CIVIL? PBS Cues Disgruntled Ex-Republican Joe Walsh to Slam ‘Far Right Gun-Loving Kook’

Taxpayer-funded PBS is just like CNN or MSNBC as it paints the Republicans as falling off a “far-right” cliff, while the Democrats have no “far left” extreme.

The taxpayer-funded PBS NewsHour apparently thought that political chameleon disgruntled former Republican Joe Walsh was the best guest to discuss the trend as the former Illinois congressman was given an unchallenged forum to bash his former party.

And, between Lopez and host Amna Nawaz, Republicans had been labeled as some form of extreme four times, with Walsh also throwing in a few such labels as well. Nawaz set up the segment: “A congressional primary election in Texas is getting national attention for what it could mean for the future of the Republican party and for other incumbents facing far-right challengers. Laura Barron Lopez has more.”

Discussing the close primary election win for moderate Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-TX), Lopez began:

That’s right, Amna. Like past recent election cycles, more extreme far-right candidates are running up and down the ballot this year. In Texas, incumbent Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales — who has worked across the aisle on a number of issues — faced such a challenge. Last night, Gonzales narrowly staved off the far-right YouTube personality Brandon Herrera receiving 50.7 percent of the vote to Herrera’s 49.3 percent.

Without mentioning that Walsh left the Republican party in 2020 after his failed attempt to win the GOP presidential nomination, Lopez introduced him as her guest: “To discuss what these growing divides mean for the future of the Republican party, I’m joined by former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh.”

After being asked to respond to Congressman Gonzales barely winning reelection, Walsh started throwing labels of extremism at Republicans: “It was a unique race because without the issue of immigration, which is the biggest issue down there, Gonzales would have lost. I mean, he barely won against a far-right, gun-loving kook who would have beaten him if that was the only issue.”

Walsh has been so hostile to the GOP that, a couple of years ago, he declared that the GOP is “a dying political party,” and that “the sooner it can die the better for all of us” in an appearance on MSNBC.

After her disgruntled former Republican guest complained that one has to support Donald Trump to be accepted in the party, Lopez teed him up to blame the Tea Party movement from 2010 for making the GOP too extreme and finally mentioning that the GOP is his “former party.”

LOPEZ: …you’re someone who rode in on the Tea Party wave. Do you feel as though you or other Tea Party candidates pushed the party down this pathway at all?

WALSH: Oh, absolutely. We helped lead to Trump. We’ve said this often. The base of my former party is radicalized. We helped to radicalize them. And that’s a scary thing. But in those days, it was where you stood on the issues that made you either a RINO or a far-right Republican. Now, it’s all about, “Where do you stand on Trump?” And if you oppose Trump like Joe Walsh or Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger, you have no future in the party.

Nearing the end of the interview, the PBS reporter labeled the House Freedom Caucus as “hard right” as she asked about Congressman Bob Good (R-Va.) being challenged from the right, leading Walsh to pile on: “Good is, as you said, he’s a crazy, far-right, Marjorie Taylor Greene Republican.”

By the end of the segment, no mention had been made that there has also been a trend for decades of congressional Democrats electing more solidly left-wing members. In fact, the number of voting members of the House of Representatives in the Congressional Progressive Caucus has grown from 53 in 2005 to 96 in 2024.

Transcript follows:

PBS NewsHour

May 29, 2024

7:22 p.m. Eastern

AMNA NAWAZ: A congressional primary election in Texas is getting national attention for what it could mean for the future of the Republican party and for other incumbents facing far-right challengers. Laura Barron Lopez has more.

LAURA BARRON LOPEZ: That’s right, Amna. Like past recent election cycles, more extreme far-right candidates are running up and down the ballot this year. In Texas, incumbent Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales — who has worked across the aisle on a number of issues — faced such a challenge. Last night, Gonzales narrowly staved off the far-right Youtube personality, Brandon Herrera, receiving 50.7 percent of the vote to Herrera’s 49.3 percent. To discuss what these growing divides mean for the future of the Republican party, I’m joined by former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh. Congressman, thank you so much for being here.

JOE WALSH, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Good to be with you.

LOPEZ: Brandon Herrera forced Congressman Gonzales into this runoff and was attacking Congressman Gonzales specifically for voting for bipartisan bills on gun safety, on gay marriage — and Congressman Gonzales barely won by 407 votes. What’s your big take away from this?

WALSH: It was a unique race because without the issue of immigration, which is the biggest issue down there, Gonzales would have lost. I mean, he barely won against a far-right, gun-loving kook who would have beaten him if that was the only issue. But I think immigration and I think Abbott’s endorsement of Gonzales really pushed him over.

LOPEZ: The Texas governor.

WALSH: Yes.

LOPEZ: Gonzales called himself a Trump supporter — said that he supports the former President, but he is someone who appears willing to work with Democrats and work across the aisle. Yes, he won, but do you think there is a future in the Republican party for more centrist, moderate bipartisan Republicans?

WALSH: No, no. Well, A, you have to be a Trump supporter, and even Gonzales — who is thought of as more of a centrist Republican — he’s all in with Trump, and he got down on his knees and said the greatest things about Trump during the campaign to help him win. So you have to be that, or there’s no room in the party. But, no, the base of the party still wants the most extreme MAGA voices.

LOPEZ: And so if you don’t support Trump, you could lose in a primary. And, I mean, you’re someone who rode in on the Tea Party wave. Do you feel as though you or other Tea Party candidates pushed the party down this pathway at all?

WALSH: Oh, absolutely. We helped lead to Trump. We’ve said this often. The base of my former party is radicalized. We helped to radicalize them. And that’s a scary thing. But in those days, it was where you stood on the issues that made you either a RINO or a far-right Republican. Now, it’s all about, “Where do you stand on Trump?” And if you oppose Trump like Joe Walsh or Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger, you have no future in the party.

LOPEZ: So you’re saying, in your day, it was more about policies?

WALSH: It was all about policy. You were a crazy Tea Party conservative or an establishment Republican, but that was where you stood on issues like guns and immigration.

LOPEZ: I want to ask you also about some other Republican candidates. One in Minnesota, Royce White. He hasn’t won the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate there, but he has been endorsed by the state Republican party. He’s appeared next to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and he also appeared with Trump former chief strategist Steve Bannon, and on — when he was talking to him, he criticized women.

ROYCE WHITE, MINNESOTA REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: Let’s just be frank. Women have become too mouthy. As the black man in the room, I’ll say that.

LOPEZ: He’s not the only GOP candidate who has made derogatory comments about women. There’s also the North Carolina GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson. who has cast doubt or mocked accusations from women during the MeToo movement, and has said that he embraces titles like “male chauvinist pig,” according to The 19th news report. Is misogyny becoming a pattern about GOP candidates?

WALSH: Yes. Just like bigotry and anti-transgender LGBT feelings. Look, look, it’s cruelty. Trump is cruel. And cruelty right now sells in the party. This stuff works. The cruel, mean things these Republican candidates will say about women or people of color or, again, transgender Americans, right now, in the party, that works, and that sells. And that’s pretty darn sad.

LOPEZ: Also, when we’re talking about the former President, Donald Trump, there’s Republican Congressman Bob Good of Virginia. He’s the chair of the hard right Freedom Caucus. He’s facing a challenge from the right in John McGuire, a state senator who attended the Stop the Steal January 6 rally. And, you know, Bob Good himself voted to overturn the election results in 2020. But still Donald Trump endorsed his challenger. Does this ultimately just come down to loyalty?

WALSH: Ah, well, with Trump, this is again a total ego play. Good supported DeSantis in the presidential primary initially. That really pissed off Trump. But Good is, as you said, he’s a crazy, far-right, Marjorie Taylor Greene Republican who Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, a number of conservatives have endorsed. So I don’t think the Trump endorsement in this one matters that much.

LOPEZ: But does the ultimate litmus test come down to loyalty and election denialism?

WALSH: Completely. You — the harder you embrace Donald Trump, the better your future in the party. The harder you deny Joe Biden won the 2020 election, the better you are in the party right now. And that’s not changing anytime soon.

LOPEZ: Former Congressman Joe Walsh, thank you so much for your time.

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