Mike Gallagher

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  • The Right-Wing Media Figures Pushing Scalia Murder Conspiracies

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Right-wing media personalities have been pushing conspiracy theories about the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. They've called the circumstances of his death "peculiar," "suspicious," and "fishy," and claimed President Obama or his allies may have "killed" Scalia because of his opinions on environmental regulations, gun laws, immigration, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and unions. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has been aiding the conspiracy theories, calling the circumstances surrounding Scalia's death "pretty unusual" and "big stuff."

  • "Wow ... That's Interesting": Trump Entertained Scalia Conspiracy On A Second Radio Show

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump appeared on Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher's radio program and entertained Gallagher's conspiracy theory about the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump has been receiving criticism for appearing on Michael Savage's program and claiming that one of the reported details of Scalia's death was "pretty unusual." 

    Trump guested on the February 15 broadcast of Salem Radio Network's The Mike Gallagher Show. Gallagher claimed to not be "a conspiracy theorist, I don't think you are either, but boy it seems peculiar that there doesn't seem to be an autopsy planned." Trump replied, "Wow ... I had just heard this from you, Mike, that's interesting." Trump didn't refute Gallagher's conspiracy mongering -- instead, he declared the supposedly suspicious circumstances surrounding Scalia's death to be "big stuff." 

    GALLAGHER: I have to say, and my audience, the phone lines are burning up and people are questioning the circumstances behind Justice Scalia's death and you know, this is a beloved man -- a husband, father, grandfather, found lying in bed with a pillow over his head. It's all over the Drudge Report. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I don't think you are either, but boy it seems peculiar that there doesn't seem to be an autopsy planned --

    TRUMP: Wow.

    GALLAGHER: -- for the death of such an important person. I mean -- this is, like, pretty shocking stuff, don't you think? 

    TRUMP: Well I had just heard this from you, Mike, that's interesting. This is the new theory that came out as of this morning.

    GALLAGHER: Well it is and the owner of the ranch, he was quoted as having found Justice Scalia in bed. There were no marshals, he had no protection, and he was found according to the owner of the ranch with a pillow over his head, looking like peaceful repose. He was declared dead over the phone by a justice of the peace who was not even there in person. There's just -- it just seems to me that if there was a liberal Supreme Court justice who passed away and we would have this debate on the other side, there would be cries for an investigation --

    TRUMP: Wow.

    GALLAGHER: -- an autopsy. I mean no autopsy being planned?

    TRUMP: That's big stuff. Especially since it's really the turn of the court. You know, you're really talking about the balance of the court, that's big stuff. Wow.

    GALLAGHER: This is history, this is history, it's huge.

    TRUMP: That'll be a new topic. That'll be a new topic --

    GALLAGHER: Well, yeah, I hope you have a chance to look into it. 

    TRUMP: -- to increase your ratings even further.

    GALLAGHER: Yeah, and maybe spend some time on it as you delve into that.  

    Trump concluded the interview by thanking Gallagher for being "so supportive and so nice" to him.

    Trump also appeared on the February 15 broadcast of The Savage Nation, during which Savage told Trump that Scalia might have been "murdered." When Savage asked Trump if he would support "the equivalent of a Warren Commission" to investigate Scalia's death, he replied that he "just heard" that "they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow. I can't tell you what -- I can't give you an answer."  

  • The Quest Continues: Rubio Is Media's Latest Reagan Heir

    Blog ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

    Right-wing pundits frequently use former President Ronald Reagan's name to apply a stamp of approval on anything or anyone they deem symbolic of the ideal conservative -- even when Reagan's actual record on issues ranging from taxes to the deficit deviated far from the ideological standards of today's conservative movement.

    Republican darling du jour Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) is the latest to receive the Reagan badge. Ahead of his delivery of the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address, Karl Rove said Monday that "in Rubio, the Republicans have got probably one of their best communicators since Ronald Reagan." On MSNBC's Morning Joe, The Daily Caller's Matt Lewis called Rubio "Reaganesque." And in November 2012, pundit Cal Thomas published a column on Townhall.com titled, "Marco Rubio: A Hispanic Reagan?"

    Rubio is just the latest in a long line of Republican politicians to receive the ubiquitous accolade:

    • Mitt Romney: Fox News figures repeatedly linked former presidential candidate Romney to the Gipper during both opinion and news shows in the months leading up to the 2012 election. Bill O'Reilly said that Romney "is going to mirror the ghost of Ronald Reagan," while political correspondent Carl Cameron said Romney, on his bus tour, spent a lot of time "sort of echoing Ronald Reagan."

    • Rep. Paul Ryan (WI): Fox News figures from K.T. MacFarland to Megyn Kelly compared Ryan to Reagan as part of their cheerleading for Ryan after he was chosen as Romney's vice presidential candidate.

    • Gov. Chris Christie (NJ): Fox Nation highlighted a column by the director of the American Enterprise Institute with the headline, "Christie's Starting to Look Like Reagan."

    • Sarah Palin: A post on Breitbart's BigJournalism.com said that Palin "carries the torch of liberty and American exceptionalism in the palm of her lovely hand" before calling her the "surviving embodiment of the spirit of 1776 and the Reagan reformation."

    • Gov. Scott Walker (WI): On Sean Hannity's Fox show, conservative radio host Mike Gallagher called Walker "the Ronald Reagan of our time."

    • Gov. Bob McDonnell (VA): Karl Rove, on Hannity's show, called Virginia governor Bob McDonnell "a Reaganite conservative."

    • Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA): In February 2008, Rush Limbaugh called Jindal "the next Ronald Reagan."

    Right-wing media figures have splashed the "Reagan" label about so freely that they're in danger of rendering the compliment meaningless.