During a conversation about Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who threw his hands up this week and resigned, Bill Maher’s Real Time panelists pointed to it as an example of what is happening to the modern Republican Party.
Democratic strategist Van Jones said that if Flake really cared about his party and doing the right thing, he would have stayed and fought for what was right. Instead, he ran. “That’s not courage,” Jones said.
He went on to say that what Flake and others are most scared of is Steve Bannon and ‘his billion-dollar cannon’ targeting them for defeat.
David French, who serves as a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, claimed that no one in actual Donald Trump country even knows who Bannon is. But Maher cut in to say that while they might not know Bannon, they vote for his candidates — and that’s all Bannon needs.
“The takeaway from this week is that this is Trump’s party now,” Maher continued. “Laura Ingram said it, she said, ‘We’re not an element, we are the party.’ This is kind of important that Donald Trump, who we were first laughing at. He wasn’t going to get the nomination. And then, ‘Oh, he’s the president but he’s going to get brought down — I doubt he’ll last a year.'”
“It’s now his party.”
Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff remarked that the shocking thing is how fast people are cutting and running.
“Here’s the other problem to me,” Maher cut in. “It’s that Fox News has become State TV. They were always, of course, Republican. But it’s different now. As all things, with Trump, it’s worse. And this is a very bad axis of evil. They didn’t hear the Jeff Flake speech.”
Woodruff broke in to say that Fox did air the speech live. But they didn’t comment on it or report on it further. Maher showed screen captures of their website to illustrate his point that they weren’t talking about it. Fox’s only reporting was the quote from Flake “I could work with Trump on some things.”
“The things that we talk about do not exist because they are not shown on Fox TV,” Maher said.
French tried to make the case that it depends on the show, but Maher wouldn’t hear it, saying they were all in bed with Trump. Woodruff noted that one person who doesn’t get enough talk for his relationship to Trump is Lou Dobbs, who Trump will actually call after his show to congratulate for an excellent episode.
“Yes! Fox gives him his agenda,” Maher continued. “The typical Fox viewer is now president. An old white guy with anger issues, we are not sure why. And so, their anecdotal, false, racist view of the country is his view. And I know that they have this viewership of more than one person, that’s all they have to play to.”
To illustrate his point, Maher then walked through polling of a typical Fox News viewer and some of the beliefs they have on the issues.
Watch the exchange below: