Meet the Press host Chuck Todd repeatedly confronted Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) on the Republican Party’s willingness to embrace former President Donald Trump’s election lies, asking the conservative lawmaker point-blank on Sunday why anyone should “believe a word you say” since the GOP has lost credibility.
Days after House Republicans booted Liz Cheney (R-WY) from leadership over her refusal to go along with the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, Todd asked Crenshaw—who claimed on Sunday he’s no “Trump loyalist”—whether he agrees she was ousted for not carrying Trump’s water.
“No. Fundamentally, I don’t,” Crenshaw stated.
Claiming that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) felt that there was a “disagreement” over the election and it’s “time to move on,” Crenshaw went on to say that they now “need to talk about the things that American people care about.” He proceeded to list off a number of issues he wanted to address, such as inflation, the border crisis, and labor shortages.
“These are things that affect people, not this internal drama. One of the reasons I agreed to come on your show is to say that. This isn’t that important to people,” the conservative congressman added.
“But why should anybody believe a word you say if the Republican Party itself doesn’t have credibility?” Todd fired back.
After airing a clip of Cheney saying Republicans have “got to be able to tell people you can trust us” and therefore need to reject Trump’s lies about the election, Todd pushed back on Crenshaw’s insistence that it was merely about a “disagreement” on the election results.
“There’s not a disagreement about the facts,” the Meet the Press host said. “So do any of your critiques come across as credible if you can’t accept the fundamental fact that our democracy held a free and fair election?”
Asserting that he can only speak for himself, Crenshaw wondered aloud if Todd was aware of his own stance on whether Joe Biden’s election victory was legitimate. Todd, meanwhile, said he was aware that Crenshaw did not object to the electoral results in Congress but did sign onto the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit that looked to toss out votes from several swing states.
“You guys in the press painted that as some extreme action. Of course, it wasn’t,” Crenshaw complained in response. “That amicus brief was a simple question of the Supreme Court in saying, can you please speak to this question of whether process changes in the election last minute, not approved by the legislature, can be deemed constitutional? It was a question. They didn’t want to answer that question. I said it’s unconstitutional for us to overturn the election in Congress. I voted to certify.”
“This is the issue many people have,” Todd retorted. “You’re sitting here trying to say, ‘No, no, no, I just had a specific question.’ Yet, what you did gets weaponized by the former president.”
Todd also pointed out that the Republican official in charge of the Maricopa County audit recount recently called Trump “unhinged” after the ex-president falsely accused the county of deleting its election database.
“I understand you want to put this behind you, but he is the leader of your party and he doesn’t stop talking about this nonsense,” the anchor exclaimed.
“He’s one of many leaders in the party. He’s a former president,” Crenshaw replied. “We’re five months into President Biden’s presidency. There is a time to move on. You guys in the press love doing this, and I get it, right, that the press is largely liberal.”
Cutting the congressman off, Todd shot back: “No, no, no. Don’t start that. There’s nothing lazier than that excuse!”
Crenshaw said he was “not going to take the bait,” prompting Todd to insist he was only trying to figure out why the GOP is “basically rallying around this bizarre lie and mythology” that Trump is peddling.
“I already debunked the notion that there’s no space in the party for that. Remember, Liz won that first election—won that first leadership vote,” Crenshaw said.
“She’s not there now,” Todd fired back.