CNN’s Jake Tapper’s respect for wounded veterans apparently has its limits.
The cable host on Wednesday questioned the loyalty of Rep. Brian Mast of Florida, who lost both legs in 2010 while serving overseas in Afghanistan, after the Republican lawmaker asked during the House’s impeachment debate if any of the Capitol rioters had been called before Congress to say whether they stormed the People’s House “because of our president.”
The CNN host’s comments came amid a broader discussion Wednesday about the Republican House members who planned to vote against impeaching the president for his role in fomenting last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
“The other thing I think is really, really important is the fact that we have video,” said CNN’s Dana Bash, referring to evidence showing that Trump did indeed inspire the Capitol riot, “and I was just watching it as they were starting this [impeachment vote in the House], of the people who were storming the Capitol saying, ‘The president told us to come here.’”
Technically, one of the rioters reportedly said, “Our president wants us here,” while another was recorded saying, “We were invited by the president of the United States,” but let’s not quibble.
“Right,” Tapper scoffed.
“There is video of this,” Bash continued, “just exhibit ‘A’ of the reams of evidence that we have.”
“One other thing,” Tapper interrupted, “what you’re saying is relevant because Congressman Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida, who lost his legs, by the way, fighting for democracy abroad, although I don’t know what his – I don’t know about his commitment to it here in the United States, he said, ‘Did anybody say that?’”
Mast did not quite say that. Rather, the congressman asked if any of the rioters had been asked to testify about whether they attacked the Capitol building at the behest of Trump.
“I rise with a very simple question,” Mast said on the floor of the House. “On Jan. 6, thousands of people broke the law by taking siege of our Capitol here with us inside. Has any one of those persons who bought violence on our Capitol been brought here to say whether they did that because of our president?”
A solid 30-seconds of silence followed his question.
“It appears I will receive no answer,” Mast concluded.
On CNN, however, Tapper kept after his personal version of events.
“Yes,” the host said in response to a question Mast did not ask, “we heard them.”
If it was Mast’s goal to suggest that the Capitol rioters did not say the things they clearly said last week, he is obviously wrong. But even if that was the congressman’s purpose, it still seems like a bit of a jump to use the double amputee’s remarks on Wednesday to question his dedication to protecting the country he served honorably for more than 10 years while in the U.S. Army.
Then again, when your entire shtick is performing the news, fairness and decency are not even secondary or tertiary concerns.