During a discussion about the new book, "Kushner, Inc.," Tapper and his panel discussed whether or not President Trump would ever kick his daughter and son-in-law to the curb and questioned how the couple has kept their gig while the White House faces frequent turnover.
“Of course they survived. I mean, cockroaches are going to survive a nuclear war,” Begala said.
The panel’s token Trump supporter, Dave Urban, shook his head in disgust upon hearing the derogatory remark.
Tapper quickly asked, “You’re not calling Ivanka and Jared cockroaches?”
The CNN commentator said, “No, no I’m talking about a separate class of species.”
CNN did not immediately respond when asked if Begala will be disciplined or apologize.
“OK,” Tapper responded before allowing Begala to continue slamming Kushner, calling the president a “criminal” in the process. The potentially anti-Semitic comment came amid controversy surrounding Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who has come under fire for her own comments about Jewish people and Israel.
Last month, CNN was accused of using the Omar rhetoric as the impetus to attack Trump and other Republicans, prompting Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson to tell Fox News that it’s time for CNN to acknowledge it has a far-left, anti-Trump agenda.
Meanwhile, the “cockroaches” comment reminds critics of other hateful rhetoric used to target Jewish people.
“Considering the wide debate about anti-Semitism on the left and in America more broadly, Begala’s comments could be taken by some as anti-Semitic since Kushner is Jewish and Ivanka converted to Judaism,” Media Research Center contributor Ryan Foley wrote. “Begala’s comparison of the Jewish Kushners to insects closely mirrors the rhetoric of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who denied that he was anti-Semitic; instead arguing that he was ‘anti-termite.’”
CNN pundits recently expressed outrage when President Trump referred to MS-13 gang members as “animals,” but the “cockroaches” comment about members of the president’s family has received little attention from the network’s media watchdogs.
GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the comment “disgusting” and other critics who caught Begala's remark took to Twitter in disgust: