This weekend’s episode of 60 Minutes included a segment on Pete Buttigieg, the failed presidential candidate keeping his “high, high hopes” alive with a résumé-boosting gig as U.S. secretary of transportation.
In the segment, CNN’s Anderson Cooper describes Buttigieg (without evidence) as a “very skilled politician” who became “the first openly gay cabinet secretary to be confirmed by Congress.” The latter phrase is deliberately worded to elide the fact that Richard Grenell, a Republican, was the first openly gay cabinet member in U.S. history. Grenell served as acting director of national intelligence under President Donald Trump and was also confirmed by Congress in 2018 for the role of U.S. ambassador to Germany.
While Cooper’s description is technically accurate thanks to the word “secretary,” the 60 Minutes Twitter account wrote that Buttigieg is “the first openly gay Cabinet member to be confirmed by Congress,” which is not correct. Journalists and other Democrats are in the habit of ignoring “historic” Republican political figures because, in their view, only Democrats are allowed to “make history.”
Grenell’s tenure as DNI is just one example of groundbreaking GOP accomplishments that are rarely celebrated and frequently ignored. Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears (R., Va.) received similar treatment last year after becoming the first woman of color elected to statewide office in Virginia. Mainstream media coverage of the Virginia election was composed almost entirely of hysterical denunciations of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R., Va.) for running a “racially focused” campaign and “stoking white grievance” by using education as a “code” to win the support of racist parents.
Sears, a black immigrant from Jamaica who served in the Marines, received shockingly little coverage as a result of her historic victory. The same was true of Attorney General Jason Miyares, the son of Cuban refugees who became the first Hispanic American to win a statewide election in Virginia. Several news outlets published articles celebrating the racial diversity of the candidates elected in 2021, citing only Democrats while omitting Sears and Miyares.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post enthusiastically reported that Democrat Michelle Wu had made history “as the first person of color and woman to be elected Boston mayor.” The paper’s coverage of Sears’s historic victory in neighboring Virginia, however, was egregiously bland by comparison. “Republican Winsome Sears projected to win lieutenant governor’s race,” the Post‘s headline read. The article would go on to explain that Sears’s election “could tilt the closely split state Senate in her party’s favor on divisive issues such as abortion restrictions.”
Rest assured, Sears and Miyares would be among the most celebrated figures in American politics if they belonged to the party supported by the vast majority of journalists and media pundits.
Several months before the Virginia election, the Post covered itself in glory through an extensive investigation into the family history of Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.), the first black politician since Reconstruction to represent a Southern state in the U.S. Senate. The so-called fact check included interviews with several so-called historians (who just happened to be Democratic donors) in an apparent effort to cast doubt on whether Scott’s grandfather—a black man who grew up in South Carolina during the Great Depression—was as poor and underprivileged as Scott has suggested.
The Post article was published just days before Scott, who was raised in poverty by a single mother, was scheduled to deliver the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s congressional address in April 2021. Liberals responded to Scott’s speech by viciously attacking the historic senator for daring to criticize a Democratic president. He was ridiculed as a “clown” whose “ancestors are ashamed of him.” At least one white lib was forced to apologize after calling Scott an “Uncle Tom.”
Democratic disdain for Republican minorities is hardly a recent development. In 2003, for example, Senate Democrats repeatedly filibustered the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He would have been the first Hispanic judge to serve on the court. Estrada eventually withdrew his nomination after more than two years in limbo.
Leaked memos from the office of Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) subsequently revealed that Democratic activists viewed Estrada as “especially dangerous” because “he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment”—a potentially historic outcome that Democrats could not abide, because Republicans aren’t allowed to make history.