- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 17, 2021

Apparently Republicans are reluctant to appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and host Chuck Todd is peeved.

Mr. Todd took a swipe Sunday at “mainstream” Republican officials, accusing them of “near-silence for the past four years” on the Sunday news talk shows.

“One of the hallmarks of the Trump era that anyone who works for a mainstream Sunday show knows all too well has been the selective silence of a large chunk of the elected leaders of the Republican Party, particularly in the United States Senate,” Mr. Todd said in Politico.

Senate Republicans were thin on the ground Sunday but not invisible: Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, was interviewed by host Maria Bartiromo on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Mr. Todd continued: “This week is no different from just about every other Sunday of the Trump era: a large swath of mainstream GOPers choosing silence over being forced to reconcile their role and the party’s role in the Trump era.”

It was unclear which Republicans he meant, given that GOP officeholders turn up regularly on “Meet the Press.” This month alone, the show has featured Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican (Jan. 3); Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican (Jan. 10), and Rep. Nancy Mace, South Carolina Republican, on Jan. 17.

“A handful of GOP senators have tried to regularly make themselves available. But they’re few and far between,” Mr. Todd said.

He argued that the “mainstream Sunday shows are still the best place for sober debate, if the sober-minded elected officials will participate and show their constituents of all political stripes they aren’t afraid of tough but fair questions about any issue, whether politically problematic for their side or not.”

Citizens for the Republic, a conservative group founded in 1977 by Ronald Reagan, countered that Mr. Todd and other hosts had nobody to blame but themselves, saying that shows like his “long ago stopped being venues for anything close to a sober debate for Republicans.

“Chuck Todd should maybe think about urging more Democrats to go on Fox or Newsmax. Then perhaps we could take him seriously,” the group said in a statement. “Shows like his can bring on as many Republicans as they want, but they will never get a fair shake or get a chance to speak their piece without someone like Todd making shrill interruptions while repeating DNC talking points.”

Many Senate Republicans were likely reluctant to discuss how they would vote during the looming impeachment trial. The House voted Wednesday to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection” following the Jan. 6 rioting at the U.S. Capitol.

Of course, ducking the media rather than facing hostile questions is a time-honored tradition of politicians on both the right and left.

Two weeks ago, for example, Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock was conspicuously absent from the Sunday lineup just two days before the Jan. 5 Georgia Senate runoff, even though Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue all made appearances.

Mr. Warnock would have probably been quizzed about a domestic dispute from March in which his then-wife accused him of running over her foot, which he has denied, and said that she had “been trying to keep the way that he acts under wraps for a long time,” according to the police video released in late December.

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