Monday, November 18, 2019

Democrats Admit to CNN's Tapper: 'The President Won This One' — 'Squad' Hurting the Party

“The president won this one,” said an unnamed Democrat politician of President Donald Trump’s “showdown” with the Democrat “Squad” of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashia Tlaib (D-MI), according to claims made by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday.

Trump’s implicit criticisms of Omar — describing the Somali immigrant-turned-politician as an America-hating antisemite — triggered a broad partisan Democrat coalescence around her and other “Justice Democrats” in the aforementioned squad. High unfavorability ratings among Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib amounted to a political win for Trump, according to Tapper’s claims.

Trump also highlighted Ocasio-Cortez’s support for blocking a now-defunct Amazon proposal to build headquarters in New York City, NY.

Tapper took to Twitter to make his claims about discussions with four Democrat politicians he says spoke with him on condition of anonymity:

House Democrats appeared unified in their votes this week but I’ve spent the day talking to a bunch of them and many are extremely frustrated. All agree POTUS’s tweets needed to be condemned; they spoke under condition of anonymity so they could be candid. (Thread)

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

2/ “The president won this one,” said House Dem 1 of the Trump v Squad (AOC, Tlaib, Omar & Pressley) showdown. “What the president has done is politically brilliant. Pelosi was trying to marginalize these folks and the president has now identified the entire party with them.”

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

3/ Another issue: what are Dems focused on? Is it what will help the class of 2018 (largely more moderate than the Squad) get reelected?

Dem Rep 2: “The president’s words and actions speak for themselves. We need to focus on the issues that got them here: jobs, health care…”

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

4/ “…instead of the issues the president brings up deliberately. Anything that takes away from bread and butter issues is playing into his hands.”

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

5/ Other House Democrats are conflicted about having to defend the Squad given things they’ve said and done. House Dems cited: talk of supporting challengers to incumbent Dems in primaries, AOC’s use of the term “concentration camps,” anti-Semitic comments by Tlaib & Omar.

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

6/ This perceived selective outrage rankled some Dems.

“Everybody was completely outraged by what the president said,” said House Dem 3, “and everybody thought it was appropriate to criticize him…

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

7/ “…but this was the *first* time the House has taken action to criticize him in any way, We couldn’t even bring ourselves to have a resolution exclusively condemning anti-Semitism uttered by one of those members” — Omar — “but we leapt to their defense here.”

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

8/ A few House Dems noted that Omar and Tlaib just introduced a resolution affirming the right of Americans to boycott, perceived as an expression of support for the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divest, and sanction) movement that most House Dems oppose.

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

9/ “So we’ll hear a tirade of attacks on Israel from the same group,” said House Dem 3. “Hopefully they won’t be anti Semitic.”

House Dem 4 also brought up that bill coming “from someone with a history of anti-Semitism” — Omar — “So yeah it’s challenging.”

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

10/ House Dem 4 recalls that “less than 2 weeks ago when members of our caucus were trying to support funds for children at the border,” the Squad was arguing that “we’re pro-putting kids in cages, we’re against human rights. So there’s frustration.”

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

11/ Others noted that this week the House Democratic Caucus stood by a group that is not perceived as standing by them.

“I can’t tell you the number of Members who are angry and annoyed about them criticizing us,” said House Dem 3.

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

12/ AOC, in particular “gives her chief of staff license to get candidates to run against her colleagues and to go after them on social media. It makes people’s skin crawl,” said House Dem 3.

House Dem 4 summed it up: “We were there for them; they should stop attacking us.”

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019

Despite Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) publicfeuding with the “squad,” Tapper speculated that Trump had now made the “squad” the face of the Democrat Party.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

Robert Kraychik

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