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ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl was taking heat for thanking former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson for appearing before the House January 6 Select Committee.
Hutchinson, a former staffer to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, offered bombshell testimony on Tuesday alleging former President Trump knew that some attendees at his rally were armed and urged his Secret Service to allow them in, throwing a plate against the wall in reaction to reading a report of former Attorney General William Barr who rejected voter fraud claims, and that Trump suggested Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hanged for certifying Joe Biden’s election victory.
She even recalled a story she heard about the former president reaching towards the steering wheel of an SUV and lunging towards a Secret Service agent as he was being driven back to the White House instead of the Capitol building.
Both the agent and the driver involved are reportedly willing to testify under oath that this did not happen. Trump also fiercely denied Hutchinson’s various claims.
WASHINGTON, DC JUNE 28: Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Mark Meadows when he was White House chief of staff in the Trump administration, gestures toward her neck as she retells a story involving President Trump as the House Jan. 6 select committee holds a public hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Liberals praised Hutchinson’s testimony, declaring her a “credible” witness while many conservatives have been scrutinizing the credibility of her claims.
Karl, meanwhile, took to Twitter and expressed his gratitude for the former Trump staffer.
“Thank you, Cassidy Hutchinson,” Karl tweeted.
Critics railed against Karl’s tweet, accusing him of taking a side despite his role as a top journalist for ABC News.
“‘ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent,'” Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway highlighted his title.
“good journalism here, Jon,” Grabien Media founder Tom Elliott quipped.
“I don’t care what you think of Trump, the fact that reporters drop all skepticism and professionalism and act in this manner is a big problem,” The Federalist senior editor David Harsanyi wrote.
“Thank YOU, journo,” Substack writer Jim Treacher told Karl.
ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl defends tweet thanking Cassidy Hutchinson for her testimony before the House Jan. 6 Select Committee. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/ABC via Getty Images) JONATHAN KARL (Jenny Anderson/ABC via Getty Images)
“Jonathan Karl isn’t some commentator on a Sunday talk show. He’s ABC News’ Chief Washington Correspondent. He’s ostensibly a ‘straight news’ journalist,” conservative Twitter user Sunny McSunnyface wrote.
“this is a weird thing for a ‘journalist’ to tweet,” Abigail Marone, press secretary for Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted. “Not even pretending to look into or question her claims at all? Just accepting everything at face value even though others are disputing it? prime example of why many don’t trust the media…”
“It is never not amazing, the tone and tenor that journalists allow themselves on Twitter,” Omri Ceren, national security adviser for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx., similarly stated.
On Wednesday, the ABC News journalist responded to the backlash by explaining the tweet.
“Where others have refused, Cassidy Hutchinson was willing, under oath, to tell the world what she witnessed at the White House during the extraordinary events of early January 2021. It is for that reason that I said, ‘Thank you,’” Karl wrote.
Karl had previously been outspoken about how the media is often perceived as being biased against former President Trump and Republicans. In April, he spoke about the impact Trump’s attacks towards the media have on the country.
“I think that one of the reasons why I called the idea of the press as the opposition party even more insidious than declaring the press ‘enemies of the people’ is that it was encouraging people, Republicans, to view everything that comes out of a mainstream news organization as being no different from a press release out of the political party. ‘That’s my opposition party. What do you expect? Of course, they’re against me. It’s not true. They’re just out to get me.’ And unfortunately, I do think that over the course of the Trump era that the press often played right into that and, in fact, acted in a way as an opposition party further, you know, fueling this distrust,” Karl said during a panel discussion.
Karl continued, “So it’s not just, you know, Trump out there with this kind of monomaniacal attack, relentless attack on the press and attack on good journalism, but it created this sense that, you know, journalists needed to defend themselves, needed to push back against this, needed to push back against the president who was often not telling the truth and in doing so spoke to a lot of Republicans like we really are the opposition party.”
ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl has previously been outspoken about concerns how Americans view the media. (Getty Images)
In 2020, Karl expressed a similar sentiment about the media by and large, discussing how the tense relationship White House reporters had with Trump had “negative consequences.”
“I do believe that unfortunately, there is a big chunk of the country that believes that the press is now the resistance and I think it’s really unfortunate, and I think that it has negative consequences for a free press. I think it has negative consequences for our democracy,” Karl told Mediaite. “But I think that the aggressive questioning of the president, particularly now in the wake of what we’ve seen unfold with the pandemic is absolutely necessary. Not only justified but necessary.”
“I’m not part of the resistance,” Karl insisted. “I’m not his political opponent. I don’t want people to see me in there and think I’m just out to get him. But I also have something that is more important than all of those things. And that is that the reporter’s first loyalty must be to pursuing the truth. And part of pursuing the truth is using clarity of language.”
Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @JosephWulfsohn.