Was the worst story saying on tape that we had a secret new nuclear weapons system? Giving away confidential nuclear information is pretty bad. Former CIA DIrector John Brennan said what most concerned him was that if Trump was telling a reporter top secret information, what might he be telling foreign leaders? Telling our adversaries? Telling...anyone?
Was the worst story laughing at a question about white privilege and then ridiculing the reporter by telling him he'd drunk the Kool-Aid?
I don't know, they're all pretty awful. But then, it's possible that the worst story of the day might not have even been any of the revelations from Bob Woodward's book. It might have been the story of whistleblower Brian Murphy, former acting chief of the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence branch, He told investigators that Trump had intelligence changed about Russian threats against U.S. elections and threats by white supremacist groups and kept from law enforcement. So, police and other agencies were kept in the dark and unable to act on those threats. Is that story worse than the others? It’s pretty darn bad.
And that’s just from today. We aren’t even talking about all the terrible revelations from Michael Cohen yesterday on the release of his book.
And no, we haven’t forgotten the article from The Atlantic about Trump demeaning the military and calling the wounded and dead “losers” and “suckers.”
And keep in mind that “all” these revelations from Bob Woodward’s book are only from about four or five brief excerpts that got released, since the full book isn’t due to be published until next week. Are these “the worst” stories from the book? They’re all obviously very bad, and some may be among the worst, but any good marketing campaign will hold back other major newsworthy stories to keep making headlines between now and the book’s release.
And, of course, the worst story is still the pandemic – regardless of what Trump says he knew and whether he know when he knew what he knows -- and that we passed 195,000 deaths in the country, so far.
Among my personal favorite stories of yesterday, though, was his attempt at explaining his silence by saying he wanted to downplay the pandemic because he didn’t want people to panic.
First of all, as we have seen for the past 3-1/2 years, Trump seems to wake up every morning wondering how many ways he can panic people. And going back further, we come to his cries of birtherism. Or we can even go back to when he took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to call for the execution of the innocent Central Park Five.
Second, if you don’t want people to panic, you have a plan and are honest with people to keep them informed. If a hurricane is about to hit the coast, you don’t downplay it to those living there and ignore telling them how dangerous it is, you set up shelters and explain the evacuation system.
Third, to this day, seven months later, Trump is still downplaying the pandemic. He holds rallies without social distancing, he doesn’t wear a face mask or require others around him to wear one, he just ridiculed a reporter for wearing a mask, he still doesn’t have a national testing program, he says he wants testing cut back, he wants students to go back to school, he wants students and professionals to play football – where people huddle, line up inches from each other, and wrap their arms around their opponents to tackle them. He’s ridiculed Joe Biden sheltering and wearing a face mask. He still says the coronavirus will disappear like a miracle. And on and on and on and on.
“Panic” has nothing to do with it, We’re well past panic, 195,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, and Trump has never stopped downplaying it. Concern over “panic” is not an issue, and never was to Trump. He downplayed the coronavirus in February because he didn’t want the stock market to collapse and didn’t want the public to know about it since it would hurt his election chances. And he continues to downplay it because he’s stuck believing his lies.
We’re going to turn the rest of today’s platform over the former Senator Claire McCaskill, who was on fire yesterday on MSNBC. She appeared on a segment with host Nicolle Wallace and John Heileman, and as thoughtful and pointed as they were, she was absolutely red-hot furious at what Trump has done to America.
But Ms. McCaskill was just getting warmed up. Later in the segment, the tropic of Trump simply doing the interviews with Trump came up -- not just the interviews, but 18 of them. And she became near-operatic, almost Shakespearean in her bewilderment. The treat here is not just watching her, but also Heileman and Wallace, who know better than most anyone how what she is saying is SO true. Him, because he wrote one of the definitive books on a presidential campaign, Game Change, and her from the other perspective, as a communications director working to keep journalists away from the candidate at the end of a campaign. I only wish the video didn’t end the clip so early, as soon as she finishes, because you only see them start to break out laughing.
And since I can't top that, I won't try.
In the words of Edward R. Murrow -- good night, and good luck.