Laura Ingraham and Eric Cantor are fighting over a dumb Taliban joke

The bomb-throwing pundit and the outgoing majority leader offer an example of the GOP's ongoing civil war

Topics: Taliban, Bergdahl, Cantor, INgraham, ABC, David Brat, Eric Cantor, Laura Ingraham, This Week, Bowe Bergdahl, Afghanistan, Tea Party, GOP Civil War, , ,

Appearing during separate segments of ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, talk show host and rabble-rousing conservative pundit Laura Ingraham and soon-to-resign House Majority Leader Eric Cantor traded barbs over an unfunny Taliban-themed joke.

Earlier in the month, Ingraham — who lobbied strenuously for voters in the GOP primary for Virginia’s 7th District to oust Cantor in favor of economics professor David Brat — had made a joke to the effect that Cantor, rather than Guantánamo detainees, should be used as a trading chip to retrieve POWs from the Taliban.

“Instead of sending five Taliban MVPs over there, [Obama] could have just traded one Eric Cantor,” Ingraham said. “Sending Eric Cantor back for a little while … could help our economy, stop so much spending.”

Cantor apparently did not consider Ingraham’s zinger to be particularly chuckle-worthy, complaining on Sunday that her rhetoric ill-served the conservative movement, the Tea Party and the national political debate itself.

“I will say that the suggestion that I should have been traded to the Taliban for Sergeant Bergdahl really is not a serious contribution to any public policy debate, and frankly, I don’t think that it reflects on the people that self-identify as Tea Partyers” Cantor said, not referring to Ingraham by name.



“I think they reject that kind of notion,” Cantor continued. “And it’s just not serious. And, frankly, it cheapens the debate.”

Later on during the show, Ingraham had her opportunity to respond to Cantor’s chastising. She seemed undeterred.

“If he can’t take a joke about the prisoner swap, he has no sense of humor,” Ingraham said of Cantor, whose loss she described as ”a win for grass-roots activists” in the state. “That’s why he lost, probably,” she added.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at eisquith@salon.com.

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