In MSNBC’s search for a spokesman of sacrosanct ethics and patriotism, they turned to an unlikely source: Dan Rather. The fake news forefather joined Chris Hayes on his Tuesday All In program, opining that lying by Trump Jr. and other Trump officials raised “a real ethical question” about their character. Moreover, he argued, it lead to very real questions about their “patriotism”:
Rather, of course, has himself engaged in behaviors of questionable patriotic substance when he promoted forged documents impugning the military record of a sitting president.
What’s perhaps most remarkable was the unmitigated deference given to Rather by Hayes in this exchange, hoisting Rather up as “someone who has reported on and observed American political life for decades.”
While this is true, the optics of this conversation were akin to Bill Clinton discussing the merits of chastity or George Wallace explaining the importance of integration.
A certain amount of charity ought to be given to those attempting to earnestly atone for their own past misdeeds, and it is possible to take seriously those sincerely remorseful for mistakes they’ve made. But, it seems, Rather gives his political opponents no such generosity.
Read the full transcript below:
All in With Chris Hayes
RATHER: If he has in fact lied about it--I know some people would say since he's lied about it, but if in fact he lied about it, that's a crime. That can be perjury. But at the very least, whether he is legally accountable or not there is a real ethical question involved here. There’s a question of patriotism involved here. And it is an immense political question for Donald Trump’s presidency right now because the hot breath of truth is coming down heavy on their necks just now.
HAYES: As to the ethical problem, I really want to get your perspective on what we have seen happen in just the last 24 hours. We've seen, okay, you know, people who defended the President said there's no interference. Then there was interference but no collusion. And now it’s, basically, well, they tried to collude but really who wouldn't? I mean, as someone who has reported on and observed American political life for decades, what do you say to people who say that any campaign would have taken this meeting, this is totally normal, this isn’t aberrant.
RATHER: I would say that’s not true and it’s demonstrably untrue.