Another Republican hope for 2016 crashed and burned today as Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker got agitated and defensive while refusing answer questions about incriminating emails on Fox News Sunday.
WALLACE: Thousands of emails were released this week that indicate that you knew that public workers were working on county time in political campaigns, which is against the law.
WALKER: That’s absolutely not true, and if you look at the facts out there. This is old news. This is about a case that was closed last March. A Democratic district attorney in Milwaukee County spent multiple years looking at all this information. The 27,000+ pages of documents that were just released this week. Looked by a team led by a Democrat in Milwaukee County, and last year in March, he announced the end of that case. Plain and simple. It’s old news.What we have political operatives at the DNC and the DGA. They desperately want to switch the subject..
WALLACE: In one email that was released this week, your then chief of staff Thomas Nardelli, let’s put this up on the screen, writes campaign and county workers that you wanted to hold daily conference calls, “to review events of the day or of a previous or future day so we can better coordinate sound timely responses,” and in another e-mail county administrative director Cynthia Archer suggests that colleagues should use a private e-mail account. “I use this private account quite a bit to communicate with SKW,” that’s you, “and Nardelli, the former chief of staff.”
Question: if county workers were doing nothing wrong, why should they be using a private e-mail account?
WALKER: Well, but that’s exactly to my point. you had a Democratic district attorney spend almost three years looking at every single one of those communications, interviewing people, talking to people and closed the case.
WALLACE: Did you have your own private e-mail account?
WALKER: It’s one of those where I point out district attorney has reviewed every single one of these issues.
WALLACE: But sir, you’re not answering my question.
WALKER: No, because I’m not going to get into 27,000 different pieces of information.
Earlier in the interview, Walker was rolling along, lying about his jobs record in Wisconsin. He was selling himself to Republicans as a potential 2016 nominee. Host Chris Wallace was playing his usual Fox News role. He asked a question that was open ended enough for Walker to explain the emails. The trouble started when Gov. Walker decided not to answer Wallace’s question about personal knowledge of illegal activities.
Scott Walker is guilty. He can hide behind the fact that he hasn’t been charged with a crime yet, but he knew that what his county workers were doing was illegal. He urged the usage of a private email system because he knew he was breaking the law.
A smart 2016 candidate would have offered some sort of pseudo apology for the whole scandal, and moved on.
Gov. Scott Walker has demonstrated time and again that he is not smart.
Walker got defensive, bunkered down, and added fuel to the scandal fire. Some in the conservative chattering class have been touting Scott Walker as an inside favorite to win the 2016 Republican nomination, but judging from his answers on Fox News, Walker could never be elected president.
An electable candidate would not have reacted the Walker did in this interview. They would have had a prepared answer that would have satisfied Chris Wallace’s low threshold for truth.
Walker became obviously agitated when he was pushed on the emails, and the country got to see that, just like Chris Christie, the myth of Scott Walker has been destroyed.
If Scott Walker can’t handle a little needling from Chris Wallace, he definitely can’t handle the scrutiny of a presidential campaign.
Back to the drawing board Republicans. Another one of your 2016 saviors has self destructed.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association