CNN’s John Avlon has a habit that we’ve noted of cooking up a comment designed to focus attention on himself. But although he was on the CNN This Morning panel today, it was CNN host and commentator S.E. Cupp who grabbed the spotlight with a very vulgar line.
The subject was the state of Nikki Haley’s campaign. And Cupp argued that there is still demand within the GOP electorate for what Haley is offering.
Along the way, Cupp took a shot at Republicans who, in order to stay in the GOP “club,” sacrifice their principles and endorse Trump. She singled out Tim Scott, who endorsed Trump despite having, while Scott was still in the primary race, cast his campaign as a choice between “grievance and greatness.” In endorsing Trump, Scott claimed that his mention of “grievance” and “victimhood” was not a reference to Trump, but to Joe Biden. Riiight.
Cupp brought the segment to an end with this:
“Maybe one of the only people who can sidestep the great emasculation of the GOP by Donald Trump is a woman. Maybe, just maybe, Nikki Haley has more balls than the rest of them.“
John Avlon clapped. Queried co-anchor Poppy Harlow: “Title of your next book?”
And co-anchor Phil Mattingly: “I want to keep this going, but I also want to end it here.” There was much self-satisfied mirth.
Cupp began her career as a young pundit on Fox News before getting paid hosting gigs at MSNBC and then CNN. Up into 2015, she was still often sounding like a conservative. That hasn’t been the case since Trump arrived on the scene. While she may have been hired back in the day as an outnumbered counterpoint, these days she sounds like all the other pundits on CNN. And she’s the one saying Republicans don’t have any *courage* to dissent from the party line? She’s the one who complains people lost their principles to boost their career?
CNN This Morning
6:11 am ET
S.E. CUPP: The woman who you’re referencing, the perception that it’s over, I mean, I feel like the media plays into that too, when we sit here and say, it’s over, or, you know, she can’t win in New Hampshire, she can’t win anywhere else.
Well, she has made a convincing case that enough Republican, moderate, independent voters want someone else. There’s an audience for her. If there weren’t, she wouldn’t have the money. She wouldn’t have the runway. She wouldn’t have the momentum. There is a buyer for Nikki Haley, still. Just because we’re telling her it’s over, she’s supposed to say to all of those buyers, sorry, I’m leaving, you’ve got a choice between Trump and Biden now?
. . .
PHIL MATTINGLY: The threat, the kind of scorched earth we’ve seen from Trump, which is totally expected and completely telegraphed, that the idea, I think the truth, truth, is that what we call it? Truth bomb, yes, that’s the proper terminology. Anybody that makes a contribution to “bird brain” from this moment forth will be barred from the MAGA camp. Hardball politics is not rare. Behind the scenes people say, if you donate to somebody, we’re not going to help you, and stuff. But this is just out in the open and full blown war.
CUPP: Yeah, and getting kicked out of the club, right? The club has currency. The club is important for the Republican party. If you want a future in the Republican party, and don’t want to be Adam Kinzinger or Liz Cheney looking in from the outside, you want to stay in the club.
However, if you have principles, if you meant what you said, Tim Scott, when you said we could choose grievance or greatness, if you meant that, you could say, listen, I’m not endorsing this. I think it’s time to move on, and kind of take your chances.
No one wants to lose. No one wants to lose their job, and it’s so craven and small, but that’s where the Republican party is at right now.
. . .
And maybe one of the only people that can sort of sidestep the great emasculation of the GOP by Donald Trump is a woman.
Maybe just maybe, Nikki Haley has more balls than the rest of us.
POPPY HARLOW: Title of your next book, S.E.?
CUPP: We’ll see.
MATTINGLY: I want to keep this going, but I also want to end it here [laughter on the set.]