Joe Walsh: GOP Voters ‘Want a Dictator’ Who Won’t Teach The Holocaust

On Thursday’s CNN Newsroom, Trumper-turned-Never Trumper Joe Walsh took the opportunity to portray himself as one of the good Republicans who are not like the other Republicans who allegedly want a dictator and who will prohibit American children from learning about the Holocaust. Thursday was also International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Walsh had just condemned “Trump’s right” and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for “banning books that make you uncomfortable” when host Alisyn Camerota also referenced DeSantis and asked: “the Ron DeSantis ‘discomfort’ bill as it’s called. Let me read you a portion of it. It bans public schools and private business from making people feel discomfort or guilt based on race, sex, or nationality.”

“I mean, this is, it’s so strange, I think, as you point out congressman, that this is coming from a, a Ron DeSantis, and I don’t even understand frankly, practically how it can work. How are you ever supposed to shield your child in school from any discomfort,” she huffed.

Camerota’s description of the new legislation wasn’t the first time it was mispresented by CNN, but Walsh’s reply was far worse: 

I talk to these people every day, Republican voters every day, and they want DeSantis to do this stuff, they want Trump to shut down CNN or do whatever. It’s, it’s, they want a dictator. They want a strong-man to remove things that make them uncomfortable or things they don’t like. This is really scary, though, Alisyn. I mean 1.5 million children died in the Holocaust and these people don’t believe American children should learn about the Holocaust.

Walsh’s reference to the Holocaust was the original premise of the segment. A Tennessee school board voted to remove Maus from its eighth-grade reading list for profanity and nudity, but it is a stretch to say that they even banned it and irresponsibly false to say they banned it because they do not want to educate students about the Holocaust.

Even worse for CNN is that Camerota claimed it wasn’t an outrageous decision, “I think that it can be debated whether or not Maus is appropriate for eighth-graders. I think that, that’s okay. Maybe it should be reserved for high schoolers.”

With that concession, the segment should have ended before it started, but then CNN would not have the opportunity to portray Republicans as a bunch of dictator-loving book burners.

This segment was sponsored by Subaru.

Here is a transcript for the January 27 show:

CNN CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell
1/27/2022
3:29 PM ET

ALISYN CAMEROTA: I think that it can be debated whether or not Maus is appropriate for eighth graders. I think that, that’s okay. Maybe it should be reserved for high schoolers. But the problem is, is that this isn’t a one-off. This isn’t an isolated incident. I, I understand that you are seeing, I think, on a daily basis, requests and demands for more censorship. So, just tell us what you’re seeing. 

DEBORAH CALDWELL-STONE: What we’re observing is really an unprecedented volume of demands to remove books from schools and libraries across the country. I’ve done this work for nearly 20 years and we’ve never had a period of time where we would receive four, five, sometimes eight reports a day from librarians and educators telling us that a, a group or parent has demanded the removal of a book. And what’s really disturbing is that these demands seem to be targeting books that are dealing primarily with diverse, diversity, diverse topics. Books addressing the LGBTQIA experience or we’re seeing many challenges complaining about Critical Race Theory, but the books that are being targeted are books about the history of racism in the United States and the lived experiences of black persons and indigenous persons. And so we’re really seeing what appears to be a campaign to remove much of the history and voices of marginalized groups in this country right now, particularly those dealing with racism. 

CAMEROTA: Yeah. Congressman, I mean, much of this is coming from conservative and Republican quarters. How do you explain it? 

JOE WALSH: Hey Alisyn, this, this is the new right. I mean, I’m of the right. I suppose this is why I longer fit in with this Republican Party. What this is, this is authoritarianism and this is what Trump’s right is, shutting down speech that makes you uncomfortable, banning books that make you uncomfortable. Ron DeSantis down in Florida, Alisyn, pushing legislation to ban the teaching of race, in Florida schools, if it makes people uncomfortable. I, you know, I come from right-wing media. When I was in right-wing media, Alisyn, we’d make fun of and go after people on the left for trying to shut down speech they didn’t like. Many of my colleagues would utter sneeringly, utter the phrase “facts don’t care about your feelings.” Now we’re seeing this on the right and it’s authoritarianism. 

CAMEROTA: And congressman, one more sneering criticism the right likes to bandy about are “snowflakes,” people’s whose feelings are so easily wounded and this bill that you just talked about, the Ron DeSantis “discomfort” bill as it’s called, let me read you a portion of it, it bans public schools and private business from making people feel discomfort or guilt based on race, sex, or nationality. I mean, this is, it’s so strange, I think, as you point out congressman, that this is coming from a, a Ron DeSantis, and I don’t even understand frankly, practically how it can work. How are you ever supposed to shield your child in school from any discomfort? 

WALSH: Alisyn, it’s the most mystifying thing, but again, it’s, I talk to these people every day, Republican voters every day, and they want DeSantis to do this stuff, they want Trump to shut down CNN or do whatever. It’s, it’s, they want a dictator. They want a strong-man to remove things that make them uncomfortable or things they don’t like. This is really scary, though, Alisyn. I mean 1.5 million children died in the Holocaust and these people don’t believe American children should learn about the Holocaust. 

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