“Meet the Press” host and unofficial water-carrier for the Democratic Party Chuck Todd had his hands full when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) appeared on his show Sunday to discuss the big Trump/Ukraine hullabaloo.
Johnson, who told the Wall Street Journal on Friday that while he’d heard from U.S. diplomats that aid to Ukraine was contingent on their cooperation with an investigation into the 2016 election, said that he’d confirmed with President Trump that no such quid pro quo had ever occurred. Todd was on a mission to get Johnson to talk about that exchange, but the Wisconsin senator was more interested in steering the conversation towards more important issues.
“I have never seen in my lifetime a president, after being elected, have some measure of well-wishes from his opponents. I’ve never seen a presidential administration be sabotaged from the day after the election, I’ve never seen [a president getting] no measure of honeymoon whatsoever. What President Trump has had to endure –a false accusation,” Johnson began. “By the way, when you have John Brennan on, you ought to ask him: What did Peter Strzok mean when he texted Lisa Page on Dec. 15, 2016?”
“Senator, what does this have to do with Ukraine?” Todd asked.
“It has everything to do with Ukraine,” Johnson assured him. “Six days before that is when we first heard the CIA leaking about Russia supporting the Trump campaign. That is why Trump is so upset. He had this false narrative that resulted in him being set up by James Comey… and now that that has been proven false, he would like to know and I would like to know, where did this all come from? Who planted this false story?”
Todd sighed. “Why a Fox News conspiracy propaganda stuff is popping up here, I have no idea.”
Yeah. This is the place for NBC conspiracy propaganda stuff, Mr. Senator!
“It is not that, and that is exactly why President Trump is upset and why his supporters are upset with the news media,” Johnson replied.
That, as you might have guessed, struck a nerve.
“This is not about the media,” Todd said. “Senator Johnson, please, can we please… I have no idea why we’re going here. … Can we please answer the question I asked you instead of trying to make Donald Trump feel better here that you’re not criticizing him? I’m just trying to ask you a simple question of what made you wince. I’m asking a simple question about you clearly were upset that there was an implication military aid was being frozen because the president wanted an investigation.”
In other words: If you’re not here to say bad stuff about President Trump, then we’re not interested. See also: Jim Mattis’s book tour.
But it’s “not about the media.”
Sure. Whatever you say, Chuck.