Charlamagne to ABC’s Jon Karl: Dems Are ‘The Party That Cried Wolf’

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One pattern to emerge from the media’s collective coverage of the 2024 presidential election is its collective freakout over a perceived lack of support for President Joe Biden among the varied minority communities that form part of his electoral coalition. The latest installment in that ongoing series is Jon Karl’s sitdown with talk show host Charlamagne THA God which aired on ABC This Week.

Watch as Charlamagne delivers a counternarrative history lesson and explains one of the reasons why the media’s drumbeat about Donald Trump being a supposed threat to democracy has fallen on deaf ears- they demonized everybody else:

Karl was struck by this and other remarks, specifically on Biden’s age and declining mental faculties, that run counter to Democratic orthodoxies. But beyond that, the interview was both derivative and weird.

It was derivative in the sense that we’ve seen a bunch of other interviews wherein correspondents hop on a plane and go to places like Dearborn, Michigan, and fret about Arab Americans saying they’ll never vote for Biden because of his (early) support for Israel in their war against Hamas. Or fret about Black people noticing they had more money when Trump was in office. Or Latinos in Nevada talking about the need to secure the border. Given Charlamagne’s standing and notoriety, the interview is a get but it is derivative nonetheless.

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It was weird because it had a “Columbusing” quality to it- that is, Karl crowing about making some major discovery when in fact Charlamagne’s been around for years. If, at this point, Charlamagne remained undiscovered, it is by the overwhelmingly white Anglo liberal elites ensconced within the safety of the media’s cocoon. Even conservatives know who Charlamagne is from the collective dunking on Biden’s viral “you ain’t Black” moment from 2020.

Beyond that, the interview was more of the same. Having filled three books with J6 alarmism, OF COURSE Karl was going to indulge Charlamagne’s “threat to democracy” bleats, even if it meant tolerating his criticism of Biden’s age and declining abilities.

In fact, we’ve already seen a more interesting version of this interview- on CNN, wherein Charlamagne declared Biden to be “a sh***y elected official” while getting hammered by Abby Phillip and Angela Rye. The Jon Karl version seemed more self-congratulatory and deferential.

Click “expand” to view the full transcript of the aforementioned interview as aired on ABC This Week on Sunday, February 18th, 2024:

JON KARL: Welcome back. We’re now going to bring you someone who has never been a guest on This Week or any other Sunday public affairs show. He’s an important and influential voice in politics and culture with billions of followers and listeners, which is why the White House pays attention to what he has to say. He’s known as Charlamagne THA God, and I sat down with him for this exclusive interview. 

He’s one of the most influential voices in morning radio. 

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Yep. It’s the world’s most dangerous show The Breakfast Club. Charlamagne THA God. Jess Hilarious. I don’t know where the hell Envy is at.

KARL: Also a television personality, podcast host, and New York Times best-selling author. His interviews with pop stars and politicians making viral moments like this. 

ANGELA YEE: So what’s something that you always carry with you? 

HILLARY CLINTON: Hot sauce. 

DJ ENVY: Really?

CHARLAMAGNE: You…

CLINTON: Yeah, yeah. 

ENVY: Really? 

CHARLAMAGNE: Are you getting in formation right now? 

KARL: Lenard McKelvey, known to America as “Charlamagne THA God”, has built his following on charisma, comedy, and blunt questions. 

CHARLAMAGNE: What was you thinking earlier this year when you got caught cheating in Vegas? 

KEVIN HART: Hey, brother, listen. 

CHARLAMAGNE: Mr. Irresponsible? 

KARL: In the last presidential election, The Breakfast Club became a must-stop for Democratic candidates. With an average of more than 6 million monthly listeners, candidates sought to appeal to its younger, diverse audience. And in 2019, Charlamagne appeared at a campaign rally with then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris. But it was his 2020 interview with Joe Biden that made the biggest splash, and drew criticism of Biden for his comments on Black voters. 

JOE BIDEN: If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black. 

KARL: I met with Charlamagne at his radio studio to discuss the state of American politics. 

I saw you describe this campaign that we’re headed into as a race between the cowards, the crooks, and the couch. 

CHARLAMAGNE: Yeah. The crooks are the Republicans. The cowards are the Democrats because they don’t fight hard enough on anything and, you know, the couch is voter apathy. And, you know, that’s- that’s who everybody is up against in 2024. And right now — right now it feels like the couch is going to win. I don’t know who that benefits, you know, by the couch winning, but it feels like the couch is going to win.

KARL: What- what’s your sense? How engaged — how much is your audience paying attention to this race? 

CHARLAMAGNE: My audience — I feel like my audience is America. And when I’m out and about just walking in the street or people are calling into the radio station, like, nobody is — nobody is inspired, you know, by the upcoming election. Like, you know, like nobody wants to see the rematch between, you know, Biden and Trump, and that’s what makes me feel like the couch is going to win.

KARL: Why? 

CHARLAMAGNE: This is the first time in my life when people say things like, you know, this person is a threat to democracy. 

KARL: Mm-hmm. 

CHARLAMAGNE: It’s absolutely true. And it’s mind-boggling to me that, you know, nobody is taking it a serious as I feel, like, they should. Like, we watched an attempted coup of this country happen on January 6th, and everybody’s acting like it was just a bunch of people, you know, wilding at Spring Break, you know, down in Florida. 

KARL: Yeah. 

CHARLAMAGNE: Like, we literally watched, you know, people try to overthrow the government because they didn’t like the results of an election led by a former, you know, president. If that doesn’t cause a sense of urgency in people, I don’t know what will.

KARL: Biden- I mean, Biden does make that an issue over and over again. I mean, he constantly talks about that. Why is it not resonating? 

CHARLAMAGNE: Oh, he’s just an uninspiring candidate. Like, you know- there’s nothing about, you know, Joe Biden that makes you want to listen to him. That’s why he should be leaning on, you know, his vice president, Kamala Harris who’s way more charismatic than him. He should be leaning on, you know, other surrogates like Gavin Newsom or, you know, Shapiro in Pennsylvania. Like, he should be leaning on people who have — are more inspiring than him, who are more charismatic than him, and he just should be, I guess if you want to call it, the brains of the operation behind the scenes. Like, that sounds crazy that we’re saying that about a president of the United States of America, but he has no main character energy. At all. None. 

KARL: And what is that? Is that age? Is it the way he is? I mean, why do you- what…what…what’s the problem? 

CHARLAMAGNE: I don’t think it has anything to do with age, you know. I think it has everything to do with him. Like, Donald Trump is what? Four years, three years younger than President Biden? He comes off a lot more youthful. He comes off, you know, like he has a lot more energy and I always say this about them. Donald Trump seems more sincere about his lies than Joe Biden does about his truth. 

KARL: Charlamagne endorsed Joe Biden in 2020, but says it was primarily because he had chosen Kamala Harris as his running mate. 

Has she met your expectations? I mean- you’ve been kind of tough on her. 

CHARLAMAGNE: Yeah, no. She hasn’t, you know? And- but I don’t think it’s too late for her to pivot. Youknow, I think that right now, you know, historically vice presidents have always kind of played their role. Their role is to just basically parrot the president, you know, speak, you know, on behalf of the president, but I think, man. We’re in a new- a new era, right? Like, for new jack problems, we need new jack solutions. And she’s- serves a unique purpose, right? Because she is the first woman of color in that position. So there’s things she could talk about, there’s things that she could say that I feel like, you know, that he can’t. And I mean, man. We remember her in those Senate hearings when she was pressing those people, when she was, like, really on- you know, she was prosecuting these people and I want to see her prosecute the case against Donald Trump in this country. I feel like she could go out there and really let the American people, you know, know what’s going on. I’d like to see her going on outlets like Fox News. I would like to see her going in there and mixing it up. 

KARL: Well, do you get blowback from the White House? Because you- even now in this conversation, you’re very tough on Biden. So when you- when you say something critical, do you hear from him? 

CHARLAMAGNE: Yeah, and I think that’s the stupidest [ bleep ] Ever. Because I think that- I’m sorry

KARL: We can bleep that out. 

CHARLAMAGNE: Yeah.

[ Laughter ] 

CHARLAMAGNE:  Because I feel like you should be able to criticize whoever your elected official is, right? And even if I do criticize them, I’m criticizing them because of what I see coming up in November. I see what we’re facing. So what I’m saying to them is, where is the sense of urgency? You can’t keep saying there’s a threat to democracy and democracy as we know it is going to be gone, but not act like it. 

KARL: Right.

CHARLAMAGNE:  And the other problem is they’ve always done this with every single Republican candidate. Since I have been alive, whoever the Republican candidate has been gets demonized. It doesn’t matter who it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s John McCain, it doesn’t matter if it’s, you know, Mitt Romney. It doesn’t matter who it is. 

KARL: Right. 

CHARLAMAGNE: They will demonize the Republican candidate and now that there’s a actual, legitimate threat, right there in our faces, they’re like- they’re like The Party Who Cried Wolf. Nobody believes them. 

KARL: Do you think Trump’s going to win? 

CHARLAMAGNE  I don’t know, but that’s what’s scary about it, right? Because when you look at everything he’s done, right? Attempted coup of this country, put the Supreme Court judges on who got rid of Roe v. Wade. Takes credit- says, “I. I am the one who got rid of Roe v. Wade. Me. I did that.” When you see all of that, it really shouldn’t be close, right? But when you have a candidate like President Biden who the polls are, you know, saying has the lowest approval rating ever, and, you know, he’d lose to a general election in a Trump- that’s scary. That’s where these conversations are coming from, where they’re, like, “Yo. You might need to step aside and put somebody else in there.” Because, you know, my fear is that the election is going to be close, right? 

KARL: You’ve got a very powerful voice. You’ve got, you know, an incredibly influential show. You’ve got an audience that Democrats especially crave, and obviously, Nikki Haley coming on, Republicans as well. Are you going to be using that voice to try to affect this election? 

CHARLAMAGNE  I’m going to tell people exactly what I’m seeing. I’m not going to endorse anybody, but I’m going to tell you exactly what I’m seeing and what I’m seeing is, you know, democracy really on the brink, right? Like, this is- I would tell my listeners exactly what I’m about to say right now. For years, they’ve told us that, you know, these people are threats to democracy. This person is absolutely a threat to democracy. 

KARL: That sounds like an endorsement. I mean, it sounds like you’re saying: “endorse not Donald Trump”, which as you’ve said – 

CHARLAMAGNE: Yeah.

KARL: It’s going be Biden. 

CHARLAMAGNE  Yeah. Well, I don’t think that’s an endorsement. You know? I’m just simply telling people what is going on out there because I’m going to speak the truth about Democrats too. Because I feel like if you lie to people about Democrats, they won’t believe you when you tell them the truth about Republicans. So if I lie to people about what I see with Joe Biden, they’re not going to believe me when I tell them the truth about what I see with Donald Trump. So all you got to do at this point, and I hate to say this, but why do we have to keep having to say this? Pick your poison. One might poison might send you to the hospital for a couple of days. 

KARL: Yeah.

CHARLAMAGNE: The other one’s going to absolutely kill you. 

KARL: Our thanks to Charlamagne for that.

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