MSNBC's Kasie Hunt Condemns Abusive Calls Made to GOP Senator: This Is 'Not the Way to Go About It'

September 12, 2018

MSNBC host and reporter Kasie Hunt said on Wednesday that the tactics being waged by liberals against Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) in an attempt to pressure her to vote against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are "not the way to go about it."

Hunt, a Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC, appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where she reacted to the abusive calls Collins' office has received in the past week. Activists opposed to Kavanaugh have attempted to pressure her to vote against his confirmation or face repercussions when she is up for reelection in 2020.

"Here is one thing that I will say, if you are trying to convince Susan Collins to do something, the tactics that some of these people are using is not the way to go about it," Hunt said. "Her offices received 3,000-plus wire hangers. She had one 25-year-old female staffer have somebody walk up to them and say they hope she is raped and impregnated."

NBC News reported on the profanity-laced voicemails and letters Collins received from activists.

One caller on Friday, September 7 at 6:11 p.m., left a message saying, in part: "If you care at all about women's choice, vote ‘no' on Kavanaugh. Don't be a dumb bitch. F*** you also."

In a second voice mail, the caller calls Collins "a feckless, feckless, feckless woman standing there letting Trump and his appointees steal the right to choose what women do with their bodies. And you stood by, ‘Oh, I don't know. I'm so naive.' F*** you. F*** you."

And in a letter sent to her Portland, Maine office, the writer on August 9 says that "EVERY waitress who serves you is going to spit in your food, and that's if you're lucky, you f***ing c***! Think of that every meal."

Hunt said many of the sources she has spoken to are "uncomfortable" with how some of the tactics are playing out.

"Susan Collins really values her reputation as being independent. She did vote for Neil Gorsuch, which of course went along with the president here, but she has acknowledged ... that if in fact some of the charges Democrats have leveled at Kavanaugh–that he has not told the truth at these hearings–that that would be a very serious concern for her," Hunt said.

Hunt then shifted to talk about liberal activists launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise money against Collins.

A group associated with Maine People's Alliance, Mainers for Accountable Leadership, and activist Ady Barkan created a crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than $1 million in the form of pledges. The group says that if Collins supports Kavanaugh, those pledges will be given to whoever challenges the senator in 2020, and if she votes against the nominee's confirmation, the money will never be withdrawn.

"We talk a lot about how there's no bipartisanship in Washington. These kinds of tactics don't encourage independents like Susan Collins to stay in the ring," Hunt concluded.

Hunt's response to the abusive phone calls contrasts the reaction another MSNBC panel had to the profanity-laced voicemails.

After playing audio from two callers, both of whom said "f*** you" to Collins, MSNBC contributor Yamiche Alcindor focused on the  callers' "passion" for "life-and-death issues."

"When you listen to those and having been out on the campaign trail, it's the passion of people," Alcindor said. "It's obviously abusive, and the language that's being used is abhorrent, but you also feel like they're talking about life-and-death issues."

"They're talking about women's rights to choose," Alcindor went on. "They're talking about whether or not you can have health care, pre-existing conditions—these are things that can lead people to die."

"These are the life-and-death things people are talking about," she concluded.

Panelist Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign manager, nodded in response to Alcindor's assessment. Another panelist, Alexi McCammond, noted the two calls played were from men and said it showed abortion "is an issue that’s not just affecting women."

"And that was from two men, which I think really shows how this is an issue that's not just affecting women," McCammond said. "Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings absolutely bring abortion and reproductive rights as a top midterm election issue, in a way it might not have been otherwise."