Republican and Democrat Chairs Trade Accusations of Racism in Meet the Press ‘Unity’ Segment
DCCC Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and NRCC Chairman Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) traded accusations of anti-Semitism today on Meet the Press in a joint appearance that host Chuck Todd billed as being in the spirit of coming together. Despite a few platitudes, however, it wasn’t exactly unity on the schedule.
“In the spirit of doing this together, they both agreed to come on together,” said Chuck Todd as he introduced the two guests. But that togetherness was not to last. Todd played a clip showing a woman in Pittsburgh appealing to leadership in the wake of tragedies, and when he asked the two representatives, with some appeals to moving past “finger-pointing”, fingers were pointed.
The partisan jabs began right away, starting with Stivers saying that the NRCC is “the only major party committee to cut off a candidate for their behavior,” a jab at his counterpart’s committee.
“A candidate in New Jersey, Seth Grossman, who said bigoted things, we cut him off, we’re the only committee to show that kind of leadership,” he said. “The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee continues to support Leslie Coburn and Scott Wallace, who have said bigoted and anti-Semitic things, and I think we need to, we all bear some responsibility.”
Chuck Todd then immediately asked Rep. Stivers about the president’s tone on the idea of unity and coming together, and then asked Rep. Lujan about the accusation of the DCCC supporting candidates who “traffic in hate speech. Lujan only said “that’s not true,” before making his argument for both sides to “reach out” and appeal to a “greater good.”
After Stivers offered his similar platitudes, Todd asked him about a campaign ad featuring billionaire Democratic donor George Soros, who is Jewish.
“Congressman Stivers, I want ask you about an ad you’re running last week,” said Todd. “One of the people targeted by the pipebomb assailant was George Soros. Here is a part of an ad that you’re running in Minnesota against a Democratic candidate there named Dan Feehan, paid for by the NRCC. Take a listen.”
The ad played, blasting Soros, and turned back toward Stivers, asking “why do you Why do you target George Soros?”
“You know, our independent expenditure arm is independent. But, you know, that ad is factual, and, you know, it also, it has nothing to do with calling for violence. That ad is a factual ad,” he replied.
Todd then turned to Rep. Lujan and asked if he believes that “attacking folks of big money – you guys do it too I guess, with the Koch brothers and things like that. Are we inadvertently putting people, private citizens in the crosshairs of politics that don’t need to be?”
Lujan first brought up the fact that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had to pull down a tweet about Soros and Tom Steyer, who was also targeted by the bomber, then briefly made a “both sides” allowance.
“I think both committees should begin to look at how they operate into the future and what’s going on even the rest of election cycle,” he said. He then claimed that the DCCC focuses on positive ads that highlight the good things about their own candidates.
Stivers then contradicted him saying, “Ben, your ads in Colorado and in Washington have been called sleazy and personal attacks, I mean I admit it happens on both sides, we probably both need to figure out how to clean things up, but that’s a fact, and that’s not us that’s the media calling them that.”
Lujan fired back. “Steve, you’ve also been running racist ads in New York, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and out in California. You could do something to pull those down,” he said. “And I just think on all sides that everyone should monitor the tone here, again, no more finger-pointing Steve, let’s make sure that we look within ourselves and that we find the greater good there, Chuck.”
“I agree with you, Ben” said Stivers, “But let’s both look within ourselves.”
As Chuck Todd tried to wrap up, saying it may be nine days before everyone is willing to calm things down, both congressmen began talking.
“We can start today,” said Lujan.
“You should, Ben,” said Stivers.
“We should Steve, we should,” said Lujan.
“We both should,” Stivers agreed.
[Featured image via screengrab]
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