Woodbury Republican Jason Lewis spent his congressional term being haunted by his own voice.
Clips from his previous tenure as a conservative talk radio host kept surfacing and splashing across headlines. As it turns out, complaining about not being allowed to call Madonna a “slut” and “race war” mongering sounded better to his fans than they did to his constituents. In 2018, Democrat Angie Craig swiped his seat out from under him.
We haven’t heard the last from Lewis. This summer, he announced he’s taking on a new foe: Democratic U.S. Senator Tina Smith.
But we also haven’t heard the last of Lewis’ old days on the air. CNN recently unearthed some audio from 2013 in which he said that “blind loyalty towards Israel [was] the linchpin of being a good Republican,” thanks to the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a “very strong American Jewish lobby.”
“Is this nation controlled by a Jewish cabal? The Jewish banker theory? Of course not,” he said. “Is the Republican Party, however, unduly influenced by AIPAC and the Israeli lobby? Of course they are. The neoconservatives in the Republican Party from John Bolton on down view Israel as a 51st state.”
He also called Bolton, Trump's recently departed national security advisor, a “dual citizen” of America and Israel. (He’s not, for the record. He’s not even Jewish.)
Earlier this year, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar earned herself widespread criticism and condemnation from both parties by making a similar statement -- tweeting that politicians’ support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins” and “AIPAC.” She later apologized for invoking age-old anti-Semitic tropes to make her point.
But when Lewis got called out, he only dug deeper. He claims bringing up his old talk show record is a “worn-out playbook” and that his voting record “clearly demonstrates, these are not [his] views about American support for Israel, period.” He criticized Omar for what he called her “genuinely anti-Israel views.”
If we were Lewis and taking lessons from his defeat in 2018, we might have left it at that. But since departing from Congress, Lewis has taken up his old radio mantle and made several appearances on conservative podcasts – including a Monday spot on the Justice and Drew Show. During the interview, that 2013 clip came up.
“Tell us what happened there,” a host said.
Lewis didn’t exactly tell them “what happened there.” In fact, if you didn’t know what CNN had uncovered, you wouldn’t have found out based on his answers. Instead, he dismissed the whole thing, saying the press was just “doing the bidding of Democrats.”
“Hey, it’s a great story about Russian collusion,” he said. “The only collusion going on in today’s society is collusion between the Democratic Party and journalism. Journalism is not just in crisis mode, journalism has a cancer.”
“The old argument is ‘don’t attack the messenger,’ but the messenger’s corrupt,” he said. “And if the messenger’s corrupt, who’s going to right the ship of state? And so you’ve got to have other journalists policing that. Instead you have echo chambers.”
Here's that Justice and Drew clip in its entirety: