This week saw a barrage of scandals develop for members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. House Democrats accused Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of obstructing a probe into her reinstatement of a shady private-sector college accrediting body. An investigation revealed Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao improperly coordinated meetings and funding for Kentucky on behalf of her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ financial disclosure was rejected by the Office of Government Ethics for misstating his financial transactions. And a federal judge ruled Labor Secretary Alex Acosta broke the law as a U.S. attorney by cutting a secret non-prosecution deal with billionaire and alleged child molester Jeffrey Epstein.
In another presidency, any one of these scandals might dominate the news cycle for a week. But in the Trump era, they barely register — and part of that may be because right-wing media personalities were too busy getting into trouble themselves.
Here are five of the craziest right-wing moments this week:
- Boris Epshteyn says the presidents on Mount Rushmore “may have to make room” for Trump.
Sinclair Broadcast Group, the shadowy right-wing owner of local news stations, is notorious for sending their affiliates around the country “must-run” segments that force anchors to air GOP propaganda. A new “must-run” segment on President’s Day, featuring Sinclair political commentator and former Trump campaign strategist Boris Epshteyn, did not disappoint.
“Here’s the bottom line: In just over two years of the Trump administration, we have seen great progress benefiting Americans,” Epshteyn said. “If this keeps up, much to the chagrin of many Democrats, the presidents on Mount Rushmore may have to make room for a new addition.”
- Rick Wiles calls for waterboarding former Justice Department officials.
A lot of Trump’s supporters are angry about former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe acknowledging that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein debated exercising the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in early 2017. But few have taken their outrage as far as Rick Wiles, the host of “endtimes” conspiracy theory talk show TruNews, did on Monday.
“Former FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — should they be taken to Guantanamo Bay and waterboarded?” said Wiles. “This was an ongoing coup, and so there’s another two names that need to go to Guantanamo Bay — the two members of the Cabinet … it could be [former Secretary of State] Rex Tillerson. It could have been, may have been [former Attorney General] Jeff Sessions. It could have been [former U.N. Ambassador] Nikki Haley. We don’t know!”
Wiles added that Trump had “hissing snakes” in his Cabinet, said he’d also like to arrest “CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, The New York Times, the Washington Post … the media, government agencies, intelligence agencies, technology firms,” and proclaimed that Sessions “ought to be facing the electric chair.”
- Laura Ingraham says people who criticize John Wayne for racism are like the Taliban.
This week, social media circulated snippets of a 1971 Playboy interview of legendary movie star John Wayne, which showcased his appallingly retrograde views on race. “I believe in white supremacy until blacks are educated to the point of responsibility,” said Wayne. “We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks … I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”