Incoming members of Congress Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), and Deb Haaland (D-NM) appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation with moderator Margaret Brennan on Sunday. When the roundtable discussion veered into a gripe session about how dastardly President Trump was “undermining our democracy,” particularly the freedom of the press, Crenshaw — outnumbered four to one — nimbly embarrassed the liberal panelists.
At the beginning of the clip, Neguse, speaking the language of “the Resistance,” declared: “I think some of our freedoms and the principles that we live by have been under attack for the better part of the last two years.”
Asked to respond to Neguse, Crenshaw wanted specifics. “I always ask the question — ‘like what?’ What is he undermining exactly? What democratic freedoms have been undermined? We just had an election where we switched power in the House. Democracy is at work. People are voting in record numbers.”
Crenshaw suggested they cite examples that could be examined “one by one,” rather than make “broad brush” accusations that the president is somehow undermining our democracy.
The liberal members of the panel began talking at once, all of them indicating that the president was undermining the free press, among other things.
Crenshaw was ready for that discussion. “Obama indicted — had many press members under investigation,” he pointed out. “Trump has not. So what is the difference here?”
Neguse replied: “Just last week, one of the largest media publications in the United States had to go to a federal court in order to essentially regain access to the press room.”
Crenshaw corrected the Democrat. “That was one reporter — not the whole organization.”
Host Margaret Brennan pointed out that other media organizations had filed amicus briefs in support of CNN.
“That’s right.” Crenshaw agreed. “Because he was disruptive.”
At this point, Houlahan chimed in, saying: “I would argue that our president is consistently disruptive in those very same press conferences and I would argue that he treats them with disrespect.”
“How is that an attack on the press though?” Crenshaw demanded.
“Because it’s literally an attack on the press,” Houlahan shot back.
Crenshaw is a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in Afghanistan.
“Oh, I’ve literally been attacked. So — let’s choose our words carefully.”
“His-his-his language is an attack … ” Houlahan stammered.
“Okay, so why can’t he speak — why is he not allowed to use his own language and freedom of speech?” Crenshaw asked.
Houlahan responded that it was important that the president lead by example, and Crenshaw agreed.
“I agree with you there. Style is one thing. If you want to criticize style, I’m with you,” he said. “But to say it’s an attack on the freedom of the press. That is a very bold statement.”
"This broad brush criticism that the president is somehow undermining our democracy, I always wonder like, what exactly are we talking about?" @DanCrenshawTX tells @margbrennan @FaceTheNation https://t.co/ac7ve4LCfw pic.twitter.com/u9QPUmwMMl
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 18, 2018
No doubt about it — Crenshaw is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the new Democrat-led House.