Despite Speculation, MSNBC Bemoans Trump’s VA Change as ‘Distraction’ from Porn, Russia

On Wednesday night’s MTP Daily, part-time host Katy Tur and her panel were largely beside themselves over President Trump’s latest “distraction” from the scandals like porn star Stormy Daniels and Russia by announcing on Twitter that White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson would replace David Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. 

This complaint came despite weeks of speculation about a change at the VA as part of a larger cabinet shakeup. Now that the President has done so, this MSNBC panel was suddenly not interested.

 

 

“Why does Ronnie L. Jackson sound familiar to you, dear viewer? That’s because that is the doctor that the President gets to use. That is the doctor that came to the podium and talked about the President's physical the other day, his mental status,” Tur explained in invoking the White House briefing that set of a liberal media meltdown over Jackson’s refusal to deem the President mentally ill.

Tur added moments later that this is “interesting timing because everybody has been talking about that New York Times report” regarding possible pardons for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort “to change the subject.”

Tur then turned to vent with former RNC chairman and MSNBC Republican Michael Steee:

TUR: It does feel like a distraction tactic to me. 

STEELE: Oh, totally....It is totally that. You know, folks were waking up this morning having a conversation about the news that was breaking they were talked about before and now, all of a sudden, we're now talking about Shulkin. And now what the President’s going to do — he’s got the list of people that he wants to help him remake his cabinet and he will roll them in and out as the news cycle warrants...[H]e wants to take the bright shiny object that we've been focusing on with respect to, you know, the Mueller investigation and Russia and all of that, and now we're going to talk about cabinet appointments. 

Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire thankfully tried to point out that this was an expected change as it was “a matter of when and not if for Shulkin” following reports he didn’t work well with Trump and had some ethical concerns.

Lemire later pointed to Jackson’s popularity as White House physician for Barack Obama, but that mattered little to Steele and Tur:    

TUR: Ronnie Jackson, Rear Admiral Ronnie Jackson who we remember from the podium talking about how fit the President was and how mentally acute he was. What do you make of that promotion? That’s quite of a jump.

(....)

STEELE: Well, he is a Donald Trump person now because there’s no way that Donald Trump weighs 239 pounds, okay? So he is a Donald Trump person to the extend that the President could get him to go out and say some things that are obviously not true. And so I think a lot of this plays to the fact that the President is comfortable with him and the President believes that, at least at this moment, he is someone who when gets over there he will do what the president wants to do with little resistance or as little resistance as possible. 

Going to commercial break, Tur promised viewers that focus would move back to what they want them to be most concerned about: “We'll be right back with one of the stories the President may be trying to distract us from. One of the many. Stormy Daniels when we come back.”

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s MTP Daily on March 28, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s MTP Daily
March 28, 2018
5:36 p.m. Eastern

KATY TUR: We have breaking news. You know it is a day that ends with Y so it is a breaking news out of this White — there is breaking news out of this white house and the President has tweeted: “I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronnie L. Jackson M.D. as the new Secretary of Veterans' Affairs.” So, he’s tweeting that he has a new Veterans' Affairs Secretary which means the current Veterans’ Affairs Secretary, David Shulkin, who has been under ethic violations, under a cloud of ethics violations has now resigned. He improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets among a few other questionable things that are out there. Why does Ronnie L. Jackson sound familiar to you, dear viewer? That’s because that is the doctor that the President gets to use. That is the Doctor that came to the podium and talked about the President's physical the other day, his mental status. He was also just promoted recently by the President. 

(....)

TUR: You know, and it’s interesting timing because everybody has been talking about that New York Times report that said that John Dowd — the President's former lawyer in the Mueller investigation was asking Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn's lawyers about whether they were interested in a presidential pardon. Certainly a good idea to announce this, I guess, to change the subject.

(....)

TUR: It does feel like a distraction tactic to me. 

MICHAEL STEELE: Oh, totally. 

TUR: Am I crazy. 

STEELE: No, you’re not.

TUR: No.

STEELE: It is totally that. You know, folks were waking up this morning having a conversation about the news that was breaking they were talked about before and now, all of a sudden, we're now talking about Shulkin. And now what the President’s going to do — he’s got the list of people that he wants to help him remake his cabinet and he will roll them in and out as the news cycle warrants and so right now this is a moment where he wants to take the bright shiny object that we've been focusing on with respect to, you know, the Mueller investigation and Russia and all of that, and now we're going to talk about cabinet appointments. 

TUR: How many more people can he fire in order to distract us from the Mueller investigation? 

STEELE: Oh, it’s a good seven or eight more weeks of firing he can do here. 

JONATHAN LEMIRE: I mean, this is a matter of when and not if for Shulkin. His days have been numbered for a while. He's an Obama-era holdover who though the President was very fond of at first. You remember on the campaign trail that he really wanted — the president stressed he wanted to improve conditions for veterans. He made that a signature issue. But these ethics violations were weighing heavily on him in the West Wing and, you know, we saw his portfolio sort of be curtailed in recent days. There’s a veterans event that Shulkin. was not in attendance for.

TUR: Yeah.

LEMIRE: And it’s a question of, yes, in terms of timing, maybe the President wanted a bad news cycle to then drop this but we’ve known this was coming. It was a question of when. 

(....)

TUR: Ronnie Jackson, Rear Admiral Ronnie Jackson who we remember from the podium talking about how fit the President was and how mentally acute he was. What do you make of that promotion? That’s quite of a jump.

STEELE: I think it’s some — I think it’s someone President is someone intimately familiar with. It’s his doctor. 

TUR: Why are you putting that image in our head? 

STEELE: Oh, I know, right? 

LEMIRE: We are seeing the President lately trying to bring in people he's most comfortable with.

STEELE: That’s right.

LEMIRE: You have people that he sees at Fox News or people with strong relationships with.

STEELE: That’s right.

LEMIRE: People who he doesn't want always saying no to him. Maybe Dr. Jackson who is someone who, you know, fits the bill and also, he’s also — another — I will say, though, people were sort of — somewhat surprised at his findings in the President's physical when he came to the podium a few weeks ago but he's another one who Obama people spoke very highly of. 

STEELE: Right, but here’s the key thing about that.

TUR: Yeah, he’s just not a Donald Trump person.

LEMIRE: No. He is a White House physician. 

STEELE: Well, he is Donald Trump person now because there’s no way that Donald Trump weighs 239 pounds, okay? So he is a Donald Trump person to the extend that the President could get him to go out and say some things that are obviously not true. And so I think a lot of this plays to the fact that the President is comfortable with him and the President believes that, at least at this moment, he is someone who when gets over there he will do what the president wants to do with little resistance or as little resistance as possible. 

TUR: Oh gosh, guys. What is today? Is it Wednesday?

STEELE: Just Wednesday.

LEMIRE: I think so. 

TUR: We have two more days of this. Maybe four or five. The rest of our lives. Who knows. Jonathan, Michelle and Michael. Stay with us. We'll be right back with one of the stories the President may be trying to distract us from. One of the many. Stormy Daniels when we come back.

NB Daily Government Agencies Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Trump-Russia probe MSNBC MTP Daily Video Government & Press Veterans Administration Veterans Affairs Stormy Daniels Katy Tur Jonathan Lemire Michael Steele Donald Trump Dr. Ronny Jackson
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