During the election’s 24-hour news cycle, an array of Trump surrogates pulled off some outrageous claims. Much of this was due to their candidate and his controversial rhetoric that became the norm on cable network screens. That Trump’s bombastic nature became conventional was to the credit of his spin masters — including Kellyanne Conway, Katrina Pierson, and Paul Manafort — who could weave a story through so many cycles that people would forget what the segment was originally about.
Most anchors would rather throw their hands up than argue with brick-wall surrogates, but there were certainly some holdouts who cut through the bullsh*t. Megyn Kelly was an early standout who went toe-to-toe with Trump and stood her ground tirelessly, though she softened up during their solo interview. One anchor who never let people off the hook was CNN’s Jake Tapper, whose work was a constant reminder that cable news can feature civil conversations between adults.
The CNN anchor never interrupted a surrogate or treated them with disrespect, but he did challenge them, and he did so with a cool and collected demeanor. Whenever an interview segment could have devolved into a shouting match, Tapper would firmly push back and not let guests skate by with prepared remarks. It was an attitude that produced some engrossing interviews and propelled Tapper to MVP election status. Not only that, but Tapper’s resolute manner makes him an indispensable asset for the coming four years (and beyond).
Here are a few of Tapper’s best moments from this year.