WSJ's WH Reporter Bashes Trump for Not Calling for Execution of Already-Dead Las Vegas Shooter

Yes, you are reading the headline correctly. On Thursday’s Deadline: White House, Wall Street Journal White House reporter Eli Stokols was very upset that President Trump called for the death penalty to be imposed on the terrorist who just killed eight people in New York City because – wait for it – Trump didn’t also call for the execution of the Las Vegas mass shooter.

No one bothered to tell Eli that Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock already killed himself. As if that wasn’t enough, Stokols also took the opportunity to claim that the President’s supporters are animated by “bloodthirst” and “ethnocentric nationalism” for wanting the Uzbek terrorist dead.

Host Nicolle Wallace and the rest of the guest panel led off the show by diving straight into the topic of Trump’s public support for executing Sayfullo Saipov. For the most part, they stuck to criticizing Trump’s off-the-cuff attitude when slinging out tweets and how the President’s specific comments about the NYC terrorist might hinder his prosecution. However, when Wallace turned the conversation to Stokols, the WSJ reporter couldn’t help but psychoanalyze Trump and his supporters as violent, bloodthirsty racists and Islamophobes:

 

 

WALLACE: Eli, I guess I'm always surprised, and I probably shouldn't be anymore, but I'm always surprised when a new norm is obliterated. And I asked Jeremy Bash this question yesterday: Is this response to the attack a norm that was violated but that his supporters will love or is this one where he's actually jeopardized the case?

ELI STOKOLS: I think it's both. And I think, you know, when you look at what he's doing, there is a consistency in his response to these kind of situations, to terrorism when the terrorism appears to be carried out by somebody who’s from an Arab country, Muslim country, not from the United States. This is the rhetoric that we heard all throughout the campaign: the bloodthirst, the aggression, the retribution. Those are things that his supporters really like. Now that he's president, it is problematic, as Pete pointed out. The fact that these are subtle legalities basically tells you that these never once occurred to the President because he was, as Phil pointed out, just answering a question. And everything is done kind of rapid fire, in the moment, just read and react. That's all improvisational. But it does -- the unifying thread is the sort of broader politics of Donald Trump, the ethnocentric nationalism. He did not react this way when a white person shot dozens of people in Las Vegas. He did not come and say: well, we have to do an immediate policy change; we need to give this guy the death penalty.

Wow. Well, in spite of the media constantly saying that Trump is an idiot, we now know that at least he doesn’t believe in killing people that are already dead.

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

The Wall Street Journal really needs to better police the people that it has in important positions like the White House press pool if it wants people to take its journalism seriously.

Earlier today, GQ magazine writer Jay Willis ran a headline story lamenting the same point as Stokols, namely asking why Trump didn’t want the death penalty for the Las Vegas shooter, but did want it for the NYC terrorist. GQ was forced to correct the article with an editor’s note some time before Stokols made his comments.

See below for a transcript with more context for Stokols's statements:

4:07 PM EST

NICOLLE WALLACE: I mean, Steve Schmidt, there's an obliviousness to the fact that he sits atop of the federal government, a federal government whose justice system he described yesterday as a laughing stock and a joke.

STEVE SCHMIDT: Well, the comments are revelatory in two regards. First, it just shows his total lack of rigor in making any pronouncements. This is someone who revels in his unpreparedness. It's an improvisational act. There's no thought that goes into anything that comes out of his mouth from the callousness displayed towards Puerto Ricans, La David Johnson's widow, across the board. And secondly, what it shows, I think, is a real contempt and a real lack of -- a real ignorance for the concept of the rule of law. And you see it over and over again: his denigration of the federal judiciary, the Comey firing. We're a nation of laws and we've never had a situation where the President of the United States has such pronounced and profound indifference to the concept of the rule of law. So his comments, though not surprising, are inappropriate, as they almost always are.

WALLACE: Eli, I guess I'm always surprised, and I probably shouldn't be anymore, but I'm always surprised when a new norm is obliterated. And I asked Jeremy Bash this question yesterday: Is this response to the attack a norm that was violated but that his supporters will love or is this one where he's actually jeopardized the case?

ELI STOKOLS: I think it's both. And I think, you know, when you look at what he's doing, there is a consistency in his response to these kind of situations, to terrorism when the terrorism appears to be carried out by somebody who’s from an Arab country, Muslim country, not from the United States. This is the rhetoric that we heard all throughout the campaign: the bloodthirst, the aggression, the retribution. Those are things that his supporters really like. Now that he's president, it is problematic, as Pete pointed out. The fact that these are subtle legalities basically tells you that these never once occurred to the President because he was, as Phil pointed out, just answering a question. And everything is done kind of rapid fire, in the moment, just read and react. That's all improvisational. But it does -- the unifying thread is the sort of broader politics of Donald Trump, the ethnocentric nationalism. He did not react this way when a white person shot dozens of people in Las Vegas. He did not come and say: well, we have to do an immediate policy change; we need to give this guy the death penalty. He did not call for this after Charlottesville when the criminal here did the exact same thing as the person in this case–driving a vehicle into a crowd.

EUGENE ROBINSON: [interjecting] Yeah.

STOKOLS: You step back from all this and you view it in the context of his broader political appeal, it's not surprising at all.

ROBINSON: Exactly. You shouldn't be surprised. You know,-

WALLACE: [joking, interrupting] I’m working, I’m in therapy. I’m on, like, step seven. [laughing]

ROBINSON: -norm after norm after norm, I mean, come on! [laughs] I thought we had progressed further than this, okay? We've just been set back. Uh, no. This is who he is. As Steve said, he's improvisational. As Eli said, he is obsessed with projecting this image of strength. Now, people who are obsessed with projecting an image of strength are generally insecure and feel inadequate in some way. But that be be [sic] that as it may, that is who it is. That’s who he is, and he's President of the United States right now. So he says totally inappropriate things. And he -- I mean, for the President to jump into the middle of a criminal prosecution is not done, but, yeah it is.     

WALLACE: Right.

(...)


Please support NewsBusters today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

DONATE
CyberAlerts Capital Punishment Las Vegas Shooting Racism Islam MSNBC Deadline: White House Wall Street Journal Video Eugene Robinson Nicolle Wallace
Chris Reeves's picture