MSNBC's O'Donnell Compares Time Until March 15 Primaries to the Cuban Missile Crisis

In one of the more intriguing historical analogies you’ll see made in this presidential election, MSNBC’s The Last Word host Lawrence O’Donnell compared the 13 days until the March 15 Republican primaries that could decide whether or not Donald Trump is the GOP presidential nominee to the Cuban Missile Crisis from the 1960s.

O’Donnell eventually pivoted to Trump’s release of his so-called health care plan late Wednesday night, but not before telling his viewers that the 13 days until the Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio contests “could change our world” but “[w]e’ve been here before” about nine months shy of 54 years ago. 

The former West Wing writer explained that “our very survival” was also “at stake on October 16th, 1962, the CIA presented John F. Kennedy with photographs of missile sites 90 miles off the Florida coast in Cuba equipped to launch Soviet nuclear missiles that could wipe out Washington, D.C. and New York City in a flash.”

“President Kennedy addressed the nation, revealing the Soviet missile sites in Cuba and making public his demand that they be removed and instantly, the United States of America and the world knew that we were on the brink — the brink of nuclear war,” O’Donnell added. 

The socialist host went onto to credit the crisis being ended 13 days later thanks to “the combined sleepless efforts of career diplomats, military officials and government servants of all kinds — the kind of people who Donald Trump now calls stupid.”

Touting his belief that the then-President and his brother Bobby “never called anyone stupid,” O’Donnell credited the two and their administration with having “diffused the single greatest threat that has ever faced the United States of America” and not the War of 1812, Civil War or any of the World Wars “were the most dramatic 13 days in the history of our government.”

Tell the Truth 2016

Shifting to back to the present day, O’Donnell predicted that the American people of 2016 “may now be embarking on the most dramatic 13 days in the history of presidential campaigning, 13 days that you will never forget” because “[t]hat may be all the time that's left to stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican presidential nomination.”

Of course, as readers may recall, this is the second time that O’Donnell has graced the pages of NewsBusters in 24 hours. As my colleague Scott Whitlock noted, O’Donnell surprisingly came to the defense of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) after Trump threatened the Speaker in his Super Tuesday press conference if he wouldn’t cooperate with the billionaire.

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on March 2 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
March 2, 2016
10:02 p.m. Eastern

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: 13 days. The next 13 days could change our world. We've been here before. Last time, with our very survival at stake on October 16th, 1962, the CIA presented John F. Kennedy with photographs of missile sites 90 miles off the Florida coast in Cuba equipped to launch Soviet nuclear missiles that could wipe out Washington, D.C. and New York City in a flash. President Kennedy addressed the nation, revealing the Soviet missile sites in Cuba and making public his demand that they be removed and instantly, the United States of America and the world knew that we were on the brink — the brink of nuclear war. In 13 days of secret complex, sometimes confusing, and always intense negotiations, President Kennedy convinced his Soviet counterpart Nikita Khrushchev to back down and remove those missiles and that was the closest the world has come to nuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis was solved in 13 days through the combined sleepless efforts of career diplomats, military officials and government servants of all kinds – the kind of people who Donald Trump now call stupid. They were all led by a President who never called anyone stupid and his brother Bobby Kennedy, the Attorney General. In 13 days, they diffused the single greatest threat that has ever faced the United States of America. They were the most dramatic 13 days in the history of our government. If you lived through them, you will never forget them and tonight we may now be embarking on the most dramatic 13 days in the history of presidential campaigning, 13 days that you will never forget. That may be all the time that's left to stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican presidential nomination.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center