A CNN segment on Wednesday downplayed the revelation Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Florida, accepted a "Hamilton" ticket as a favor from someone who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.
Last month, the Gillum campaign said he received a ticket to the Broadway show "Hamilton" in 2016 from his brother. New documents show Gillum knew the ticket was from someone he thought was a businessman but who was in fact an undercover FBI. The records raise questions about the Gillum campaign's previous statement. The FBI has for months conducted an ongoing corruption probe into Gillum's administration as the mayor of Tallahassee.
In response to yesterday's revelation of the text messages that show the undercover FBI agent paid for the "Hamilton" ticket, CNN's "New Day" anchors John Berman and Alisyn Camerota and their guests downplayed the news, saying the controversy was all over one "Hamilton" ticket.
CNN political commentator Anna Navarro said her home state of Florida has a "high tolerance" for this type of behavior from their politicians.
"You know, I was thinking about it last night, and I talked to myself, okay, so we elected Rick Scott governor, and he was the CEO of a company that was involved in Medicare fraud that resulted in $1.7 billion in fraud. We elected Marco Rubio, senator, and his lifelong best friend at that moment was involved in an investigation, and Marco was accused of a sweetheart mortgage deal that he had gotten from a donor. So I think in Florida we have a high tolerance for this kind of stuff," Navarro said.
She added that Gillum's situation pales in comparison and called it a "fairly small thing."
"And, you know, the ‘Hamilton' tickets kind of pale in comparison. I think his explanations for a little convoluted. Even though, if you have ever been to ‘Hamilton' or an impossible to get into broadway play, look I got to tell you, I was at Springsteen two weeks ago. A friend of mine got me access to the tickets, and then I paid for the tickets," Navarro said. "I went to ‘Hamilton.' A friend of mine got me access to the tickets, and I paid for the tickets. And I went to ‘Hamilton.' I don't know what Andrew Gillum's story is. This seems like a fairly small thing and he needs to get his story straight and he needs to get it out quick."
"The FBI is on line B for those tickets," Berman joked.
"I wish I knew that FBI agent," Navarro said. "He seems to have good connections."
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni also dismissed that a "single ‘Hamilton' ticket" is going to ruin Gillum's campaign.
Camerota appeared to blame President Donald Trump for raising voters' tolerance of this type of behavior and that "one ‘Hamilton' ticket" is such "small potatoes."
"I also want to just draw a line in the sand here. Is this the moment where we decide if everything we heard about the claims of corruption on Donald Trump's side, the violations of the emoluments clause, taking Saudi money, the Trump family tax scheme that the New York Times laid out in exhaustive detail, has that upped our tolerance, Anna, so that when we hear about one ‘Hamilton' ticket it is such small potatoes, or are only Democrats held to a standard of no corruption anymore?" Camerota asked.
"You know, frankly, only Democrats are stupid enough to apologize for it and try to make excuses and justify it and explain it, instead of shrugging our shoulders and saying, ‘so what?'" Navarro said.
Two Republican congressman have been indicted for crimes related to corruption as a result of recent investigations, contrary to Navarro and Camerota's claim.
CNN is currently using Gillum's positive comments about the network in an official CNN promo.