Mercedes Schlapp: Former Trump aide denounced as conspiracy theorist during heated Fox News exchange

As her guests sparred, host Gillian Turner appealed for calm and to keep things civil

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Wednesday 31 March 2021 22:14 BST
Fox News segment descends into name calling about conspiracies theories.mp4

An angry confrontation flared up on Fox News on Tuesday during a segment about vaccine passports that ended in name-calling and accusations of grifting.

The battle erupted over both private companies and the Biden administration pursuing ways to verify whether individuals have had a Covid-19 vaccination.

Earlier in the day, primetime host Tucker Carlson had called the idea “Orwellian” during an appearance on Fox & Friends.

On a later show, anchored by Gillian Turner, a panel debate on the issue began with the host saying that Republicans are claiming that it is hypocritical for Democrats to propose the idea given their opposition to ID requirements for voter registration.

Former Trump adviser Mercedes Schlapp enthusiastically agreed, citing the “illogical mentality of the left”, and complaining that the White House was working in conjunction with “big tech” to develop passports.

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Ms Schlapp described it as “troubling”, citing constitutional issues and privacy concerns.

In response, liberal pundit and host of the podcast Aggressive Progressive Christopher Hahn accused conservatives of propagating anti-vaccine conspiracies and unwarranted fears about government oversight.

“The private sector is driving it, not the government. But Republicans like everything else they’ve done during this horrible crisis we’ve been through, are pushing these conspiracy theories that the government is trying to control you, which is causing some of their followers not to get vaccinated,” he exclaimed.

“People like Tucker Carlson, like Jim Jordan, like Mercedes right here now casting doubt on the fact that the government — or trying to convince people that the government is somehow watching you. That is very irresponsible!”

Mr Hahn added that it is time for conservatives to acknowledge there is a crisis and join to fight to end it rather than “spreading lies”.

He also said that “the former guy”, a reference to Donald Trump, and his supporters have blood on their hands.

Ms Schlapp shot back that she is not going to take this from Mr Hahn, yelling: “You are not going to call me a liar! You are not going to call me a conspiracy theorist! You are not going to call Tucker Carlson a conspiracy theorist.”

“He is! He is and you are!” Mr Hahn responded.

“I’m not going to put up with this! I stand for freedom! I stand for the freedom of the American people every single day,” Ms Schlapp fired back.

“No, you don’t. You’re a grifter! This is ridiculous,” snapped back Mr Hahn.

Making an effort to regain control Ms Turner asked the two guests to keep things civil and refrain from name-calling.

In a final salvo, Ms Schlapp said she would not stand for her and Mr Carlson being called liars, and Mr Hahn accused them of damaging the effort to get [the pandemic] under control.

Vaccine passports appear to be turning into a new front in the cultural divide between left and right, with Florida governor Ron DeSantis saying he would take executive action against them.

The governor believes that it is “completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine, just simply to participate in normal society”.

Florida requires children to be vaccinated for diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella to attend either public or private school.

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