‘Tickle His Fancy’; MSNBC Panel Melts Down, Suggesting Kim Jong-un Owns ‘Loser’ Trump

MSNBC’s Deadline: White House has become a daily display of anti-Trump Republicans, liberal journalists, and hardened lefties coming together to vent their often wild and unhinged cases of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). 

Monday’s session featured host Nicolle Wallace and panelists screeching about how our “grievance-obsessed, dictator-loving” and “loser” President’s “tour de farce in Japan” made the presidency “an international embarrassment” and shown that he’s owned by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

 

 

Try and not laugh at this portion of Wallace’s opening: 

Hi, everyone. It's 4:00 in Washington, D.C., where Donald Trump just returned to the White House after a tour de farce in Japan, proving once again that you can take the grievance-obsessed, dictator-loving President out of America but you can't take the grievance-obsessed, dictator-lover out of the American President. The trip went off the rails as so many scenes in this presidency do with a single tweet. 

Amusingly enough, Wallace’s rhetoric mirrored that of a statement from a Biden campaign spokeswoman she read moments later, teeing it up by praising Biden for having “acted more presidential than the President by waiting until Donald Trump returned to the U.S. just a few hours ago to weigh in.”

Wallace also huffed that “Trump's performance over the weekend turned the American presidency into an international embarrassment on the world stage” with media reports akin to “something out of The Onion.”

“Donald Trump didn't just look ridiculous, he didn’t just debase the office, he looked weak by sucking up to a dictator and he looked like a loser by failing on those big foreign policy objectives that they set out for themselves,” she later added.

MSNBC contributor Frank Figliuzzi asserted that Trump’s trip and Kim Jong-un tweets showed that “he’s being played and — and world leaders now understand that if you suck up to him enough, and if you hit the right button by perhaps making statements against an opponent of his, in this case, Joe Biden, you will win his favor.”

Wallace was so enamored with his analysis that she asked him to continue down the drain of hyperbole (click “expand”):

WALLACE: You know what, Frank, you just hit on really, I think, the crisis that unfolded before us. It wasn't just the lunacy of it....but I think the most sort of scathing indictment of the President's conduct is what you just put your finger on. Everyone saw the images from Saudi Arabia. Everyone knows how to get to yes with Donald Trump now. The point is the shiny dictator doing a lot less to sort of tickle his fancy, stole the spotlight from the foreign leader sucking up to him. I mean, it does represent sort of an escalation in his vulnerability and weakness and his craving of attention. 

FIGLIUZZI: Look, every — every country performs psychological assessments of the American President and they try to figure out how best to do this. So when the President says he's the most transparent President in history, he's got a point. He is transparently vulnerable and easy to read and so North Korea has got his number at this point. My question is moving forward, have we crossed the point of no return with regard to foreign nations getting entangled with our internal political campaigns and elections? And I fear we may have crossed that point. 

Wallace went next to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson with more nonsense: “[Y]ou've written a lot about sort of the echos of autocracy. I wonder if that's the wrong frame. I mean, are we there already?” Whether these people knew it or not, repeating trains of thought like this for three years now really cheapens matters.

Like his colleagues, Robinson kept the ruse going, fretting that “we're somewhere we haven't before and somewhere I don't particularly like us to be” with this past weekend being “one of the most disgraceful performances ever by a U.S. president on foreign soil.”

Wallace preceded MoveOn.org’s Karine Jean-Pierre by asserting that his condemnation of Joe Biden in Japan would be an example of “Donald Trump not rowing in the direction of American security interests.” Jean-Pierre’s TDS came through as she opined that Trump’s “broken the office of the presidency so much that it's not recognizable.”

As Grabien’s Tom Elliott pointed out, President Obama routinely criticized his political opponents overseas, therefore putting to rest any notion that such behavior was unprecedented. And as others have pointed out, when Biden attended a conference in Munich, Germany earlier this year, he slammed President Trump and his immigration policy.

Instead of trying to flesh out the stupid in this, here’s an extended bit from Wallace and Figliuzzi in which the ladder decries how “we don’t know what truth is any more” (click “expand”):

WALLACE: Frank Figliuzzi, let me read you some of the dictator-like conduct from the President and if you could just continue to flesh out the image of what is evaluated when foreign leaders and foreign governments and especially American adversaries try to figure out how to get to or appeal to or pull one over on the president. Attacking the press, calling the media enemies of the people, supporting a propaganda machine, retweeting things that are false, fake videos, fake news, joking about running for two more terms, not respecting the diplomatic norms, encouraging and tolerating violence his behalf, questioning and denying the legitimacy of political opponents. What does that look like from points abroad? 

FIGLIUZZI: Well, look, Robert just used the word chaos. We are in chaos. This is — this is almost a deliberate strategy of chaos so that no one can figure this guy out and what the result is, we can't rely on our institutions anymore. We don't know what truth is anymore. We don't even believe ourselves, our media. We don’t know where to seek out facts and so what happens in an environment of chaos is that person creating and generating chaos, in this case the President, becomes the arbiter of fact. Everything focuses on him. Not on policy, not on legislation, not on institutions, but it's all about him. Eventually, that collapses. It's almost the chaos of a cult. It's almost the culture of a cult. So around the world, our allies are thinking “we — they don't have our back anymore. We're going to begin doing unilateral transactions in our own self-interest” And our enemies are thinking, “this guy could be ours. He might like us if we suck up to him enough.” And so, none — none of this strategy is ultimately going to prevail and could get much worse, Nicolle.

If that were all the case, the liberal media wouldn’t be allowed to be doing what they’re doing. In other words, we still have a First Amendment that gives them the right to call the President a dictator and a right for the rest of us to criticize the press.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Deadline: White House on May 28, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Deadline: White House
May 28, 2019
4:00 p.m. Eastern

NICOLLE WALLACE: Hi, everyone. It's 4:00 in Washington, D.C., where Donald Trump just returned to the White House after a tour de farce in Japan, proving once again that you can take the grievance-obsessed, dictator-loving President out of America but you can't take the grievance-obsessed, dictator-lover out of the American President. The trip went off the rails as so many scenes in this presidency do with a single tweet. The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker reports: “Like many strategies to influence and contain the president, the carefully planned Japanese attempt hit something of a skid on Trump's first full day in Tokyo...when Trump fired off a tweet that, in a single missive, undermined his national security adviser, aligned him with a brutal dictator, and attacked a Democratic rival on foreign soil.” Here is the offending screed: “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” And despite a days-long backlash in response to the ridiculous statement, including from fellow Republicans, the President went further in a press conference yesterday. 

JEFF MASON [TO TRUMP]: Does it give you pause at all to be appearing to side with a brutal dictator instead of with the fellow American former Vice President Joe Biden?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, Kim Jong-un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that. 

WALLACE: In response, Vice President Joe Biden acted more presidential than the President by waiting until Donald Trump returned to the U.S. just a few hours ago to weigh in. He issued this statement through a campaign spokeswoman: “The President's comments are beneath the dignity of the office. To be on foreign soil, on Memorial Day, and to side repeatedly with a murderous dictator against a fellow American and former Vice President speaks for itself. And it's part of a pattern of embracing autocrats at the expense of our institutions - whether taking Putin's word at face value in Helsinki or exchanging ‘love letters’ with Kim Jong-un.” Trump's performance over the weekend turned the American presidency into an international embarrassment on the world stage. New York Times’s Annie Karni describes the outing this way: “Throughout his visit, though, Mr. Trump acted like a man who could never be fully present. From start to finish, his stay in Japan was defined more by his focus on politics at home than diplomacy abroad, expressing as a running refrain posted online, seemingly every time he was left alone with his screens.” He really is six. [INTRODUCES PANELISTS] I want to start with Robert Costa and Peter Baker because your colleagues who were on this trip turned in Pulitzer-worthy dispatches and I read all of Annie Karni and Ashley Parker and all of the correspondents on this trip's stories like I was reading something out of The Onion.

(....)

4:04 p.m. Eastern

WALLACE: Donald Trump didn't just look ridiculous, he didn’t just debase the office, he looked weak by sucking up to a dictator and he looked like a loser by failing on those big foreign policy objectives that they set out for themselves. 

(....)

4:05 p.m. Eastern

WALLACE: Frank Figliuzzi, I worked in an administration — the last Republican administration in which John Bolton served. It's hard for someone like Donald Trump to end up at odds with John Bolton. He's sort of foreign policy version of a permissive parent. I mean, he gives him a lot of running room to let trump be Trump, to run afoul — I guess my point is to run afoul of John Bolton is to run afoul of U.S. national security interests. 

FRANK FIGLIUZZI: Well, in fact, we could joke to run afoul of John Bolton, you’d have to say, “oh, maybe align yourself with a ruthless dictator.” Oh, well, he's done that and he's done it on a foreign trip. And Nicolle, there's actually national security implications to this President's conduct while he's abroad and in other places and by that I mean, he's being played and — and world leaders now understand that if you suck up to him enough, and if you hit the right button by perhaps making statements against an opponent of his, in this case Joe Biden, you will win his favor. So foreign policy actually becomes shaped not by what a world leader believes or how he conducts himself or whether his philosophy aligns with America's philosophy but rather who can suck up the most at the right time to this President? And so what it means is our allies can no longer rely on us to have their back no matter what, right? The president of Japan tried to hit those right buttons, the President with red carpet and other ceremonies, but yet, what does the president do, alliance himself he aligns himself and says I'm not worried about that and says I agree with him with regard to my political opponent. What's it all about? It’s personal interest over national interest. That concerns me from a security standpoint. 

WALLACE: You know what, Frank, you just hit on really, I think, the crisis that unfolded before us. It wasn't just the lunacy of it. And as you always do, you bring it back to our national security, but I think the most sort of scathing indictment of the President's conduct is what you just put your finger on. Everyone saw the images from Saudi Arabia. Everyone knows how to get to yes with Donald Trump now. The point is the shiny dictator doing a lot less to sort of tickle his fancy, stole the spotlight from the foreign leader sucking up to him. I mean, it does represent sort of an escalation in his vulnerability and weakness and his craving of attention. 

FIGLIUZZI: Look, every — every country performs psychological assessments of the American President and they try to figure out how best to do this. So when the President says he's the most transparent President in history, he's got a point. He is transparently vulnerable and easy to read and so North Korea has got his number at this point. My question is moving forward, have we crossed the point of no return with regard to foreign nations getting entangled with our internal political campaigns and elections? And I fear we may have crossed that point. 

WALLACE: Eugene, you've written a lot about sort of the echos of autocracy. I wonder if that's the wrong frame. I mean, are we there already? 

EUGENE ROBINSON: Well, we're somewhere we haven't before and somewhere I don't particularly like us to be. I mean, you know, that was one of the most disgraceful performances ever by a U.S. President on foreign soil. I say one of the, because Donald Trump has been abroad before. [WALLACE LAUGHS] There was a time alluded to north Korean general. There was a time he kowtowed to Vladimir Putin. I mean, he keeps doing this. As Frank said, any — any world government that doesn't have a detailed psychological profile of Donald Trump at this point, which, you know, detailing what buttons to push when, is guilty of malpractice. Of course they all do and of course Kim Jong-un knows what he's doing. He knew what he was going when — when the North Koreans attacked Joe Biden and they knew how Trump would react. It’s — it’s amazing they knew that would be more powerful than the sort of sumo and emperor, everything else. I mean, the Japanese laid out all they have, right? That's all they got. They got the emperor. They don't have anything more and — but — but Kim Jong-un knew that Joe Biden, that's the way. 

WALLACE: That's the trigger. 

ROBINSON: That's the — that’s the way to the man's heart. 

WALLACE: Karine, it would seem that if you wanted to suggest Donald Trump not rowing in the direction of American security interests, one of the examples you could put up there would be Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump saying the same thing about Joe Biden. 

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, it's really scary because he — he basically followed the dictator and attacked a former Vice President on American soil, as we keep hearing and it’s so true — it's unbelievable. This is not the way we do things and what has happening [sic] is Donald Trump has broken the office of the presidency so much that it's not recognizable. And let's not forget, U.S. taxpayers flew him across — around the world and what does he do? He angry tweets. And Donald Trump once again shows when he goes to a foreign country, it's not about our interest. It's about his personal interest. It’s about his political battles. He puts it on display and he allows himself to be played by dictators over and over and over again, sides with them. Our allies are just sitting there like the Japanese, you know, in Japan. They are like what else can we like you said, we gave him everything. 

ROBINSON: That’s all we had.

JEAN-PIERRE: Sure, South Korea is very concerned, Japan is very concerned. What else can they possibly do to have this President stand up against Kim Jong-un?

(....)

4:13 p.m. Eastern

WALLACE: Frank Figliuzzi, let me read you some of the dictator-like conduct from the President and if you could just continue to flesh out the image of what is evaluated when foreign leaders and foreign governments and especially American adversaries try to figure out how to get to or appeal to or pull one over on the president. Attacking the press, calling the media enemies of the people, supporting a propaganda machine, retweeting things that are false, fake videos, fake news, joking about running for two more terms, not respecting the diplomatic norms, encouraging and tolerating violence his behalf, questioning and denying the legitimacy of political opponents. What does that look like from points abroad? 

FIGLIUZZI: Well, look, Robert just used the word chaos. We are in chaos. This is — this is almost a deliberate strategy of chaos so that no one can figure this guy out and what the result is, we can't rely on our institutions anymore. We don't know what truth is anymore. We don't even believe ourselves, our media. We don’t know where to seek out facts and so what happens in an environment of chaos is that person creating and generating chaos, in this case the President, becomes the arbiter of fact. Everything focuses on him. Not on policy, not on legislation, not on institutions, but it's all about him. Eventually, that collapses. It's almost the chaos of a cult. It's almost the culture of a cult. So around the world, our allies are thinking “we — they don't have our back anymore. We're going to begin doing unilateral transactions in our own self-interest” And our enemies are thinking, “this guy could be ours. He might like us if we suck up to him enough.” And so, none — none of this strategy is ultimately going to prevail and could get much worse, Nicolle. 

WALLACE: Peter Baker, Annie Karni writes about the pres — sort of the gravitational pull of the President to his screens. Anyone with children knows it doesn't take too much to break the cycle, punishment and reward. This president, obviously, saw some reward to tweeting about following on the trip. Democrats investigating him. Mark Warner, threats of impeachment, the 1994 crime bill, libel laws, the Indianapolis 500, Rolling Thunder and their legal challenges to getting a permit, Jussie Smollett, and border wall ruling and I — I think there were a few more off topic. That's what we grabbed ahead of time. What are the particular challenges to covering a President who swerves all over the place and never really gets to the business at hand?

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