Former Secret Service agent and Republican congressional candidate Dan Bongino explained why he went on a headline-making, profanity-laced rant against a Politico Florida reporter Sunday during an interview with TheBlaze TV's Dana Loesch.
"The media sets up a narrative and then they all jump in and protect each other," Bongino told Loesch Tuesday evening.
As TheBlaze previously reported, The Naples Daily News recently ran a story stating Bongino "is still greatly lacking in financial support" from residents within the Florida district he is running to represent. According to the Daily News article, Bongino lives in Palm City, about 100 miles outside Florida's 19th Congressional District.
Most of Bongino's donations have come from east Florida, closer to his place of residence, while only 6 percent of contributions to his campaign have come from the district he is seeking to represent, the Daily News reported.
In a Twitter exchange with Politico's Marc Caputo, Bongino alleged the story was inaccurate. Caputo asked the candidate to discuss the accusation over a phone call he would record. During the conversation, the Politico journalist struggled to get a direct answer from Bongino on what inaccuracies exist in the Daily News story.
After several headlines amassed about the heated confrontation, Bongino sought to clear the air during a follow-up interview with Loesch. Bongino told TheBlaze TV host that a local Florida reporter posted a "false" tweet claiming his campaign "has only one donor in the district."
"She tweeted it out because she couldn't read an FEC report, and she didn't understand the difference between itemized and unitemized donors," he told Loesch. "Her narrative that she was trying to paint was that I was unknown in the district and I was gonna lose — it was false."
He went on to say he was told by Alexandra Glorioso, the Daily News writer behind the story, that the only way they would retract the article is if he provided detailed donor information, a move he denied because "donors don't want to be identified who are unitemized."
"Are they asking Bernie Sanders or Marco Rubio or anyone else for sensitive donor information they're in no way obligated to provide? The answer is no," Bongino said. "So they tell a false story and then they demand the campaign, if you're a conservative only, refute the false story by providing..."
After refusing to provide the additional information, the conservative candidate said Caputo stepped in to "be a tough guy." Bongino said Caputo also tried to push him to reveal donor information during their tense phone exchange.
"You can see from the first moment of the phone call, if you listen to it, ... you can hear he's not interested in the answer. He's interested in a response, he's interested in being part of the story — not telling the story," Bongino told Loesch. "He goads me and, you know, at the end, he got an explosion from me when he questioned why I was in Florida."
"By the way," he continued, "I'm in Florida, and I don't talk about it, I mentioned it yesterday for one of the first times, because my wife has a chronic illness, lupus, which is activated by stress, badly. We had a really horrible episode ... right before we moved to Florida. She wanted to be closer to her mother."
Bongino said he doesn't often discuss the issue because he's "not looking for people's sympathy," but told Loesch he brought it up because Caputo hit him for just recently moving to Florida.
"Then he wonders why I had to drop a few f-bombs on him at the end," Bongino said, adding that he wishes he could take the bad language back because he has young daughters. "But I tell you what, I don't regret taking this guy to the woodshed one bit."
Watch Bongino's comments to Loesch below:
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