Chuck Todd, the normally insufferable host of NBC News’ Meet the Press, has appeared increasingly uncomfortable over the past few days with the talking heads who appear on his show to repeat GOP talking points about Donald Trump.
In the rest of the world, those talking points are called lies, and the typical failure by many cable news hosts to call them out in real time is one of the reasons that watching cable news is so unbearable.
But something happened on Sunday to trigger Todd, and that something was Republican Sen. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, which rhymes. Johnson appeared on NBC acting like a combative, right-wing lunatic, and spewing pro-Trump conspiracy theories that sounded like they came straight from Fox News, Breitbart, or even InfoWars.
Johnson recently became a central witness in the Trump-Ukraine scandal, after The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that a U.S. diplomat told him in August that Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine was contingent on that country’s investigations of Trump’s political rivals and the source of 2016 U.S. election hacking.
Johnson has always staunchly defended Trump, so his acknowledgment of this quid pro quo was a big deal.
Per the Journal:
Sen. Ron Johnson said that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had described to him a quid pro quo involving a commitment by Kyiv to probe matters related to U.S. elections and the status of nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine that the president had ordered to be held up in July.
Johnson said he asked Trump about this during a phone call, and Trump strongly denied it.
“He said, ‘Expletive deleted—No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?” Johnson told the newspaper, referring to Trump.
Fast-forward to Sunday morning, and any hopes of Johnson seeing the light on Trump’s impeachment were dashed, as he went into full conspiracy theory mode on Todd’s show.
“Chuck, I just want the truth. The American people want the truth,” Johnson said, after slinging a smorgasbord of Fox talking points and conspiracies about Hillary Clinton, the FBI, former intelligence officers, and other nonsense.
Todd actually lost his cool to this, which was something to see, because it’s usually the viewers who react this way after sitting through one of his shows.
“Do you not trust the FBI? You don’t trust the CIA? I’m just very confused here,” Todd shouted. He prompted Johnson, who is chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security committee, to admit that he doesn’t trust the nation’s intelligence agencies. Yikes.
In response, Johnson called Todd so “incredibly biased” that the senator “would never be able to get the truth out.” That type of tin-foil hogwash may go over well in Oshkosh, but it didn’t work on Meet the Press, at least not today, because Todd was in a bad mood.
“Senator, I don’t know why you came on here to just personally attack the press and avoid answering questions about what’s happened here,” Todd said.
Watch this amazingness: