GOPer Cantor Refuses to Condemn Birthers as ‘Crazy’ (Video)
January 24, 2011
(ChattahBox Political News)—You can’t have it both ways Congressman Cantor. No profile in courage here. During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) refused to condemn birthers as “crazy” for espousing an “illegitimate issue.” Cantor, apparently afraid to alienate his Party’s fringe tea party base that has embraced the wacky and racially-tinged conspiracy theory that President Obama is not a natural born citizen, would only say that he personally believes the President is a U.S. citizen. Cantor failed the “leadership moment” offered by host David Gregory. No surprise here.
Cantor, as a Republican leader, was not just being asked to repudiate a kooky far-right conspiracy theory advanced by extremists on the fringe. At least a dozen Republican lawmakers in the House have promoted the offensive birther conspiracy theory that Obama, our first black president was born in Kenya, making his presidency illegitimate.
When pressed by Gregory, Cator suggested his gentlemanly Southern manners prevented him from calling anyone “crazy.” And he tried to deflect blame for the right-wing birther conspiracy theory on “the media” and “others in the country.”
GREGORY: This is a leadership moment here. There are elements of this country who question the president’s citizenship, who think that his birth certificate is inauthentic. Will you call that what it is, which is crazy talk?
CANTOR: [laughs] David, you know, a lot of that has been an issue sort of generated by not only the media but others in the country. Most Americans really are beyond that and they want us to focus —
GREGORY: Is somebody who brings that up engaging in crazy talk?
CANTOR: David I don’t think it’s nice to call anyone crazy, OK?
GREGORY: Alright. Is it a legitimate or illegitimate issue?
CANTOR: I don’t think it’s an issue that we need to address at all. I think we need to focus on trying –
GREGORY: His citizenship should never be questioned in your judgment, is that what you’re saying?
CANTOR: It’s not an issue that even needs to be on the policymaking table right now.
GREGORY: Because it’s illegitimate? Why won’t you just call it what it is? Because I feel like there are a lot of Republican leaders who don’t want to go as far as to criticize those who –
CANTOR: I think the president is a citizen of the United States.