Remember when, at the beginning of his administration, President Obama made Valerie Jarrett his closest advisor, and how CNN went on the attack because of her far-left roots? Neither do I.
But now that President-elect Trump has named Steve Bannon as a senior advisor, CNN is in full inquisition mode. Chris Cuomo and Poppy Harlow, co-hosts on today’s New Day, cross-examined Trump spox and former Sen. Tom Coburn, respectively. References to the alt-right, anti-Semitism, etc. flew as the CNNers combatively questioned their guests.
Note: Miller and Coburn had a similar response to their inquisitors, explaining that it is Trump who will set the agenda, that he has been conciliatory, and that he will take good advice and reject the bad. Miller did take a specific shot at CNN, saying that the network, in particular, has been focusing on divisive issues since the election.
Note Segundo: Miller is one of many Jewish people in the Trump transition, but the irony of Cuomo’s kvetching about anti-Semitism in the Trump administration was lost on the CNN host.
CHRIS CUOMO: His chief strategist is a story. His name is Steve Bannon. He is a promoter of the alt-right. He is now a main person in the White House.
. . .
PHIL MATTINGLY: One of his hires assuaging some of the concerns, particularly among Republicans about how Donald Trump will deal with Republicans on Capitol Hill. The other, raising alarm bells, in both parties. The polar opposite. A man who has operated in the Republican fringe as executive chairman of Breitbart.com, one with a known talent for riling up the grassroots, while maintaining close ties to the alt-right movement, within which anti-Semitism and racist tropes are pervasive.
. . .
CUOMO: You are who you have around you, and the Jekyll and Hyde thing is of your own creation, not ours. I mean, Bannon reached out to Marian [sic: Marine] Le Pen, you know, I mean, her grandfather [sic: father] founded the National Front political party. He was an anti-Semite. He was quoted as saying the races are unequal. Bannon reaches out to someone like that to work with the administration?
. . .
CUOMO: Steve Bannon is not an ordinary placement in the White House. He is a promoter of the alt-right and a very controversial guy. How does that square with Trump being different than he was in the campaign?
JASON MILLER: Well Chris, if you’ve seen the President-elect since the election, he’s taken a very measured tone, he’s made it very clear that he’s going to get to work for the American people right away, and that he’s moved past the election. And what I think is frustrating is when you see so much news coverage—particularly on this network, unfortunately—on the issues that divide us following the election. I think that’s irresponsible, to be quite frank with you.
. . .
CUOMO: But the challenge is to unite: Steve Bannon is not a statement of unity. This is a man who’s wife [in divorce papers] said he did not want his girls in a school because they had too many Jews there. Breitbart is what it is. Ted Cruz, who you worked for, used to point to it as a poison affecting his own party. How is that a nod towards unity?
. . .
MILLER: Chris, again, I think that your focus on trying to divide the people is —
CUOMO: Not fair, Jason! Not fair! You put Bannon in position, not me. I don’t put out the headlines on Breitbart: he does. He is seen as the architect of a very effective strategy, which Donald Trump used during the election, which you guys now say needs to be left behind. But you’re bringing the architect of it with you. That’s not on me!
. . .
POPPY BARLOW: The president has said that he will be a unifier and bring all of America together. But Steve Bannon is someone who is not that. He is someone that has led Breitbart, which is not just another news site. This is a media site that has perpetuated the alt-right, which even if you don’t accept it, it does exist. It has had headlines that are anti-Semitic, that have had racist headlines. He is someone whose ex-wife said in court papers that he said that he does not like Jewish people. Do you have any concerns about him being in the president’s inner circle, at all?
TOM COBURN: No. I think that Donald Trump can filter any of that out if in fact that exists, or whether that’s done —
HARLOW: It does exist! These are facts!
. . .
COBURN: And I don’t think that the association with some former website diminishes President-elect Trump’s ability to make good decisions for the country and accomplish what he wants to accomplish.
HARLOW: Before we move on, it’s not some former website, it is a website that has been very much part of this, what has been a divisive election in America. And Steve Bannon, up until just before, when he joined the campaign, was the one leading it in all those headlines.
COBURN: I’d just tell you listeners that are concerned about that: get over it and trust Donald Trump to make good decisions, and he will take advice that’s good and he’ll reject advice that’s bad.
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