O’Donnell: ‘Obama Is the Most Noble Man’ to Ever Be President Above Genocidal Racists Like Lincoln

In the first 24 hours after Donald Trump’s stunning victory, one of the media figures who appeared to be taking the news the hardest was MSNBC’s Last Word host Lawrence O’Donnell who began his Wednesday show by hailing President Barack Obama as “the most noble man” to ever become president since George Washington owned slaves and Abraham Lincoln was genocidal toward Native Americans.

O’Donnell panned Trump as one who will be joining a pantheon of “the racists who have lived in the White House” but also explained how Obama was more noble of a president than Washington and Thomas Jefferson since they owned slaves and Lincoln because “he also played his part in the genocidal war against Native American tribe[s].”

“But first, President Obama is the most noble man who has ever lived in the White House and he proved that again today,” O’Donnell began before showing a clip of the President discussing the election results on Wednesday. 

After the clip, O’Donnell reappeared to rule that “American history is as much mythology as it is history, especially when it comes to the presidency” and claimed that his love note to Obama was not that impressive because “the bar on presidential nobility and honor is lower than you think.” 

O’Donnell then explained what he meant with a brief history that sounded like it was just given as a lecture by a far-left college history professor attacking the Founders and Lincoln [emphasis mine]:

There is nothing noble about owning slaves. George Washington became a slave owner when he was 11 years old. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and won the Civil War, but he also played his part in the genocidal war against Native American tribe. That is the forgotten part of the Lincoln presidency. That’s the forgotten part of American history. Native American blood on presidents’ hands. There is nothing noble about genocide. But our presidential mythology insists that most of the 44 of them have been noble men, despite the fact that most of them tried to exterminate Native American tribes. Most of them were racists. Many, if not most of them, were anti-Semites.

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The MSNBC continued to recklessly undermine the election results by stoking the anti-Trump resentment across the country about not respecting Trump that he undoubtedly would chide if the opposite were happening: 

Respect for the office. You will be told that you should have respect for the office of the presidency. But respect should never be given automatically. The office of the presidency has committed crimes...The office of the presidency has supported slavery. The office of the presidency has supported racist policies. The office of the presidency masterminded the genocide of the Native American tribe. There is nothing to respect in that office other than the man who occupies it and no man should automatically given respect. Respect must be earned. It must be earned or it is meaningless. Respect for the office is a phrase invented by politicians. 

O’Donnell wound down this part of his 10-minute-plus meltdown by returning to the President whose book Dreams of My Father touted as the best book ever written by a President by gushing that he’s “never once in any of the public record of President Barack Obama’s life and his time as president seen anything about him as a person that is not fully deserving doing of respect.”

After ruling that Trump has never shown him reason to respect him as a person or man, O’Donnell again complained that “[o]ur presidents have not been the giants that our mythology has turned them into, but they have all been bigger and better men in most ways than Donald Trump.”

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on November 9 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
November 9, 2016
10:01 p.m. Eastern

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: But first, President Obama is the most noble man who has ever lived in the White House and he proved that again today.

O’DONNELL: American history is as much mythology as it is history, especially when it comes to the presidency. President Obama is a noble and honorable and decent man, but to say he is the most noble man who has ever lived in the White House is not a great a compliment as it sounds. It certainly sounds like an hysterical exaggeration to a Trump voter, but the bar on presidential nobility and honor is lower than you think. There is nothing noble about owning slaves. George Washington became a slave owner when he was 11 years old. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and won the Civil War, but he also played his part in the genocidal war against Native American tribe. That is the forgotten part of the Lincoln presidency. That’s the forgotten part of American history. Native American blood on pres' hands. There is nothing noble about genocide. But our presidential mythology insists that most of the 44 of them have been noble men, despite the fact that most of them tried to exterminate Native American tribes. Most of them were racists. 

Many, if not most of them, were anti-Semites. Donald Trump will take his place now among the racists who have lived in the White House. Our political culture has a method of normalizing everything and anything that happens in our democracy. Respect for the office. You will be hearing that a lot now. Respect for the office. You will be told that you should have respect for the office of the presidency. But respect should never be given automatically. The office of the presidency has committed crimes. That’s why Richard Nixon, the most recent recorded racist and anti-Semite in oval office was forced to resign the office the presidency after an impeachment investigation. 

The office of the presidency has supported slavery. The office of the presidency has supported racist policies. The office of the presidency masterminded the genocide of the Native American tribe. There is nothing to respect in that office other than the man who occupies it and no man should automatically given respect. Respect must be earned. It must be earned or it is meaningless. Respect for the office is a phrase invented by politicians. It doesn't appear in the Constitution. Respect for the office is Washington's empty, meaningfulness phrase designed to turn us all into politicians. To make us all compromisers of our principles. Respect for the man and unfortunately, it only has been men. Respect for the man who occupies the Oval Office must be earned and I have never once in any of the public record of President Barack Obama’s life and his time as president seen anything about him as a person that is not fully deserving doing of respect and I have never once in the public record of Donald Trump’s life seen anything that is worthy of respect. Our presidents have not been the giants that our mythology has turned them into. But they have all been bigger and better men in most ways than Donald Trump. In order for Donald Trump to avoid being the lowest point in presidential history, he will have to show us a version of himself we've never seen. Last night was a start. 


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