in the 1970s, during which he refused to concede any airtime to the CNN host.
“Okay, you know what,” a visibly frustrated Tapper finally said, shuffling his interview notes with a grimace on his face. “I’m not Chris Wallace.”
And with the sarcasm in his voice plainly evident, Tapper slammed shut the door: “Thank you, Tim! Appreciate it. Thank you so much”
And Jake, you know what? We appreciate the fact that the media seems to have really learned a lesson and refuses to take this anymore. Team Trump cannot handle a difficult question without trying to simply get in a shouting match where the loudest person wins. Whenever someone insists on an actual answer and they simply cannot handle it and blame it all on unfairness and anti-Trump bias.
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