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.”
But as far as Fox News host Laura Ingraham is concerned, if you have a problem with Wayne’s view of black people, you might as well be the Taliban.
“I’ve said this before and I’m going to keep saying this,” said Ingraham on Wednesday’s edition of “The Ingraham Angle.” “This is what the Taliban does. The Taliban used to rip down historical markers, destroy churches. ISIS did the same thing, does the same thing. They don’t want any vestige of what was.”
Laura Ingraham *defends* John Wayne's comment that "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a… https://t.co/iNXsDfPGEx— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1550721235.0
Ingraham’s argument is utterly ridiculous. No one is saying we should rip John Wayne out of history textbooks and pretend he never existed — we should just take down things that glorify him as an honorable figure, like, for example, his name on Orange County Airport. Wayne doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt for it being “a different time” — his comments came seven years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. And people pointing this out are hardly theocratic terrorists.
- Tucker Carlson says universal childcare is a plot to increase immigration.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), one of the top-tier Democratic candidates for president, has come out with a universal child care plan. Under her proposal, families would receive subsidies for daycare expenses to cap their out-of-pocket costs at 7 percent of annual income, and families under 200 percent of the poverty line would pay nothing.
But Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson doesn’t like it. On Wednesday, he explained how universal childcare is a nefarious plot to hand over children to the state and … increase immigration.
According to Carlson, under Warren’s proposal, “the American dream is not raising your own children. The American dream is outsourcing their upbringing to government caretakers while their parents scurry back to work as good little servants of globalized market capitalism … the need for government daycare specialists will no doubt be used to justify more immigration.”
Tucker Carlson says government sponsored daycare is a nefarious Democratic plot to increase immigration https://t.co/BE3R5Qcur2— Andrew Lawrence (@Andrew Lawrence)1550711819.0
None of what Carlson said made any sense. First, Warren’s plan wouldn’t force children into a new system of government-run daycare centers — it would just reimburse parents to use daycare centers that already exist. Second, we already send millions of children to “government caretakers” every year in the form of public schools. Third, one of the reasons our country needs immigration is our birthrate is down, and that is partly because no one can afford to have children anymore — so if Carlson really wants this country to take in fewer immigrants, a policy that effectively covers the cost of parenthood should be exactly what he wants.
- Roseanne Barr calls Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “bug-eyed bitch.”
Former television star Roseanne Barr hasn’t fared well since being fired from her ABC reboot for comparing former President Barack Obama’s adviser Valerie Jarrett to an ape. She has alternatively blamed her downfall on everything from taking Ambien to anti-Semitism.
But as a bizarre rant against freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Cortez (D-NY) shows, the real problem may simply be that she has no self-filter.
“That Green New Deal … Farrakhan-loving bitch. I don’t remember her name. The bug-eyed bitch who looks like a realtor,” she said in a two-minute video uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday. “She got them realtor eyes. She got ’em. Bug-eyed lyin’ bitch. Farrakhan fan. Israel hater. Lefty. Dumbass, dumb as they get … I’m gonna try to correct some of the mistakes she’s made like costing hundreds of people decent-paying jobs ’cause, I don’s know, they breathe carbon in the air or some horseshit.”