CNN Panel Goes Off the Rails: Stephen Miller Called 'Brownshirt' in Reference to Nazis, Pro-Trump Panelist Loses Temper

A CNN panel discussion went off the rails Sunday as commentators clashed over Trump's recent declaration of a national emergency.

Pro-Trump talk show host Ben Ferguson butted heads with political strategists Tara Setmayer and Joe Trippi on the heated panel mediated by anchor Ana Cabrera.

The war of words began soon after Setmayer criticized Stephen Miller, a senior advisor to President Donald Trump who on Sunday defended the leader's comments that he "didn't need" to declare an emergency over his U.S.-Mexico wall.

Setmayer questioned why the White House sent Miller on Fox News—"one of the worst messengers"—to defend Trump's comments. "Every time he comes on he looks like a brownshirt. I remember…when he came out and said the president's authority will not be questioned," she continued.

Brownshirt is a name for members of Hitler's early Nazi Party militia, the Storm Detachment (Sturmabteilung). Nicknamed for the color of their uniforms, the paramilitary group helped the future dictator rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s.

Setmayer, a Republican, went on to criticize Trump's national emergency declaration uninterrupted for about a minute, before Ferguson jumped in to defend the president in one of many interjections. "This isn't a president going crazy when he has the actual right to declare a state of emergency. It's within the rules of the law," he said.

Setmayer quickly interrupted as Ferguson began to lose his temper. "It's never been done to reappropriate money, Ben, you know this," she said, before going on to compare Trump's actions to those of an "imperial president." "I don't care if you don't agree with what Congress is doing," she said. "If you didn't get your way, don't throw around presidential powers."

The pair continued to spar when Ferguson claimed an emergency was "growing." He alleged there was widespread sexual assault and the movement of large amounts of drugs at the southern border. "Legal port of entry," Setmayer responded, as Cabrera waded in to fact-check Ferguson's statement.

The pair talked over each other to such an extent Cabrera said they were "examples of the divide within the Republican party," over the president's national emergency declaration.

But before she could finish her point, Ferguson and Setmayer resumed their battle. Cabrera commented their discussion was becoming incomprehensible. "Hey guys, hey guys," she said. "Nobody can hear [anybody] because everybody's talking at once."

Trippi tried to weigh in on the debate, but was interrupted by Ferguson before he could finish his sentence. "Hey Ben, you were the one that didn't want anybody to interrupt you. Please don't interrupt me," he said.

Trippi was trying to question why Trump had previously turned down a deal that would have seen some $25 billion allocated for a border wall in exchange for protection from deportation for so-called Dreamer immigrants, as Slate previously reported.

"To say they didn't try, they did try for two years. That's a lie. They did try. And Democrats refused to work with Republicans," Ferguson interjected.

"The lie is that when Democrats gave—offered $20 billion, the entire thing, it was such an urgent emergency that the president said no. Somebody is lying on the show. It's not me," Trippi said.

The pair continued to spar for some time, until Cabrera asked them to stop, saying: "Hey guys, I don't want this conversation to go down a rabbit hole right now."

Ben Ferguson, Joe Trippi
Political strategist Joe Trippi is pictured at the Time & Life Building on November 10, 2010 in New York, New York. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for TIME Inc
CNN Panel Goes Off the Rails: Stephen Miller Called 'Brownshirt' in Reference to Nazis, Pro-Trump Panelist Loses Temper | U.S.