CNN’s Manu Raju appears to have triggered Republican Arizona Senator Martha McSally on Thursday by speaking out about President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, earning him a Trumpian slur in the halls of Capitol Hill.
“Manu, you’re a liberal hack,” McSally said, clearly irritated and with undisguised disdain. “I’m not talking to you.”
Watch the video encounter above.
Raju’s alleged hack? He asked if the Senate should “consider new evidence in the impeachment trial?” (The evidence, from Rudolph Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, was made public yesterday, just as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow announced she had booked Parnas for an exclusive interview.)
Apparently it was a touchy subject for McSally, who responded with the brickbat. The full exchange:
Raju: Senator McSally, should the Senate consider new evidence in the impeachment trial?
McSally: Manu, you are a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you
Raju: You’re not going to comment on that?
McSally: You are a liberal hack.
Raju got a more thoughtful response when he posed the same question to Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue. “Absolutely not… Because that’s not our job,” Perdue said, before calling both articles of impeachment “very weak.”
Raju tweeted about the encounter. “Sen. Martha McSally, a Republican facing a tough election race, raged when I asked her if she would accept new evidence in the Senate trial. ‘You’re a liberal hack – I’m not talking to you You are a liberal hack.” She then walked into a courtroom.
McSally then tweeted the video with the message “A) You are. B) Here is the video.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper came to his colleague’s defense, tweeting, “The question was perfectly reasonable and timely, politely posed, and Manu is respected on the Hill by Democrats and Republicans.”
Tapper later tweeted that he had reached out to a family member of the late Sen. John McCain (McSally was appointed to fulfill his term), and was told “There is no love lost between our family and her.”
The CNN anchor then tweeted, “Among other slights, McSally failed to mention McCain when signing the defense bill bearing McCain’s name while on his deathbed.
Axios reporter Jonathan Swan also joined us. “I almost never speak to this type of nonsense because I think it’s stupid for journalists to take the bait,” Swan tweeted. “Politicians want these clips to go viral. But Manu is one of Capitol Hill’s best and hardest-working reporters.
CNN later released a statement about the incident. “It is extremely unseemly for a US senator to fall to that level and treat a member of the press that way for simply doing his job.”
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s re-election campaign saw things differently, sensing a fundraising opportunity. “THREE CHEERS for Senator @MarthaMcSally!!! tweeted the Trump War Room account. “THIS IS how you handle FAKE NEWS @CNN. DONATE to Martha NOW.”
Here is the Twitter lead: