A Former Republican Lt. Governor ‘Defends The Indefensible’

CNN host Pamela Brown moderated a lively debate between Republican Trump surrogate and former South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer and Democratic strategist Keith Boykin, Saturday. The discussion focused on Donald Trump’s reaction to Jeff Sessions getting caught lying about meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and recusing himself from any related investigation. They also discussed Trump’s early morning tweet storm alleging that President Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap on Trump Tower. Finally, as has become the norm for any discussion involving Trump, they discussed the nature of facts, evidence and reality.

Bauer launched the debate by describing the reporting on Trump’s connections to Russia as a “drumbeat” that is “almost a coup.” He said that Trump was right to be angry that information had leaked to ABC News that was a lie about Sessions.

Brown cut him off to correct him that Sessions had in fact met with Kislyak. Bauer argued that he did so as a Senator and not as a campaign surrogate.

Boykin countered that Sessions acted as if he barely knew who Kislyak was during the hearings. Boykin said that Trump has a problem with “not taking responsibility.” He blames Obama, Hillary Clinton, the media, his own staff, but never takes responsibility. “The buck stops here, not with everybody else. It’s time for him to man up and be the president, not the blamer-in-chief.”

Bauer lamely suggested that Sessions meets a lot of people and had probably just forgotten about meeting Kislyak.

Boykin said,

“You don’t forget a meeting with the Ambassador of Russia when the country is in the midst of a discussion about Russian interference in the election. That’s an implausible scenario, sir. I’m sorry, Andre, that’s not a tenable answer to that question.”

Bauer responded that Boykin likes to “beat this drum” about Russia to “beat down the guy who is now” president.

Responding to a question about Trump’s tweets, Bauer said, “Most of the time, when he has pointed this out, he’s been right, he’s been able to back it up.”

Boykin, growing exasperated, said,

“No, that’s not true. When did he back up the 3 to 5 million illegal votes? When did he back up the fact that it was the largest inauguration crowd in history? When did he back up the idea that he had the biggest electoral win since Ronald Reagan? He hasn’t backed up any of his lies. You, Andre, are validating and enabling the liar-in-chief. And you need to stop and hold him accountable, just as you would President Obama or a potential President Hillary Clinton. The hypocrisy here is stunning sir, and I expect more from you and from the Republican party.”

Bauer responded, “So Detroit didn’t have more votes than people that showed up? Are you denying that?”

Boykin said,

“This is what happens with Donald Trump. He puts out a tweet or a false statement. There is no evidence to back it up, including the 3-to-5-million vote allegation, and then his surrogates like Andre go on television and defend the indefensible. It’s impossible to have intelligent dialogue with people who won’t stand up and hold their own president accountable.”

Brown asked Bauer what was behind the wiretapping allegation, since it seemed to originate from a right wing news source, and the White House had not issued any official statement about it.

Bauer responded that the New York Times reported in January that Russian officials had been wiretapped, and Trump associates’ communications had been intercepted. “So he feels like he’s already being wiretapped.”

Boykin said that “someone” in the Republican party “should have the courage” to speak up to Trump and “speak truth to power. No one right now is doing that in the Republican party. And that is the real crisis in our country.”

Bauer concluded the discussion by saying, “Get used to it. You’re not going to like it. ,,, It’s refreshing to me and a lot of Americans that he’s not backing down.”

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