While many of Donald Trump’s allies want him to stop smearing Joe Scarborough, Sean Hannity seems to be relishing the hurt his idol is causing. Indeed, Hannity seems to have a thing for causing pain to grieving families with baseless accusations.
Media Matters' John Whitehouse explains the BS Trump and Hannity are spreading as the death toll from COVID-19 soars:
President Donald Trump has been spreading a debunked conspiracy theory that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who is now a loud Trump critic, is a murderer. Unlike with previous pro-Trump conspiracy theories, Fox News isn’t covering this story on-air at all (even to debunk it) -- even as the network's most prominent host pushes the baseless attack on his radio show.
Trump has repeatedly tweeted about Lori Klausutis, a former intern of Scarborough’s who died after fainting at work [and] hitting her head on a desk. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. has also spread the conspiracy theory on Twitter. Klausutis’ widower has written a letter to Twitter asking that the company remove the tweets from Trump and his son; in it, he specifically mentions young family members who will learn about Lori through this conspiracy theory, and he says Trump has taken his late wife’s memory “and perverted it for perceived political gain.” (In response to the letter, Twitter has declined to take any action.)
Apparently, not even Fox can come up with a way to spin Trump's conspiracy-theory distraction on behalf of Dear Leader.
Tuesday, I posted about a Vanity Fair report that some of Trump’s pals are so worried about how his petty, vindictive behavior is hurting his re-election chances that they were planning an intervention to get him to stop tweeting about Scarborough. Yesterday, a number of conservatives, along with The Wall Street Journal and Washington Examiner, publicly rebuked him for it.
But, as The Washington Post noted, Trump’s closest allies have remained silent:
Apart from [Sen. Mitt] Romney, [Rep. Liz] Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who also criticized the president this week, virtually no congressional Republicans are talking about this. Allusions to the conspiracy don’t appear in other tweets or public comments from members.
The Washington Post has reached out to GOP members of the Florida congressional delegation, in which Scarborough served as a Republican. It has not heard back, though, from Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), or Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who represents Scarborough’s old district. (Gaetz, notably, has been among Trump’s closest allies in Congress — often controversially so — but his family also has ties to Scarborough.)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also took a pass on either reprimanding or vouching for Trump on Wednesday, saying: “I was not here with Joe Scarborough. I don’t quite know about the subject itself.” He was also asked about the Wall Street Journal editorial and said he hadn’t read it.
Hannity, Trump’s Bedtime BFF and unofficial chief of staff, has not remained silent on his radio show. He seems eager for more. Media Matters caught this exchange on Hannity’s May 20 radio show. After playing a clip of Scarborough’s wife and Morning Joe cohost Mika Brzezinski speaking out against Trump’s attacks, Hannity responded in a mock crying voice, “You were mean to my little Joey and you need to stop!"
Next, Hannity suggested he might ramp up the smears – if he could work them into his very busy schedule:
HANNITY: Do I really want to get involved with dealing with these lunatics? Because their ratings suck, they're total psychos, they lie every day. Every day they wake up and act like they're outraged, outraged over what Donald Trump did or said. If the guy cured cancer, it wouldn't be good enough.
Umm, I have a question for Mika. Hey, Mika, was it a good idea that Trump put the travel ban in effect? Umm, they don't like it when you start digging into Joe's background, but they have no trouble digging into Trump's background every day. Maybe those questions should be asked! There seem to be irregularities as it relates to certain people involved in that case. I mean, should I go there, or should I take the weekend off?
Hannity’s producer, Lynda McLaughlin, was all for it. “It's always such a good time to make fun of them, so I'm on board with making fun of them. I think they stink,” she said.
After several minutes of contemptuous jokes, Hannity laughably said, “Why is it whatever anybody says about me I just don’t care?” He forgot to add, “unless it’s Rep. Keith Ellison or Jimmy Kimmel or Brian Stelter.
Hannity seemed to drool at the prospect of causing more anguish to Scarborough and Brzezinski without giving a thought to the pain caused to Klausutis' family.
HANNITY: So [Brzezinski’s] trying to provoke me into a fight and I'm like, well, I can win this fight. I can go there, I can go there on steroids, I don't mind going there. I train, I fight, I love to fight, to be very blunt with you. I'm good at it, and I'm going to win! It's not a matter of winning, it's just a matter of how hard I'll hit them, because I can hit them both so hard, you know, their mothers will feel the vibrations …
HANNITY: I’m talking about a Twitter fight.
Sadly, this situation is all too reminiscent of Hannity’s proven-false smears of murder victim Seth Rich. “Fox News was infamously a hub of Seth Rich conspiracy theories in 2017, with host Sean Hannity taking the lead. The network promised a review of its coverage but it has yet to be released, three years later,” Whitehouse wrote this week.
In fact, Hannity continued promoting fake news about Rich’s murder, even after Fox retracted the story and the Rich family had pleaded with him to stop. Hannity never stops whining about the “Russia hoax,” yet he has refused to apologize for the Russia hoax he foisted on Rich’s already-suffering family. The family has sued Fox News over its coverage.
Now Hannity’s smears are causing anguish to a new family.
You can listen to Hannity laugh as he needlessly causes pain to others below, from the May 20, 2020 The Sean Hannity Show, via Media Matters.
(Hannity image via screen grab)
In my book, that amounts to admission that Joe Scarborough is Mr. Squeaky Clean. Methinks, Trump should fire those minions