Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) knocked down a Chuck Todd question and schooled the Meet The Press host after he implied that Democrats were obstructing Trump and refusing to negotiate on healthcare.
Chuck Todd asked Sanders if Democrats would be willing to come to the table and negotiate if Mitch McConnell dropped trying to pass the health care bill through reconciliation.
Sen. Sanders answered, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Please don’t say come to the table. What the Republicans have done, and that’s what Sen. Johnson just said, and he’s right. We are talking about one-sixth of the American economy when we talk about health care. We are talking about an issue that impacts 320 Americans, every single person. There has not been one public hearing. The insurance companies have not come forward. The American Medical Association has not come forward. There has been zero debate. All of this has been done behind closed doors, so please don’t say oh, you know, the Democrats didn’t come to the table. The Democrats were not invited.”
Todd said that he understood what Sanders was saying and clarified his question and made it about Republicans wanting to have a legislative process for the bill.
What Sen. Sanders did was catch Chuck Todd, intentionally or not, using a talking point of Trump and the Republicans as the basis for his question. The reason why Trump calls the Democrats obstructionists every day is that through repetition, his point eventually makes it into mainstream media questioning and thought.
Chuck Todd may not have thought he was leading with a Trump talking point, but he was. This is why Democrats, and those who caucus with the Democrats like Independents Bernie Sanders and Angus King, must be vigilant and carefully listen to how questions are asked.
Bernie Sanders took apart the Democratic obstruction lie, but Trump is going to keep saying it, and more reporters will be susceptible to the repeated messaging.
Democrats have to stay on their toes, and anytime a Trump lie makes it way into a question, they must be prepared to knock it down.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and 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