MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle grilled DNC chair Jaime Harrison over the Democrats’ strategy heading into the 2022 midterm elections.
Ruhle kicked off the interview on Tuesday by declaring next week’s Virginia gubernatorial election “the first big test for Democrats.”
“But in Virginia and Democrats nationwide, why is it that it seems like Democrats continue to just be running against Trump? He’s not in office,” Ruhle said.
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Harrison pushed back, insisting the “first big test” was actually last month’s California recall resulting in Democrat Gavin Newsome’s securing his seat in the governor’s mansion.
He then appeared to defend the anti-Trump messaging from Democrats, saying former President Trump is “still the head” of the Republican Party and is “still looming” in American politics, later calling Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin a “Trump acolyte.”
“Trump is a looming threat, but he’s not in power and Democrats are,” Ruhle fired back. “And right now, Democrats have not gotten anything done on infrastructure, voting rights, gun reform and police reform. How do you get voters energized in Virginia for Democratic ideals, not just against Trump?”
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Harrison told Ruhle those issues she listed were “in progress” and touted the passing of the American Rescue Plan.
“This process ain’t a fast one. I know we all sort of make McDonald’s, Burger King mentality where you can go through fast- drive-through and get something done and get it done in a hurry, but that’s not how the legislative process works,” Harrison said. “You got to do negotiations and move things forward. And we’re on the brink of doing just that. So I’m proud of what we’ve done so far. I know we’re going to continue to deliver for the American people moving forward.”
The MSNBC host then pressed Harrison if he thinks Democratic lawmakers have “overpromised” in the spending bills since “a lot” of what was initially in the bill will not make it to President Biden’s desk.
Harrison acknowledged “you don’t always get all you want all at one time,” particularly with slim majorities in the House and Senate, but said voters ultimately want to see “Congress working for them.”
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Ruhle wrapped up the interview by offering Harrison a warning.
“You know what else they care about? Inflation, prices going up and Democrats are gonna have to address that in the now and not just say it’s transitory,” Ruhle said.
Earlier this month, Ruhle similarly grilled Harrison over the Democratic in-fighting over the trillion-dollar spending bills.
“If neither of these bills gets passed … how do you convince voters it is still worth sticking with Democrats in 2022?” Ruhle asked.
“Well Stephanie, they’re going to get passed because they have to get passed,” Harrison told Ruhle before promoting President Biden’s “FDR” style agenda and going on to claim Democrats “deliver” while Republicans “obstruct” as part of the Democrat messaging heading into the midterms.
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Harrison offered assurances that the bills will get passed, but then quickly shifted to the Republican Party, who he says is “just sitting on the sidelines trying to figure out ways to obstruct.”
“But sir, Republicans are not in power, you are,” Ruhle interjected. “And I’m not saying they’re right or he’s wrong, but isn’t the Democratic Party a party in where Joe Manchin and far-left progressives can exist in the same party? Because love or hate Republicans, they get behind — they get on the same page even when they hold the nose and hate their own president.”