During a fiery CNN panel discussion, USA Today columnist and CNN analyst Kirsten Powers took a former Republican Party official to task for both interrupting her and mansplaining to her.
Host Anderson Cooper joked that Donald Trump held a “made-for-TV meeting” on the border wall earlier in the day with Democratic leaders. It resulted in the president, ranking Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) all raising their voices.
Powers noted that Trump’s threat to shut down the government if Democrats don’t agree to fund his border wall is a “manufactured crisis” — but former Republican National Committee chief of staff Mike Shields had a different take.
“There’s so many things we discuss about the president every night,” Shields said. “We rarely actually have a policy debate. Here’s a policy debate. Actually right in the Oval Office with the leaders of the country debating each other. I thought was an amazing thing to watch.”
Powers pushed back and said the televised exchange showed Trump lying both about the wall actually being built and about the racist tropes of immigrant “hordes carrying diseases.”
Undeterred, the former RNC official suggested the USA Today columnist “look at the polls.”
“Women in the suburbs, a critical voting bloc for Reps heading into 2020, they want border security,” Shields said. “The president is well-served to stick to that. When the Democrats say we shouldn’t shut the government down over a disagreement, they’re saying ‘we don’t want to talk to the real issue, we’re not committed to doing border security the way that you are.'”
Powers noted that former President Barack Obama was criticized for being too hard on immigration and” earned the nickname “deporter-in-chief” for the rates of deportations during his administration.
“There’s really no one in the Democratic Party who is seriously arguing for open borders,” she said. I’m not saying there aren’t Democrats that exist who believe that, but it’s just not the policy. The policy is so far removed from that.”
The two engaged in a tense back-and-forth about what Democrats actually want to do with the country — including a moment when Powers told Shields to stop interrupting her when he suggested it was his “analysis” that elected Democrats are overzealous about impeachment.
“That is a falsehood, it’s not true, but you know what it does — it gets the base riled up,” she said.
“Most Democratic establishment people that I know are really naive about what their base is getting ready to do,” he responded before Cooper cut him off to go to commercial.
Before the break, however, Powers got in the final word: “Thanks for explaining the Democratic Party to me.”
“You’re welcome,” Shields replied.