Jake Tapper goes viral for ‘child molester’ quip in analysis of Kevin McCarthy House speaker chaos

CNN anchor Jake Tapper has gone viral for a quip about disgraced former Republican House speaker Dennis Hastert during an on-air discussion about the chaotic scenes in Congress on Tuesday.

After Kevin McCarthy failed to garner sufficient votes to secure the Speakership, fellow CNN presenter Dana Bash opined that Republicans had faced a similar dilemma when Newt Gingrich was forced out as speaker in 1998.

“We have seen that... when Newt Gingrich was ousted, and they were looking for a consensus candidate,” Ms Bash said.

“Oof,” Mr Tapper replied. “It turned out it was a child molester, but OK yes.”

Hastert served as speaker from 1999 to 2007 before being convicted of paying hush money to one of his child sex abuse victims in 2016.

The hush money deal led to a federal criminal case against Hastert in which he was accused of abusing four teenage boys when he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in Illinois, the Associated Press reported.

“Nothing is more stunning than to have the words ‘serial child molester’ and ‘speaker of the House’ in the same sentence,” Judge Thomas M. Durkin told Hastert as he was sentenced to 15 months in prison, according to the Associated Press.

After the clip went viral on Twitter, Mr Tapper shared a 2017 interview with one of Hastert’s victims.

“Remember the victims of this horrible man, for whom many former Members of Congress -- e.g., Tom DeLay -- wrote letters of support,” he tweeted.