NY-22 Minute: Tenney Defends Comments on Ben Carson & Mass Shooters; Challenges Media & Brindisi By Luke Perry
This morning Claudia Tenney stood by her statements on Wednesday defending Secretary Ben Carson’s role in the controversial purchase of expensive office furniture with Bob Joseph on WNBF News Radio 1290 in Binghamton.
When asked to define the “deep state,” Tenney said “this is like just a non-issue. It's another Democratic Congressional Campaign attempt to make something out of nothing.”
Tenney stated that a Carson staffer told her “it’s hard to get around the entrenched bureaucracy.” Tenney explained: “And as anyone who has worked for the federal government knows it’s not easy to get around them. And that’s merely what I was talking about. It’s like, you know, Ben Carson apologized for it. He tried, he wasn’t aware of it. It was something that was done.”
Tenney was asked who in the "deep state" would have ordered something against Ben Carson’s wishes, particularly very expensive furniture. Tenney responded that “we can cherry pick probably a thousand examples or hundreds of examples out of every administration, whether it was Republican or Democrat, on things that are ordered and paid for by the government” and “look ridiculous.”
When asked how this could happen when “the swamp” is now drained in a new "era of responsibility,” Tenney asked “why are we talking about it when Ben Carson, immediately when he discovered it happened, went in and said it was an error?”
Tenney then raised President Trump’s congratulations to President Putin on his reelection. Tenney stated that President Trump should not have congratulated President Putin, but media exaggeration and their “double standard” is a problem.
Tenney was unaware of the story on Wednesday when asked about it on Talk of The Town (WUTQ in Utica). “I didn’t even know about that,” Tenney said. “I guess I missed that . . . I don’t know how significant it is, but I almost think, knowing his sense of humor, it was almost done just to rile people up.” (9:20 mark)
“We did not see the headlines, other than on Fox News,” Tenney explained on Thursday, “when President Obama, just before the election, leaned into the (Russian) defense minister and said, you know, 'I’ll have more flexibility to negotiate with you,' in essence, 'when I get reelected.’” Several news media organizations who reported this story at the time, including Reuters, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Politico, and The Telegraph.
“This is actually undisputed,” Tenney added, “that something like 90 percent of the news media and new accounts of the president are negative.”
Tenney was then asked about the national attention in response to her comments about how Democrats end up being mass murders. “I haven’t made any controversial statements about anybody,” Tenney responded. “I tell the truth about things and here we go again.” Tenney believes the comment was taken “out of context” and “twisted” by the DCCC to "smear" her and draw a moral equivalency between her and Anthony Brindisi, her opponent.
“I just plainly state facts,” Tenney said, and “things that are just not even controversial become controversial because quite frankly Bob, I’ve never even had a speeding ticket. I’m a very independent person.”
When asked about the facts not supporting her mass murder claims, Tenney criticized the news media, including local media in NY-22. Tenney believes the "really good things" she has been doing in Washington are not being reported.
Tenney told the host he was “now carrying on and carrying the water for the negativity and all the nastiness that came out of this.” Tenney then criticized Mr. Joseph for not being independent or fair, and asserted her previous claims were a “fact” and “absolutely true.”
Tenney closed the interview asking Joseph to a moderate town hall in the Binghamton area. He agreed to do so with both Representative Tenney and Anthony Brindisi, her opponent.
“That’s a debate. I would love to do those,” Tenney responded, challenging Brindisi to “start debating now” and do so “as many places as we can as many times as we can.”
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College.
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