PA Gov. Josh Shapiro calls out CNN anchor for giving right-wing lies “too much oxygen”

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Citation From September 20, 2023, CNN, CNN This Morning

PHIL MATTINGLY (CNN ANCHOR): Pennsylvania's governor has just announced his state will now automatically register eligible residents to vote when they get a new state-issued I.D. or driver's license. Now, 23 other states, plus Washington, D.C. have some form of automatic voter registration. But few of them are likely to play as pivotal a role in the next presidential election as Pennsylvania. Joining us now is Pennsylvania's Governor Josh Shapiro. Governor, we appreciate your time. Kind of want to dig in on the implementation of all this in a minute. But one of the primary criticisms we heard yesterday when this was announced from Republicans in the state legislature was why didn't you go through them? Why didn't you go through a legislative process, work with the other side on this, why move forward on your own? What's your response to that?

JOSH SHAPIRO (PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR): Let's be clear about something. I have been very open during my campaign and my time as governor about my belief that we should be an automatic voter registration state. We worked on the process. I'm well within my legal authority. And we put out a process that is secure and safe. It goes through our DMV process, which already includes safeguards to ensure that the person registering to vote is eligible to vote. This is an important way to expand voter participation, which I think, in turn, strengthens our democracy. I am firmly on the side of promoting and protecting our democracy. If there are those who want to make it harder for people to vote, then they're going to have to account to that. But the bottom line is: I am well within my legal authority. This is good for our democracy. Good for voter participation.

POPPY HARLOW (CNN ANCHOR): You mentioned what the DMV — or what checks there are, right, from the DMV, et cetera. I just was wondering if you could you please respond directly to Stephen Miller, former Donald Trump aide, who tweeted this: "I can promise you, there will be no citizenship verification." I want to give you a chance to respond directly to that.

SHAPIRO: Yeah. Look, I am not going to respond to Stephen Miller. That guy is a dope who can't tell the truth.

HARLOW: Yeah, I am not asking you about Stephen Miller, just about what he raises, because I think he raises a question others may raise, so just to the substance of what he said.

SHAPIRO: Right. Well, he doesn't raise any substance. Here is the actual substance: When you go to get a driver's license, when you go to renew your driver's license, you have to bring identifying documents in order to be able to secure that driver's license, the same documents that are required in order to be able to register to vote. We are relying on a system that already has safeguards built into it to allow someone to be automatically registered to vote. If you choose not to register to vote, if you want to opt out, that's perfectly fine. But we think we need to make it easier for eligible voters to participate in our democracy, and that's exactly what our system does here. Listen, Poppy, I went to court more than 40 times to defeat people like Stephen Miller and others who tried to thwart the will of the people here in Pennsylvania, who made up all kinds of ridiculous claims after the 2020 election. And I won every single time in court and defended the will of the people here in Pennsylvania, defended the right to vote. And here in Pennsylvania, we value our freedom, we value our democracy, and voting is central to that. And now it's easier for eligible voters to have their voices heard here in the commonwealth.

HARLOW: And I think that's why it's important for people to hear from you, all the checks that are there.

MATTINGLY: It's also, it brings up something I have been thinking about. When you saw the response to this, and from who was responding, the experience you had back in 2020 — and, obviously, running in 2022 — the concern that this just gives, feeds kind of new threads for the same people who questioned the results in 2020, now they can say, hey, look, they did this on their own, he did it unilaterally, this is all to kind of, I don't know, get votes to rig the election. And I understand, stipulating that that should not gauge how you operate as governor. However, it is simply a reality of the time we live in, as the response in the last 24 hours has shown.

SHAPIRO: Phil, respectfully, I think you are just giving their lies too much oxygen. Here is what I know happened in Pennsylvania. Not only did I defeat them in court 40 times, not only did we prove that many of their lawyers lied in court and their licenses were stripped away from them because they lied, including Rudy Giuliani, but I put together a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents in the 2022 election who said no to extremism, no to lies, and elected me the governor because they wanted me to be able to ensure the continuation of free and fair, safe and secure elections here in the commonwealth. This builds on that work we have done. Voter participation is central to our democracy. And those who are standing up trying to make it harder for people to vote, that's anti-democratic. That's anti-freedom. And that is not how we do things here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.