Morning Joe: Trump’s NFL Remarks Were Calculated Ploy to Activate ‘Racist Sentiments’ and ‘Chauvinism’ in Americans

On Thursday’s Morning Joe, Willie Geist solo-hosted a segment where he and the rest of the panel supposedly got to the bottom of Trump’s NFL comments opposing football players protesting during the performance of the National Anthem: it was all a dastardly plot to appeal to Americans’ inherent racism and thereby distract them from the fact that Trump is trying to hurt them with terrible policies.

The segment started off with Geist introducing Time magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief Massimo Calabresi to talk about his publication’s latest cover story:

WILLIE GEIST: The controversy is the subject of this week's Time magazine cover story, quote: "Why He Always Bounces Back." That’s the headline. [...] Massimo, good to have you with us this morning. What more did you find out in researching your cover piece about why President Trump is so deeply engaged and leaning in so hard to this NFL story?

MASSIMO CALABRESI: Well it's really a case study in how Trump manages the multiple crises that come at any president. In this case he had North Korean nukes, he had the health care problems, he had the hurricane in Puerto Rico. And what does he choose to talk about? He's talking about football players. But, it really is a model for how he has managed the Presidency. And in this case, he’s actually right to say that he’s winning. The polls show that people are supporting him on this and he did manage to get away from subjects he didn't want to be talking about.

It seems a bit odd to claim that Trump has been unwilling to talk about topics like North Korea, health care, and Puerto Rico, given that he has talked about all of them quite a bit over the past couple of weeks, but otherwise, Massimo’s analysis isn’t an unreasonable one. He does appear to be correct about polling generally supporting Trump’s stance on the NFL teams’ protests. Even a poll that Reuters touted as showing a majority of Americans disagreeing with Trump on firing athletes who kneel during the anthem still found that 58% of those polled agreed that “professional athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem at sporting events.” Other polls have found similar results.

 

 

After getting Calabresi’s input, Geist then turned the conversation over to Anand Giridharadas, a NBC News political analyst, and asked him to psychoanalyze Trump’s “NFL obsession” and find a deeper reason for Trump’s remarks. Giridharadas, apparently practicing his powers of clairvoyance, replied:

You know, I think just because you are an idiot doesn't mean you don't know what you're doing. I think he knows exactly what he's doing in many of these things. You know, to go back to the previous segment about taxes and whatever, Donald Trump is in a predicament in which he ran on populism. He ran on helping average people. Now he's in government and nothing he's proposing to do is actually gonna help them. If that was the end of the story, he’d be in big trouble. So he has to do something to make the same people who are going to feel betrayed by those tax cuts and all these private jets, make them feel like he is doing something for them. And he, when he activates those cultural issues, and goes after a black man for kneeling and protesting police brutality, he knows exactly what he is doing. He is activating racist sentiments and a kind of chauvinism, cultural chauvinism, that he thinks is insurance against the fact that his actual policies will only hurt the people who put him in the White House.

Perhaps Giridharadas would like to use his mind-reading capabilities to see what Kim Jong-un’s real plans are for his nukes, as that would certainly be slightly more helpful than just repeatedly accusing Americans of being racist and appreciating attacks on “black [men]” “kneeling and protesting police brutality.” To suggest that Trump’s comments were actually about dog-whistling and activating legions of racist Americans to act on Trump’s behalf was just another tired attempt from the left to demonize Americans for wanting basic common decency and respect for the country at events that aren’t even supposed to be about politics.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Unsurprisingly, no one on the panel had anything to say in response to Giridharadas, and Geist quickly moved on to discuss the latest about the scary Russian Facebook ads story.

The transcript of the segment follows below:

8:55 AM EST

(...)

WILLIE GEIST: The controversy is the subject of this week's Time magazine cover story, quote: "Why He Always Bounces Back." That’s the headline. Let’s bring in Time magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief Massimo Calabresi. Massimo, good to have you with us this morning. What more did you find out in researching your cover piece about why President Trump is so deeply engaged and leaning in so hard to this NFL story?

MASSIMO CALABRESI: Well it's really a case study in how Trump manages the multiple crises that come at any president. In this case he had North Korean nukes, he had the health care problems, he had the hurricane in Puerto Rico. And what does he choose to talk about? He's talking about football players. But, it really is a model for how he has managed the Presidency. And in this case, he’s actually right to say that he’s winning. The polls show that people are supporting him on this and he did manage to get away from subjects he didn't want to be talking about.

GEIST: You know, Anand, this NFL obsession from the President came up out of the clear blue sky. People forget by now because we’re so far along into this conversation or debate or whatever it is, he was at an event in Alabama, ostensibly in support of Luther Strange, it was supposed to be a rally for a candidate, and he went in on the NFL. He started talking about the kneeling. He said: the league’s not what it used to be, we gotta bring back the hard hits. Why do you suspect he went to that place?

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS [NBC, POLITICAL ANALYST]: You know, I think just because you are an idiot doesn't mean you don't know what you're doing. I think he knows exactly what he's doing in many of these things. You know, to go back to the previous segment about taxes and whatever, Donald Trump is in a predicament in which he ran on populism. He ran on helping average people. Now he's in government and nothing he's proposing to do is actually gonna help them. If that was the end of the story, he’d be in big trouble. So he has to do something to make the same people who are going to feel betrayed by those tax cuts and all these private jets, make them feel like he is doing something for them. And he, when he activates those cultural issues, and goes after a black man for kneeling and protesting police brutality, he knows exactly what he is doing. He is activating racist sentiments and a kind of chauvinism, cultural chauvinism, that he thinks is insurance against the fact that his actual policies will only hurt the people who put him in the White House.

GEIST: Ruth, I wanna go back for a minute to this Facebook story as well because it just feels like we’ve scratched the surface only.

(...)


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW
CyberAlerts Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism Sports MSNBC Morning Joe Time Video Willie Geist Massimo Calabresi
Chris Reeves's picture