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Sen. Ron Johnson, NBC’s Chuck Todd and their history of explosive ‘Meet the Press’ battles: ‘I’ve had enough’

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., called out NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” for inviting him not as an interview guest but as a debate challenger. 

“Part of the problem- and this is pretty obvious to anybody watching this is you don’t invite me on to interview me, you invite me on to argue with me,” Johnson said. 

Johnson’s most recent appearances on “Meet the Press” back up his assertion, but it wasn’t always this hostile. 

SEN. RON JOHNSON BATTLES CHUCK TODD OVER HUNTER BIDEN IN TENSE EXCHANGE: ‘PART OF THE PROBLEM’

In multiple interviews as early as 2017, Todd’s sit-downs were fairly civil where the NBC anchor grilled the top Republican lawmaker on issues like healthcare, immigration and Russia. 

However, the tone between the two of them drastically shifted during former President Trump’s first impeachment. 

In October 2019, Todd lost his cool as he pressed Johnson over his attitudes over the president’s alleged misconduct with Ukraine, but Johnson attempted to explain how the Russia hoax against Trump and Ukraine’s potential role in the 2016 election were factors to consider. 

“This is underlining exactly why President Trump is upset and why his supporters are upset at the news media,” Johnson said. 

“This is not about the media- Senator Johnson, Senator Johnson please!” Todd shouted over the lawmaker. “Can we please answer the question that I asked you instead of trying to make Donald Trump feel better here that you’re not criticizing him?” 

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After Johnson accused the media of being “horribly biased,” Todd fired back, accusing Johnson of using attacks on the press to “avoid” answering questions, which the senator denied. 

In November 2019, as the Democrats’ impeachment of Trump heated up, Todd pointed to Johnson’s comments leading up to the 2016 election, suggesting then-candidate Hillary Clinton was guilty of a “high crime or misdemeanor” over her handling of classified emails as Secretary of State. 

“You were talking about impeachment before that election with Hillary Clinton. How should viewers not look at what you’re doing here, and you’re just reacting as a partisan that if Trump were a Democrat, you’d be ready to convict him?” Todd exclaimed, something Johnson pushed back saying he didn’t actually invoke impeachment. 

In January 2021, as Trump continued his challenge of the 2020 election, Johnson invoked the media’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story, which turned out to be a legitimate scandal that could have had a bigger impact in the presidential race if it had gotten more coverage.

“Senator, alright- I’ve had enough of hearing this,” Todd interrupted.

“Listen, I’ve had enough of this, too,” Johnson told Todd. “The biased media has created a situation where Republicans and conservatives do not trust the mainstream media and that is what has destroyed the credibility of the media and our institutions.”

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After Johnson asserted that the media is “dismissing” the concerns of millions of Americans regarding the legitimacy of the 2020 election, Todd mocked the senator by asking whether there should have been hearings on “conspiracy theories” like “9/11 truthers” and “the moon landing.”

This past Sunday, while discussing the implications of President Biden’s classified documents scandal, Todd told Johnson he would “take him at his word” that he is “ethically bothered by Hunter Biden.”

“Are you not?” Johnson asked the NBC anchor. 

“I’m a journalist. I can deal in facts. I deal in facts,” Todd responded. 

“I’m just trying to lay out the facts that certainly Senator Grassley and I uncovered. They were suppressed, they were censored,” Johnson later said in the interview. “[The DOJ] interfered in the 2020 election. Conservatives understand that. Unfortunately liberals in the media don’t. And that’s part of the reason our politics are enflamed. Because we don’t have an unbiased media. We don’t. It’s unfortunate. I’m all for a free press. It needs to be more unbiased.”

“Look, can go back partisan cable cocoon and talk about media bias all you want. I understand that’s part of your identity,” Todd said before moving on. 

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