December 1, 2023


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Home Speaker Mike Johnson appoints Raj Shah, the appropriate man to unfold extra election lies

7 min read
House Speaker Mike Johnson appoints Raj Shah, the right man to spread more election lies

When an ABC Information reporter final week tried to ask Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), soon-to-be Speaker of the Home, about his key position in Donald Trump’s effort to overthrow the 2020 election, the message conveyed by Home Republicans was primarily ” “Shut up.”

Whereas he was the brand new chief of the Home of Representatives He continues to overtake When requested about his election denials, his newest appointment exhibits that making an attempt to overturn the upcoming presidential election should still be on the prime of the Home GOP’s agenda.

It has been reported On Tuesday, Johnson appointed Raj Shah to be his official spokesman and oversee his communications course of. On this place, he won’t solely function Johnson’s mouthpiece but additionally, in keeping with Politico, “assist message Home Republicans.”

Representatives for Johnson and Shah didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah speaks at a White House news conference in 2018.

Shah is pictured in 2018 when he was White Home deputy press secretary.

Win McNamee/Getty

Shah, a veteran GOP operative who served within the Trump White Home, occurred to have spent 4 years as a Fox Information correspondent. “Brand Protection” knowledgeable earlier than departing in shame final June after the right-wing community settled its defamation lawsuit introduced by Dominion Voting Methods for a whopping $787.5 million.

The truth is, Shah’s position at Fox Information was a key aspect within the Dominion case, which alleged that the conservative cable large deliberately promoted false conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud with the intention to enhance flagging scores after the 2020 election.

The community, after making a controversial however inevitably correct early name for Joe Biden in Arizona on Election Evening, watched its viewership collapse as disgruntled MAGA viewers fled to far-right rivals Newsmax and One America Information, which have been extra prepared to repeat Trump’s baseless rhetoric. Allegations of “rigging” the elections

Shah, whose job as senior vp was to guard Fox’s model, spent the weeks after the election warning prime executives that the community’s core viewers was more and more indignant at Fox Information for supposedly abandoning Trump. And whereas texts and emails from the time, which Dominion obtained and made public throughout its case towards Fox, point out that he didn’t purchase into the Trump group’s wild conspiracies about hacked voting machines that flipped hundreds of thousands of votes in Biden’s favor, neither did he. We would like the channel’s reporters and anchors to contradict these allegations on air.

Within the fast aftermath of Trump’s election loss, Shah scrambled to seek out conservative pundits who would come to the community’s protection amid the right-wing backlash towards Fox. With not one of the “huge guys” biting, Shah instructed the community’s public relations group that he would in all probability get some “second-level individuals” to jot down a column defending Fox Information. Sadly, even most of those writers rejected this job.

On the similar time, Shah — who additionally served as a bridge between Trump World and Fox — was desperately making an attempt to persuade the community to at the least challenge a public apology for its name in Arizona, citing the anger of Trump supporters.

“Do you wish to ask, though it appears unattainable, however is the thought of ​​some type of normal error in A-Z communication fully out of the world?” Shah wrote the community’s prime feedback on Irina Briganti on November 10. “Or some present that focuses on listening to our viewers’ complaints about how we dealt with the election?”

Whereas this request was finally denied on the grounds that it could trigger further disruption between the “laborious information” and opinion sides of the channel, Shah continued to precise concern about Fox’s declining viewership scores. In his view, a key challenge was not solely that the community’s determination desk had known as the election towards Trump, however that Fox’s on-air reporters have been additionally undermining Trump’s fraudulent election narrative.

Noting that “extra of our viewers have a adverse opinion than a optimistic opinion of Fox,” he mentioned the “threats” to Fox Information’ fame among the many MAGA base. For instance, he highlighted the criticism Neil Cavuto was going through for distancing himself from then-Trump spokesman Kayleigh McEnany for spreading election lies.

“Each Donald Trump and Newsmax took energetic roles in selling assaults on Fox Information. Constructive impressions of Fox Information amongst our viewers dropped sharply after Election Day to the bottom ranges we have now ever seen,” Viet Dinh stated.

Mike Johnson addresses the House of Representatives after being elected Speaker.

Mike Johnson addresses the Home of Representatives after being elected Speaker.

Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Within the wake of a tumultuous November 19 press convention wherein Trump’s then-lawyers, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, made outrageous claims about widespread election fraud, which the community broadcast reside in its entirety, Fox Information correspondent Kristen Fischer pounced. With complete reality. Checks. In the meantime, Shah was very upset.

“That is the shit that may kill us,” Shah texted a colleague. “What a fucking mess. We cowl it wall to wall after which burn it down with all of the suspicions.”

Nevertheless, whereas showing to induce prime officers to “respect the general public” and cater to their election denials, Shah privately admitted in letters to colleagues and associates that Trump’s “stolen” claims concerning the election have been largely nonsense. The truth is, after then-Fox Information star Tucker Carlson publicly challenged Powell to offer proof to assist her claims, Shah stated that believing there was “voter fraud working into the hundreds of thousands” was “completely loopy.”

Shah, who had a detailed working relationship with Carlson, additionally suggested Carlson on tips on how to deal with any backlash from Powell and the Trump group, telling him to be “respectful.” On the similar time, he was additionally working behind the scenes to push Trump to distance himself from Powell.

“Following social media criticism of Tucker’s phase questioning legal professional Sidney Powell’s outlandish voter fraud claims, my advisors and I coordinated an effort to generate pushback from the Trump administration towards her claims,” the senior executives wrote, including: “We have been inspired by a number of sources throughout the administration.” . To inform reporters that Powell supplied no proof for her claims and didn’t communicate on behalf of the president.

The trouble seems to have succeeded. On November 22, the Trump marketing campaign Announce That Powell was “practising regulation herself” and was not a “member” of the outgoing president’s authorized group. Nevertheless, regardless of Powell formally distancing herself from Trump, she continued to look on the Fox Information airwaves for weeks.

In the end, whereas Shah helped whitewash Trump’s election lies, he stored telling his associates that he did not consider the election was rigged.

“It is actually irritating,” Shah wrote to a former White Home colleague days earlier than the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. “The one clear proof of voter fraud is Trump’s failed makes an attempt.”

Now Shah will all of a sudden function spokesman for a outstanding Republican lawmaker Absolutely And inserting himself within the 2024 presidential elections, particularly since Trump will definitely be the Republican nominee.

Whereas Johnson rose from relative obscurity to the place of Speaker of Parliament final month, he has achieved so Play an important role In Trump’s makes an attempt to overturn his loss to Biden.

Shortly after Biden was anticipated to win the election, Johnson received Align itself With Trump refusing to just accept the outcomes. “President Trump known as me final night time and I used to be inspired to listen to his continued dedication to make sure each authorized vote is correctly counted and all situations of fraud and illegality are investigated and prosecuted.” chirp on time. “Truthful elections are price combating for!”

Johnson additionally helped gas conspiracy theories about “rigged” voting machines — the identical baseless claims that price Fox Information practically $1 billion.

In November. 17, 2020 Radio interviewHe stated there was “quite a lot of advantage” in Dominion’s claims, including that “when the president says the election was ‘rigged,’ that is what he was speaking about; the repair was there. He additionally rambled on.” I was exposed Conspiracies across the Dominion possession of deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

In the identical interview, Johnson backed Trump’s assertions that Georgia’s vote for Biden was rigged, claiming it was “actually rigged” and “arrange for the Biden group to win.” Since then, Trump and 18 others have been charged with making an attempt to overturn the election ends in Georgia, and a few have already pleaded responsible.

However Johnson’s assist for Trump went past tweets and radio interviews. he She worked quietly behind the scenes to enlistment Home Republicans be part of an amicus transient in assist of a Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Courtroom to dam 4 states for Biden from voting within the Electoral School. Ultimately, nearly all of the Republican Celebration bloc signed the memorandum. The lawsuit will quickly be dismissed by the courtroom.

Ultimately, Johnson joined most Home GOP members in voting towards certifying Biden’s electoral victory on the identical day {that a} mob of indignant MAGA supporters stormed the US Capitol in an try to hold Trump in energy.

No matter Shah’s private stance on election denial, Media Issues colleague Matt Gertz says he has proven a willingness to promote regardless of the conservative base needs.

“However the Shah’s private issues didn’t forestall him from encouraging propaganda,” Geertz stated books Wednesday. “And in his new position, supporting a speaker who was concerned in Trump’s plot to subvert the election, he will surely do the identical if Trump once more tried to overturn the election.”

(Tags for translation)Fox Information

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