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Don’t Use Press Jobs to Rehab Trump’s Flunkies

S.E. Cupp, Tribune Content Agency on

On the night of Dec. 5, 2020, Jocelyn Benson and her 4-year-old son had just finished decorating their Detroit house for Christmas. Just as he was sitting down to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Jocelyn heard a growing ruckus outside.

The noises got louder and louder and eventually Benson could see there was a mob of dozens of protesters standing on her front lawn. Some were armed with guns.

They shouted obscenities. Some chanted on bullhorns. At least one person yelled “You’re murderers!” within earshot of her son’s room. Another: “Your neighbors will not get no sleep — you need to come out now!”

Benson was — and still is — Michigan’s secretary of state. A month before Trump supporters descended on her property to harass and intimidate her family, the head of the Republican National Committee — Ronna McDaniel — went on Fox News to tell a national audience that the election results in Michigan may have been fraudulent. She accused Benson of being “dishonest,” and an election worker of trying to rig the election.

She said the RNC was pursuing “very serious” reports of “irregularities” in Michigan, and described “hundreds of witnesses who talk about being disenfranchised and being removed from counting centers.”

Even as Fox hosts pressed her for evidence that they hadn’t found — “There’s all kinds of stuff flying on the internet, but when we look into it, it doesn’t pan out,” — she urged them to “be patient.”

 

Evidence of voter fraud in Michigan never appeared. But McDaniel’s baseless allegations against Michigan election workers and Benson had already done what they were supposed to do: get Trump voters mad.

Mad enough that two months later they’d storm the U.S. Capitol, hoping to overturn a democratic election, shouting “Hang Mike Pence!” and “Where’s Nancy?” McDaniel shamefully called the violent insurrection “legitimate political discourse.”

Benson was hardly the only victim of Trump and McDaniel’s dangerous lies. State officials and election workers all over the country were targeted, all so that Trump could cling to power.

So, there’s well-deserved angst over the hiring of McDaniel, who just resigned as head of the RNC, by NBC News, both inside its cable property MSNBC, and among journalists everywhere.

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