Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says the GOP has a right to complain about the IRS’s profiling of conservative groups.
“If you’re in my shoes and you have the IRS targeting conservative groups, tea party groups, and any person critical of the White House, what would you think?,” Priebus said on Morning Joe Thursday. “Give me a break!”
The show’s panelists pushed back, arguing that a legitimate error on the part of the IRS doesn’t mean Republicans have free reign to misconstrue the facts and over-blow it.
While the government has admitted the IRS’s profiling and it’s clear that top officials knew about the practice for years, it’s far from the first issue Republicans have emphatically denounced as the president’s own Watergate, the scandal to end all scandals. Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski referenced the advice of a column by Charles Krauthhammer on Benghazi, where he pushed Republicans to embrace the scandals on their merit, not over-blow them: “Let the facts speak for themselves. They are damning enough,” he wrote in the Washington Post last week.
But Priebus asserted that the facts that already exist give him the right to an opinion.
“I’m entitled to an opinion that it’s evidence of political warfare gone amok on behalf of the administration. I’m entitled to an opinion that this is political guerrilla warfare and it’s lawlessness, but to the extent of how far it goes and how far it goes up, the evidence has to come in,” Priebus said.
“That’s an assertion,” New York magazine’s Heileman countered. “Before the facts!”
Watch the full interview below.