What conservative commentator is making threats to control how legislators vote?
As the bipartisan border deal imploded this week, Senator James Lankford shared how certain media figures are putting their hands directly into politics, by holding threats over legislators’ heads.
He’s not quite naming names, but what he shared is a significant insight into why fellow Republicans refuse to vote on a piece of legislation that essentially granted their every wish.
Republicans have been accused of tanking the bill for the sake of Donald Trump’s re-election, and Lankford basically confirmed that this is an underlying motive. This time, it’s coming straight from the mouth of a Republican Senator, and he’s not only confirmed the motive but given a hint at who’s behind it.
Others in the House have said that Trump is making contact with legislators to push them away from the bill, but Lankford suggests that not all of the contact is direct. At least some is being filtered through media personalities. He said:
“I had a popular commentator four weeks go that I talked to that told me flat out, before they knew any of the contents of the bill, if you try to move a bill that solves the border crisis during this presidential year, I will do whatever I can to destroy you, because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election.”
Lankford is the first Republican to come forward and admit that he’s been targeted by a pressure campaign, but is he the only one?
He goes on to share that he has been targeted by the unnamed media figure, just as promised. He didn’t share, however, what that effort entails, or what the effects have been.
There are right-wing media figures who have blasted Lankford, though. Laura Ingraham, for instance, according to Fox News, said:
“Now, it’s a classic Senate theater of the absurd move with its own cast of characters, including the man cast by Mitch McConnell to be lead actor. That’s Oklahoma Senator Jim Lankford.”
She’s not alone, though. Charlie Kirk, head of Turning Point USA, openly threatened to end the political career of anyone “remotely associated” with the legislation and specifically said his organization would hold rallies and events against him, according to Media Matters For America.
Others still, including Steve Bannon, Sean Hannity, Ben Shapiro, Jessa Watters, and even Brian Kilmeade have trashed the legislation, and/or spread disinformation about its provisions.
So, who is trying to blackmail Senator Lankford — and other legislators — into helping Trump win 2024, and who else are they targeting?
By the way, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican Leader, was on board with the bill throughout, until he suddenly announced on Tuesday that he’s no longer behind it.
Here’s Senator Lankford saying there’s an attempt underway to blackmail him into altering legislation to help Donald Trump:
Lankford: I had a popular commentator that told me flat out, if you try to move a bill that solves the border crisis during this presidential year, I will do whatever I can to destroy you. Because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election. pic.twitter.com/axg08BeCiG
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 7, 2024
Here’s McConnell withdrawing his support from the bill:
McConnell: Things have changed over the last four months, and it's been made perfectly clear by the speaker that he wouldn't take it up even if we sent it to him and so I think that's probably why most of our members think we ought to have opposition tomorrow pic.twitter.com/2HUin1W8ZX
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 6, 2024
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here: