Politico co-founder and Editor-in-Chief John F. Harris appeared to imply that President Trump is a “white nationalist” in charge of the Republican Party in a shocking tweet Wednesday, but the newsman insisted it was nothing more than a “quip” that was misinterpreted.
Author Larry Sabato tweeted an NBC News story headlined: “White nationalist leader wants to 'take over the GOP'”.
The Politico honcho responded: “Thought that job had been filled.”
Politico is considered one of the most powerful and influential news organizations in America and claims to provide “non-partisan journalism” in its company mission statement. Republican strategist Arthur Schwartz noticed the tweet and quickly condemned Harris.
“Until this guy is gone from Politico, no Republicans should take calls from or help his reporters. He’s not hiding it — this is what he thinks of us. Despicable,” Schwartz wrote.
Harris followed up, saying Schwartz made a “fair point” and that his tweet was designed to be “a quip about the headline on the NBC” story.
“Sometimes wisecracks get lost in Twitter translation so appreciate the chance to clarify,” Harris wrote.
When reached for comment, a Politico spokesperson directed Fox News to Harris’ follow up tweet to Schwartz before adding: “More specifically, his point was that there is currently no prospect of anyone taking over the Republican Party from its current leader – President Trump.”
Despite the explanation, not everyone feels Harris wasn’t taking a shot at Trump.
Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor told Fox News that he wasn’t surprised by Harris’ rhetoric.
“What a shock, left-wing Politico slams the GOP. I thought that was their business model,” Gainor said. “Even though Harris tried to back out of his attack by calling it a ‘quip,’ anyone who reads Politico knows they are being fed the establishment Democrat perspective on news.”
Conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News that one of the most “discouraging developments of the media in the era of Trump is the complete and total blurring of lines between objective journalism and opinion journalism,” pointing to Harris’ tweet as an example.
“This kind of tweet is what we would expect from a left-wing pundit not from an objective journalist and especially not from the man who oversees an ostensibly non-partisan news outlet,” Barron said. “If news outlets want to restore the American public’s faith in them they can start by demanding more of the men and women working in journalism. A little journalistic integrity and commitment to journalistic standards and ethics would go a long way.”
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also slammed Harris for the offensive rhetoric.
“This offensive statement from the head of Politico is another example of why distrust in the media is at an all-time high,” McDaniel wrote on Twitter.
Fox News contributor Deroy Murdock said Twitter too easily “satisfies people's tendencies to make fools of themselves by counteracting the good habit of counting to 10 before blurting out nonsense” to the masses.
“For the 100th time, if Donald J. Trump were a white nationalist, why did he campaign for black votes in Cleveland, Detroit, and Flint, Michigan? Why did he repeatedly plead with black voters for their support by asking, ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’ Why did he wave signs that read, ‘Blacks for Trump?’” Murdock said before rattling off a series of other actions, such as signing a measure making the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. burial site a national historical park and helping the black unemployment rate.
“A ‘white nationalist’ would do none of these things,” Murdock said. “John F. Harris should be ashamed of himself, and he should apologize to the president for this filthy slur.”
Harris started his career at the Washington Post in 1985 before cofounding Politico with industry heavyweights Jim VandeHei and Robert Allbritton in 2007. The organization quickly became a leader of political news and its newsletter, Politico Playbook, is considered must-read for Beltway insiders and politicians alike. However, not everyone is a fan.
“Politico probably did more to turn national political coverage into a game of Trivial Pursuit than any outlet,” Gainor said.