Apart from the personal insults and name-calling, the Republican primary debate last night was, to no one’s surprise, mostly a dud. Nikki Haley called Vivek Ramaswamy “scum” when he brought up her daughter’s use of TikTok. Ramaswamy called Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “Dick Cheney in three-inch heels,” and the rest was a bunch of noise from people who will never be president.
The one standout moment, though, and perhaps the most important thing to happen on network news in a long time, was when Ramaswamy denounced corporate media for constantly lying to the American people and specifically called out NBC News debate moderator Kristen Welker to her face for spreading the Russia-collusion hoax.
“Kristen I’m gonna use this time — because this is actually about you and the media and the corrupt media establishment — to ask you about the Trump-Russia collusion hoax that you pushed on this network for years. Was that real, or was that Hillary Clinton made-up disinformation? Answer the question, go.”
The crowd cheered, Welker grinned smugly, and when Ramaswamy starting to say the media rigged the 2016 and 2020 election and would rig the 2024 election as well, NBC’s Lester Holt cut him off and moved things along.
It was a glorious moment that instantly made Ramaswamy the winner of the debate. And he didn’t just denounce Welker and the media. Before he went after them, he called for the resignation of Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the RNC, for losing every election cycle since 2018, and slammed the GOP establishment for agreeing to let NBC News, of all outlets, host a Republican primary debate.
“Think about who’s moderating this debate. This should be Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, and Elon Musk. We’d have ten times the viewership, asking questions that GOP primary voters actually care about and bring in more people to our party. You think the Democrats — I mean we’ve got Kristen Welker here — you think the Democrats would actually hire Greg Gutfeld to host a Democratic debate?”
Ramaswamy is of course correct. Democrats would never let a media outlet as openly hostile to them as NBC News is to Republicans host a primary debate. They would never agree to any debate moderators other than their own corporate media courtesans because they don’t want their candidates to be humiliated on a national stage. Unlike the GOP establishment, the Democratic Party likes to win elections, and it behaves accordingly.
Consider the absolute insanity of the GOP agreeing to let Welker, the anchor for NBC’s “Meet the Press,” be a debate moderator. As my colleague Tristan Justice noted back in October 2020 when Welker was picked to moderate the third debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, she has a long history of blatantly biased reporting in favor of Democrats and was one of the worst perpetrators of the years-long Russia collusion hoax.
Two months before Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his report confirming what everyone already knew, that the idea Trump was a Kremlin agent was a conspiracy theory with no basis in fact, Welker asked Trump, “Mr. President, yes or no. Have you or are you now — have you ever worked for Russia? Yes or no?”
That’s the kind of “journalism” Welker peddles. While covering the Trump administration, wrote Justice, Welker “accused the president of launching his career on birtherism, criticized the president for fanning the flames of the culture wars, and asked then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly whether she could guarantee the president had never used the ‘N-word.’”
More recently, she lied repeatedly in a sit-down interview with Trump in September, falsely claiming there is no evidence President Biden ever pressured Attorney General Merrick Garland to indict Trump, and distorting Democrats’ position on abortion.
Indeed, for calling out Welker and the media, and denouncing the GOP establishment for being a “party of losers,” Ramaswamy demonstrated he has more political sense — and common sense — than any other GOP primary candidate on stage last night. For that and that alone, he won hands down.