CNN host Jake Tapper used the last few minutes of his State of the Union broadcast on Sunday to unload on the conversative politicians who saw opportunity in the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin’s movie Rust last week.
Noting that Hutchins was a “rising star” in her field who left behind a husband and young son, Tapper said, “Heartbreaking, for normal people. But there’s something about our politics right now that is driving people away from our shared humanity.”
He pointed to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) who “apparently did some digging” and found a 2014 tweet from Baldwin about guns that she turned into a joke at his expense. “The Colorado congresswoman thought it was funny to exploit ‘hands up, don’t shoot,’ to make a joke at the expense of Baldwin,” Tapper said. “But more importantly, really to make a joke at the expense of Halyna Hutchins and her husband Matthew and their son Andres.”
“More disappointing,” Tapper added, was a tweet from Republican Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance, who jokingly demanded that Trump be reinstated to Twitter so that he could attack Baldwin. “Vance was, for a time, even a CNN contributor, hired for his perceived insight,” the host said, while now he is part of an Ohio Senate primary “that seems to have become the Fear Factor of American politics, with contestants positioned against one another as to who can performatively appeal to the best at the lowest, common denominator.”
“Vance seems to want Trump to attack and mock for a global audience Alec Baldwin for killing a woman in what almost certainly was a tragic accident,” he continued. “Regardless of the pain of Matthew Hutchins or Andres Hutchins. And however this impacts Baldwin, and really, I mean, how might such an incident impact you? And he did this, J.D. Vance, why? Presumably because he thinks it will help him win supporters. He did it to win votes. In other words, the cruelty is a feature of his candidacy, not a bug.”
From there, Tapper linked the conservative reaction to the Baldwin incident to Donald Trump’s statement attacking Colin Powell after his death and even Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “deranged anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” that Jewish space lasers were causing deadly wildfires.
He ended the show by recounting a text he received this week from an unnamed Republican official. “After J.D. Vance’s tweet,” it read, “being a horrible person is now actually a job requirement in this party.”
“I hope to God that that Republican official is wrong,” Tapper concluded.