Appearing as a guest on Friday's All In show on MSNBC, former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines suggested that there is the "functional equivalent of treason" in the White House, and asserted that, unlike President Abraham Lincoln's Republican party, the modern GOP is "intent on tearing apart" the Union.
After Hayes noted that there is a government shutdown in spite of the same party controlling both the White House and Congress, Raines invoked the 16th President as he lamented:
HOWELL RAINES: Well, I think you have to conclude that Abraham Lincoln must be looking down in tears. The party that saved the Union now seems intent on tearing it apart. And I think everybody in professional Washington, politicians, government employees, journalists understood what we saw yesterday when General Mattis' letter became public and everyone and rinsed instantly recognized that this was a patriotic defense intellectual writing for history. And that letter instantly will become part of the annals of the Republic for this reason.
His -- in looking at what he had to say about NATO and about relations with our adversaries Russia and China, analyzing his words brought to my mind language that I almost fear to utter. I think between the lines general Mattis, this great military mind was saying that we are seeing in the White House the functional equivalent of treason.
This is a bit rich from the newspaper that has delighted in exposing national-security matters from the Pentagon Papers to anti-terrorist surveillance programs after 9/11. But Raines kept lecturing:
RAINES: Now, whether this is disloyalty rooted in mental instability, personality disorder, simple ignorance, or financial compromised with foreign nations, this is General Mattis was telling us a life-threatening moment for Republic -- for the this Republic. And I think this will go down in history as perhaps the most important farewell, the most dramatic since MacArthur addressed the Congress in -- at the end of the Korean War.
But General Mattis, unlike MacArthur, was not playing to aggrandize himself. I think this was a sincere patriotic warning from a government professional who understands that this president is unhinged and incompetent.
It's also a bit rich for Raines to lecture about incompetent executives, since he was forced out of the Times for creating a newsroom culture where Jayson Blair could flagrantly write Fake News because he was a minority.
Raines was joined by Jennifer Rubin, who went full MSNBC on Trump: "He has just given both Putin, Iran, ISIS, Assad a beautiful Christmas gift in leaving Syria. So he has now I think gone down in the annals of history as the worst -- bar none -- foreign policy president we've ever had."
Raines said Amen to that: "The person in the world who is most happy that Donald Trump is president is Putin." Hayes introduced Rubin on air as "a conservative columnist for The Washington Post."