Did 'top Republicans' really 'condemn' Trump's Orlando comments as WaPo suggests?

The Washington Post lead Wednesday’s Trump attacks presidential election coverage with a screaming headline claiming: “Top Republicans join Obama in condemning Trump’s words


But did they?

I actually clicked on the headline (just as they were hoping many people would do) and I read the article looking for the top Republicans and their condemnation.

I didn’t find it.

Here’s what I found:

The first seven paragraphs detail the remarks of President Obama and Hillary Clinton and their condemnation of Trump.

The first reference to a “Top Republican” was this:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) refused to respond to questions about Trump at his weekly news conference.

OK. McConnell is certainly a “Top Republican” but he made no comment.

Then came this quote from Speaker Paul Ryan:

“I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest,” Ryan told reporters. “I do not think it is reflective of our principles, not just as a party but as a country.” He called for “a security test, not a religious test” for immigrants.

Is that a “condemnation” in your opinion? I certainly don’t see it that way. It’s a disagreement on Trump’s proposed policy. But hardly a “condemnation.”

Next came a quote from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN):

“Traditionally, it is a time when people rally around our country, and it’s obviously not what’s occurred, and it’s very disappointing,” Corker said.


OK. So that quote expresses disappointment in the lack of unity, but the quote does not directly reference Trump. I am disappointed that people are not rallying around the country, but my disappointment stems from Obama and Clinton’s desire to infringe on Americans’ right to self defense rather than a focus on our terrorist enemies.

Now, maybe Corker’s comments were specifically directed at Trump, but the stand-alone quote certainly doesn’t tell the reader that story.

Then, finally, we get to paragraph #14 with actual condemnation from a Republican:

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a leading national security hawk, said he had “run out of adjectives” for Trump. “I don’t think he has the judgment or the temperament, the experience to deal with what we are facing,” said Graham, who does not currently support the mogul.

Graham, like other Republicans, took issue with Trump’s apparent suggestions in Monday interviews that Obama may identify with the radical Muslim terrorists. Obama “either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump told Fox News.

Come on… would you call Lindsay Graham a “Top Republican”? Really?

Then, a few paragraphs further down, there’s this:

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who faces a challenging reelection bid, also called Trump’s insinuations about the president “offensive.”


Johnson may not be a “Top Republican” but he is well respected. But, did he really say Trump’s comments were “offensive”? Well… according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Brian Reisinger, a Johnson spokesman, said: “Ron finds these comments to be offensive and wrong.”

Uh huh…

Next came Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.):

“I guess I appreciate Mr. Trump’s fieriness in talking about it, but you don’t do it by alienating the very people that we need, and those are moderate Muslims,” he said. “We have to use the folks that frankly are not radicalized, which is the vast majority of Muslims, to win this war.”

Condemnation?  Top Republican?  Sorry, WaPo… no.

Read the entire article, if you want, but rest assured “Top Republicans” did NOT “Join Obama in condemning Trump’s remarks.” And they wonder why their press credentials were revoked by the Trump campaign.


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John Sexton 3:20 PM on September 26, 2023