GQ magazine’s Julia Ioffe has been all over the media connecting the Pittsburgh shooting to President Trump. It started with this tweet:
And a word to my fellow American Jews: This president makes this possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there, where you don’t live was worth it.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) October 27, 2018
Since then, Ioffe has been on several shows to make her case against Trump and today, on Jake Tapper’s CNN show, she drove her argument straight into a ditch. “This president has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did,” Ioffe stated. She added, “I mean, the way he talks…the way he winks and nods to these groups.” When challenged by panelist David Urban if she had anything to back up that claim, Ioffe replied, “I think the president has far more supporters who espouse an equally hateful ideology.” Here’s a clip of that:
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 29, 2018
According to host Jake Tapper, those comments got the attention of the RNC. So later in the show, he gave Ioffe a chance to apologize. “I think I spoke in the heat of the moment. This has been a very emotional and personally painful time for me. I think I exaggerated and I apologize for that,” she said. Here’s the apology:
Ioffe also apologized on Twitter:
I clarified and apologized on air, but I’ll say it again here. This has been a very emotional and painful time, but I absolutely should not have gone with such hyperbole on the air. I apologize.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) October 29, 2018
It must be great being on the left. You can literally say the President of the United States is worse than ISIS on national television and all it takes to get back in CNN’s good graces is a brief apology. Maybe she’s sincere, but it’s not as if this is the first time she’s said something really crazy and irresponsible about Trump. Remember this tweet which got Ioffe fired from her job at Politico last year?
She apologized for that one too, promising at the time that it wouldn’t happen again:
It was a tasteless, offensive tweet that I regret and have deleted. I am truly and deeply sorry. It won't happen again.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) December 14, 2016
The irony here is almost too much to take. The whole premise of this exchange, as CNN’s Symone Sanders says at one point, is that “rhetoric matters.” Ioffe is there to argue that Trump and the right are letting themselves get carried away with language that is one step from incitement to murder. And yet, given a platform on CNN what she actually says is that Trump is worse than ISIS, not exactly a model of rhetorical restraint. It’s only too bad she never got a chance to explain how the president’s supporters are equally hateful to the murderous caliphate. I’m sure that would have been illuminating.
If I were somehow invited on CNN to talk about someone’s rhetoric and said something comparable, i.e. Bernie Sanders had radicalized more people than ISIS, I’m pretty sure I’d never be invited back. Let’s see if Ioffe faces any consequences for this or just gets another chance to blurt out something stupid and then apologize for it a few months from now. That seems to be her pattern.