CNN's Avlon Suggests Reagan Years Not 'Great' Because Lacked 'Gay Civil Rights'

On Thursday's New Day, during a discussion of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's interview from earlier on the show, CNN political analyst and Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon suggested that America was not really so "great" during the Ronald Reagan years partly because, on "gay civil rights, things were not getting done." He also went on to repeat the discredited myth that, in 1968, then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon claimed to have a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War.

At about 7:50 a.m., after co-host Alisyn Camerota recalled that Trump had asserted that America was "great" under Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, Avlon tried to discredit the GOP candidate's claim. Avlon:

The oldest story in the world is people complaining about how awful current times are and romanticizing the past. You know, let's look at the Reagan and Clinton years, you know-

After Camerota injected, "Every generation does it," Avlon seemed to see gay rights as one of the major reasons the Reagan years were not so "great" as he continued:

Every generation does it. We can't quit it. Some people demagogue it and try to make a buck off it, which is what he's doing. But, look, you know, in the Reagan era, certainly in the beginning of Reagan's term, there was high unemployment, a lot of destabilization. There was a massive economic expansion in the mid-80s. That's absolutely true. But on many issues, you know, say, gay civil rights, things were not getting done. We had a massive recession.

Regarding the Clinton administration, the Daily Beast editor added:

During the Clinton era, during the impeachment hearing, I don't think people were walking around with their heads up saying, "Yeah, this is America at its best," taking about, you know, antics at the Oval Office. So come on.

After co-hosts Camerota and Michaela Pereira brought up Trump's reluctance to reveal too many details on his foreign policy plans, Avlon brought up the debunked claim about Nixon having a "secret plan." Avlon:

You know, when Richard Nixon ran in 1968, he talked about a secret plan to win the war, so it's not the first time somebody has said, "I can't get into the specifics." But, you know, the thing about Trump, him saying something unpredictable, it's clear, he's playing politics by reality TV rules. He is a celebrity, and he is gaming the media very effectively, as a result.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, September 24, New Day on CNN:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: So let's start with the Donald Trump interview because there was so much to talk to him about, and one of the things that I wanted to ask him, his slogan is: "Make America Great Again." And I wanted to know when that magical, mythical heyday of America was. Was he talking about the 50s? Was he talking about the Turn of the Century. Was he talking about -- so he basically said, before the Iraq War. Let me play for you when he thinks America was at its best.

(Wrong clip plays)

... But basically let me try to tell you. He said that he felt that he would give Clinton -- I mean, when pressed about when America's heyday was -- he said Clinton and Reagan. So is that -- what do you think of that?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The oldest story in the world is people complaining about how awful current times are and romanticizing the past. You know, let's look at the Reagan and Clinton years, you know-

CAMEROTA: Every generation does it.

AVLON: Every generation does it. We can't quit it. Some people demagogue it and try to make a buck off it, which is what he's doing. But, look, you know, in the Reagan era, certainly in the beginning of Reagan's term, there was high unemployment, a lot of destabilization. There was a massive economic expansion in the mid-80s. That's absolutely true. But on many issues, you know, say, gay civil rights, things were not getting done. We had a massive recession.

During the Clinton era, during the impeachment hearing, I don't think people were walking around with their heads up saying, "Yeah, this is America at its best," taking about, you know, antics at the Oval Office. So come on.

(...)

MICHAELA PEREIRA:It's almost like he's likening it -- this isn't a Poker game. He's talking about the fact that he doesn't want to show his cards to his competitors. Is that enough for the American public?

(MARGARET HOOVER)

CAMEROTA:Isn't this a Poker game? To his point, he is known as a great negotiator. He's saying, "I will use those in the Oval Office. That's my skill."

AVLON: You know, when Richard Nixon ran in 1968, he talked about a secret plan to win the war, so it's not the first time somebody has said, "I can't get into the specifics." But, you know, the thing about Trump, him saying something unpredictable, it's clear, he's playing politics by reality TV rules. He is a celebrity, and he is gaming the media very effectively, as a result.

2016 Presidential Foreign Policy Conservatives & Republicans Homosexuality The Daily Beast CNN New Day John Avlon Alisyn Camerota Michaela Pereira Ronald Reagan Donald Trump Bill Clinton


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