It was written by Peter Wehner, who served as an aide in the administrations of three Republican presidents.
“When you look at articles like that, that is liberal media doing everything they can to distract from the fact that the left-wing progressives...” Sununu began.
Phillip interrupted: “This is a conservative, by the way. This is someone who worked for a Republican president.”
But Sununu forged ahead without missing a beat, arguing that the article was part of a “national effort” to “distract from the massive amount of antisemitism you’re seeing out of the Democrat party.”
“And too many people in the media and otherwise not pushing back on that narrative,” he said. “What we’re seeing in our colleges and our universities is very real. It is hateful. It is unprecedented.”
Phillip noted again that the op-ed was written by a Republican, and asked Sununu a second time about Trump’s authoritarian language. Sununu, a Trump critic, said he’s aware of Trump’s history with this kind of rhetoric, but still sees coverage of it as a distraction.
“It’s not a distraction. He is the frontrunner,” Phillip replied, referring to Trump’s wide lead in the Republican 2024 presidential race.
Since last month’s outbreak of war between Israel and the Hamas militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, there has been a surge in antisemitic and Islamophobic hate speech and attacks across the U.S.
Wehner’s article and Phillips’ questioning focussed on Trump’s recent use of the word “vermin” to describe his political enemies. The term was used in Nazi Germany propaganda about Jews, as well as by other cruel movements in history that sought to dehumanize and incite violence and hatred against certain groups of people.