CNN anchor Jake Tapper criticised baseless Republican-led challenges to 2020 election results, right-wing media amplifying bogus claims about Joe Biden’s administration and GOP officials contradicting health experts on Covid-19 vaccines as “made up convoluted crap” following several days of “lies” circulating on the American right.
His criticisms on Sunday follow anchor Jim Acosta’s remarks slamming Fox News as a “bull**** factory” for echoing false reports about President Biden’s administration, including a claim that copies of a book from Vice President Kamala Harris are given to migrant children, and that the president will cut hamburgers from Americans’ diets.
Mr Tapper’s editorial on Sunday comes as Arizona Republicans continue an audit of 2020 election results spurred by Donald Trump’s persistent election fraud lies.
Cindy McCain, whose late husband and GOP Senator John McCain represented the state, called the audit “ludicrous.”
“The election is over. Biden won. I know many of them don’t like the outcome but elections have consequences,” she told CNN’s State of the Union. “Things are just aloof and crazy out there.”
Former president Trump told a crowd at his Mar-a-Lago resort this week that he “wouldn’t be surprised if they found thousands and thousands and thousands of votes” for him in Arizona, a state he lost to Mr Biden in the 2020 presidential election that he continues to falsely insist was “rigged” against him.
“You’ll watch Pennsylvania, and Georgia, and you’re going to watch Michigan and Wisconsin, and you’re watching New Hampshire – they found a lot of votes up in New Hampshire just now – because this was a rigged election, and everybody knows it,” he said.
Despite reviews from state election officials and outside forensic reports of the state’s election results that confirmed Mr Biden’s election, auditors hired by Arizona Senate Republicans to recount ballots from Maricopa County were motivated by fears of “antifa” attacks and sought to use UV lights – following a QAnon-affiliated conspiracy theory the former president secretly watermarked ballots to catch voter fraud – in their audit.
“Lie after lie after lie,” Mr Tapper said. “I’m not talking about opinions, if people want to rail against Biden’s border policies or $6 trillion of proposals or whatever – have at it. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about made up convoluted crap, and it’s having an impact.”
He pointed to polling that shows vaccine hesitancy among Republican men, as well as calls from GOP Senator Ron Johnson to “limit” vaccine availability to only the most vulnerable Americans, despite urgent guidance from health officials to vaccinate widely.
“The incentive structure in the Republican party and its media does not punish those who spread bad medical advice or lies,” Mr Tapper added. “Telling the truth as a Republican official can be hazardous to your political health.”
During an interview with Mr Tapper earlier on Sunday, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she was “appalled” that fellow GOP Senator Mitt Romney was booed by members of his state party for voting to convict the former president in his impeachment trials. The Utah Republican Party sought to censure him for his votes. The vote failed by a vote of 711 to 798.
“We are not a party that is led by just one person,” Ms Collins said.
Republican Liz Cheney – who also voted to convict Mr Trump – has also faced political fallout from her party’s leadership, including lawmakers mulling whether to oust her as the party’s highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress.
Mr Tapper said the US needs a “healthy, thriving, fact-based” Republican party.
“It is difficult to look at these events, all within the last week, and conclude that we have one,” he said.