REPORT: CBS News Co-President Told Staff They Needed More Republicans Because GOP Likely To Win Midterms

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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CBS News officials were reportedly hit with a wave of backlash by staff members after the network announced Tuesday the hiring of former Trump official Mick Mulvaney.

The network’s co-president Neeraj Khemlani had told staff earlier in March that the network needed to hire more Republicans in preparation for the party’s potential victory in the midterm elections and to “access” both sides of the political aisle, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

“If you look at some of the people that we’ve been hiring on a contributor basis, being able to make sure that we are getting access to both sides of the aisle is a priority because we know the Republicans are going to take over, most likely, in the midterms,” Khemlani told staff, according to the outlet. “A lot of people that we’re bringing in are helping us in terms of access to that side of the equation.”

A spokesperson for CBS News reiterated Wednesday by saying the network is hiring contributors “on both sides of the aisle” ahead of the midterms and 2024 presidential election, the Post reported.

CBS News staff were reportedly “baffled” by their employer hiring the Trump-era chief-of-staff, who began Tuesday as a contributor. He made his first CBS News appearance discussing President Joe Biden’s 2023 budget proposal. (RELATED: White House Chief Of Staff Mick Mulvaney Claims Media Misconstrued His Comments On Ukraine)

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: U.S. President Donald Trump walks along the West Wing Colonnade with acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney (R) before departing from the White House on January 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to Kenner, LA to attend the college football national playoff championship game. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“I know everyone I talked to today was embarrassed about the hiring,” a CBS employee told The Post. The anonymous staff member cited Mulvaney’s inaccuracy in past statements and his role in the Trump administration as reasons to oppose the new gig.

“Everyone is baffled,” another employee said, according to The Post.

In October 2019, Mulvaney claimed there was a “quid pro quo” to the Trump administration allegedly withholding aid to Ukraine to pressure the country’s government to open an investigation into whether the government assisted Democrats in the 2016 election. He later argued his words were taken out of context and that “there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.”

Mulvaney said media coverage of the coronavirus pandemic was meant to “bring down the president” during a February 2020 appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

A senior CBS producer said 74.2 million Americans voted for Trump in 2020 in response to internal backlash, The Post reported. The network also hired a Trump-era national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, on a contributor basis two weeks prior to Mulvaney.

CNN drew criticism for hiring former White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin, the Post reported.