CNN guest accuses GOP of trying to 'dump anthrax in the water supply' over debt ceiling fight

Republicans, Democrats at odds over debt ceiling deal

CNN guest James Fallows equated the GOP with extremist groups threatening to throw anthrax in the water supply due to their lack of cooperation with Democrats over the debt ceiling.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and 10 other Republicans voted for a short-term increase to the federal debt increase on Thursday. But McConnell told President Biden that he and many of his colleagues will not vote to raise the debt ceiling in December should Democrats face “another avoidable crisis.” 

“Last night, Republicans filled the leadership vacuum that has troubled the Senate since January,” McConnell said in a letter to Biden. “I write to inform you that I will not provide such assistance again if your all-Democrat government drifts into another avoidable crisis.”

Fallows, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, appeared to take the Democrats’ side, making an unflattering comparison for the GOP. 

“It’s an outright threat to the welfare of the country,” Fallows said Sunday on “Reliable Sources,” hosted by Brian Stelter. “An extreme example would be a group saying we’re going to dump anthrax in the water supply unless you do X, Y, or Z.”

“That is a threat,” he continued. “It’s not a public health threat but it’s a threat that can have real economic implications.” 

“Using the filibuster to renege on the credit of the United States is not a normal disagreement,” Fallows, a frequent guest of Stelter’s, said.

His comments were followed by Brian Stelter and Yahoo! News White House correspondent Brittany Shepherd complaining that the press were reporting that the Democrats were in “disarray.” Stelter wondered if it would be more accurate to say “Congress was in disarray.” Shepherd agreed, saying that message from the media gave “political game chips to both people.” She added that it allows moderate Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema, Ariz., and Joe Manchin, W. Va., the opportunity to have one-on-ones with the president and have “unbridled power.”

Sens. Sinema and Manchin have been targeted by both progressives and liberal media for refusing to join their colleagues and voting in favor of a $3.5 trillion spending package.

Several Republicans were not on board with last Thursday’s vote to raise the debt ceiling. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said they “folded” on the matter.

“At the end of the day, we blinked,” Graham said on “Hannity.” “Two things have happened: We let our people down, and we made Democrats believe that we are all talk and no action.”

Former President Trump also sounded off on the GOP’s move, accusing McConnell of throwing a “lifeline” to the Democrats.

“The Republican Senate needs new leadership,” Trump said.

“Mitch is not the guy, not the right guy, he’s not doing the job,” he added. “He gave [Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and his Democrats] a lifeline – it’s more than a lifeline, he gave them so much time to figure out what to do because they were in a big bind; they were unable to do anything.”

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