Is there a contest behind the scenes among Fox News “personalities” to see who can dive deepest into the tank for Trump? If so, looks like Geraldo’s playing to win. Your move, Hannity.
We’re awfully far out on the limb when Bill O’Reilly (whom Cruz himself noted last night spends an awful lot of time defending Trump) and Eric Bolling feel compelled to defend Cruz from an attack that benefits Trump. But they’re right. This is absurd from the word go, starting with the fact that it came on a day when Cruz was in Brooklyn making matzoh and singing “Dayenu.” Cruz is so ostentatiously pro-Israel that he once showed up at an event devoted to ending persecution of Christians in the Middle East and lectured the Arab attendees about standing with the Jewish state. His base, including and especially evangelicals, loves him for gestures like that. There are pockets of voters on the right who’d appreciate the sort of anti-semitic dog-whistle Geraldo’s describing here, but it’s his friend Trump, not Cruz, who has those votes locked down. That’s another example for Jonathan Last’s inevitable sequel to “Trumpism corrupts”: Geraldo Rivera, himself Jewish by faith and one of the most outspoken amnesty shills in media, going to bat for the hero of the alt-right who’s spent months demanding mass deportation, all in service to smearing Trump’s opponent.
The irony is that Cruz’s real intent with the “New York values” comment is evident in Geraldo’s defensive reaction to having his hometown criticized. It was a regional pander. It was garden-variety rural-versus-urban sucking up to Iowans and Cruz’s southern base, hoping they’d identify Trump with all of the vices cities are typically associated with — greed, sexual licentiousness, godlessness, corruption. It was a short-sighted play by Cruz given how long the primaries seemed destined to run, but it wasn’t crazy to think flattering evangelicals about the comparative virtue of their own communities might predispose them to turn on Trump. So here’s Geraldo, a New Yorker born and bred, wounded that his community has been besmirched and lashing out by calling Cruz, wholly implausibly, a Jew-hater. Perfect. Exit question: When does Jeffrey Toobin make the switch from CNN to join Geraldo at Fox? Sounds like they could use him there.