GOP consultant Katon Dawson fumbled for an answer Sunday when MSNBC host Joy Reid pressed him on why the party continues to welcome white nationalists into the fold.
Appearing on “AM Joy,” Dawson addressed the mob-like assault on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in South Florida over the weekend, where the Democratic lawmaker was met by a screaming, cursing bunch of Republican and far-right protesters. Dawson, a former chairman of South Carolina’s Republican Party, the chalked the incident up to “the toxic nature that’s happening now on both sides.”
“Everybody’s sort of culpable,” Dawson said, later adding that “the language certainly didn’t help anybody create any type of political message except for the uncalled for and unfortunate thing organized by the Republicans down there.”
Dawson’s “both sides” argument, an assertion once spewed by President Donald Trump after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, didn’t sit well with Reid, who challenged him on it.
“The problem with characterizing it as both sides thing, Katon,” she began. “On this side, we’re talking about staffers to members of the United States Congress participating in this, number one, and then the second thing is, you know, there isn’t an equivalent of, you know, we don’t have to advertise them. They are showing up at conservative events called ‘Unite the Right.’ They’re showing up at Republican events and feeling comfortable there.
“The so-called alt-right — which is basically white nationalists — have succeeded in just blending right in and being welcomed” Reid added. “There are people inside the Trump administration with these sympathies.”
Dawson seemed at a loss for words but eventually rebutted by saying he was unsure of who is and isn’t invited to Republican-organized rallies.
“But if they’re not the same, wait, no!” Reid insisted, cutting off her guest. “It’s not the same to have members of these ultra-nationalist and in some cases, white nationalist groups blend into your party. They’re blending in and they’re feeling comfortable there — that’s a problem.”
According to the New York Post, members of the Proud Boys, identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an alt-right extremist group, were among the crowd of angry GOP protesters who hurled profanities at Pelosi and dubbed her a “f—–g communist f–k.” A handful of Republican leaders, including conservative writer Ben Shapiro, have condemned the confrontation as “nasty” and “counterproductive.”
“I’m not sure that the comfortableness of that [GOP acceptance], certainly I’m not comfortable with it,” Dawson told Reid. “But I’m not sure you when you say that they’re blending and they’re comfortable.”
Watch more in the video below.