It’s difficult to consider the United States a democracy when one party continues to fight to undermine public trust in the fair conduct of elections despite the innumerable certifications that the results of the ballot counting are valid and have not been manipulated.
Fox News host Chris Wallace knows this and has been more scrupulous than most of the opinionated talking heads on his channel about not providing a megaphone for Republican politicians seeking relevancy amongst Donald Trump’s MAGA base by parroting easily disprovable assertions that Joe Biden did not actually win the 2020 presidential election by a landslide in both the popular and electoral college votes.
While Wallace has avoided booking the most notorious purveyors of Trump’s “big lie” on his program, sometimes the desire to speak with senior GOP leadership on his show means that he is forced to confront those who are too frightened of the consequences of defying the twice-impeached former president to acknowledge the truth about the insane contortions that one must engage in to remain off of Trump’s formidable enemies list.
Such situations make for some entertaining viewing as was the case this morning when House minority whip Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) went out of his way to avoid agreeing with the clear fact that Joe Biden was legitimately elected to become the 46th President of the United States of America.
As a member of the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, Scalise was certainly newsworthy as he gave his views to the intrepid journalist about how the Democratic president has handled the economy and the COVID pandemic, and about the fate of the Democratic agenda contained in the $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 billion Build Back Better bill.
Still, after Rep. Scalise predictably condemned the Biden administration’s current actions and future plans, Chris Wallace cornered him with the looming questions: does he believe that the 2020 election was actually stolen from Trump, and does he think that such claims actually work to undermine America’s democratic system of governance?
Scalise twisted himself into a pretzel to avoid answering those questions directly.
“Well Chris, I’ve been very clear from the beginning,” the Louisiana congressman began. “If you look at a number of states, they didn’t follow their state passed laws that govern the election for president. That is what the United States Constitution says. They don’t say that the states determine what the rules are, they say the state legislature determined that,” Scalise insisted, delving into the arcana of election law while ignoring the fact that a deadly pandemic was threatening the country during the contest.
Since Wallace did not hear any denial from Scalise of his agreement with Trump’s phony assertions, he further pressed the GOP leader on the issue, interjecting “But the states all certified…,” only to face a repetition of the summary of state election laws and the Constitution without specifically commenting on the validity of the stolen election claims in a seemingly evasive rhetorical maneuver.
“But at the end of the day, are we going to follow what the Constitution says or not?” Scalise continued. “I hope we get back to what the Constitution says but clearly in a number of states, they didn’t follow those legislatively-set rules.”
“I guess the question is — last time, I promise — do you think the election was stolen or not?” Wallace shot back. “I understand you think there were irregularities and things that need to be fixed. Do you think the election was stolen?”
“It’s states that did not follow the law set,” Scalise evaded a definitive answer to the question posed. “When you see states like Georgia cleaning up some of the mess and people calling that Jim Crow law. That’s a flat-out lie.”
Scalise’s position on Trump’s repeated bleatings about election fraud has some practical implications, as Wallace’s next question revealed.
Asked how he would vote if the former Trump advisors who were subpoenaed by the House Select committee investigating the January 6th insurrection failed to honor the congressional mandate, Scalise equivocated.
“These are legal issues and you’ve got a number of people that have been subpoenaed that are complying. They’re trying to comply, but it’s it’s a legal process,” Scalise told Wallace.
Further evidence of the Louisiana lawmaker’s evasive tactics came after the Fox News host tried to elicit more on the topic from Scalise.
Well, I don’t speculate on a bill that’s not before me,” Scalise equivocated.
You can watch an excerpt of GOP House minority whip Steve Scalise’s interview with Fox News‘s Chris Wallace in the video clip below.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.