Jesse Kelly Is Not ‘Popular’ Pundit Who Threatened GOP Senator: Sources

Kevin Dietsch/Getty
Kevin Dietsch/Getty

Right-wing radio host Jesse Kelly is not the unnamed but “popular” pundit who threatened to “destroy” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) if he tried to advance immigration legislation ahead of the presidential election, two knowledgeable sources told The Daily Beast.

After Lankford made those comments on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Kelly—who hosts a syndicated radio show and a program on fringe-right cable channel The First—quickly claimed he was the culprit.

“He may be a eunuch, but I’ll say this about James Lankford: He has great taste in radio. 😏 Yes, in case you’re wondering, he’s talking about me,” Kelly tweeted.

During his speech on Wednesday, Lankford spoke at length about the backlash he has received from pro-Trump media over the bipartisan border security and foreign aid bill he worked four months on. The legislation, which was demanded by Republicans months ago, was torpedoed after former President Donald Trump came out against it so he could continue to use the border crisis to damage President Joe Biden politically.

According to the Oklahoma senator, a well-known conservative media personality recently approached him and said that there would be hell to pay if Lankford didn’t stop working on the border deal.

“I had a popular commentator four weeks ago that I talked to, that told me flat out—before they knew any of the contents of the bill, any of the content, nothing was out at that point—that told me flat out, ‘If you try to move a bill that solves the border crisis during this presidential year, I will do whatever I can to destroy you, because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election,’” Lankford declared.

“By the way, they have been faithful to their promise and have done everything they can to destroy me in the past several weeks,” he added.

After Kelly publicly took credit for threatening Lankford, two sources with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast that the senator was not referring to Kelly during his Senate floor speech.

Lankford and his office have not commented on the identity of the “popular commentator” behind the alleged threat.

While the senator may not have been talking about Kelly during his remarks, the MAGA radio host has been outspoken about his opposition to the bipartisan immigration deal—and his willingness to see the lawmaker’s political destruction as a result.

“James Lankford must be politically destroyed for this border bill. I don’t just say that because of my extreme malice towards Senator Naked Ken Doll,” Kelly tweeted on Monday. “It’s important for other GOP senators see the career of @jameslankford end because of this. We must make an example of him.”

Since claiming he was the one who told Lankford he’d “destroy” him, Kelly has boasted about triggering liberals over his supposed public admission.

“Funniest part of all these commies getting mad at me for threatening Lankford’s career is that Mitch McConnell is the one who truly did him wrong,” he wrote on social media on Thursday. “He identified the dumbest, most low-T member of the Senate GOP and dumped the whole thing in his lap. Devious.”

Kelly did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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