NBC Rolls Out Presidential Histerian For ‘Context’ On Trump Verdict

May 31st, 2024 2:33 AM

Tonight’s NBC Nightly News saw an appearance from resident presidential historian, or histerian to put it more accurately, Michael Beschloss for “context” on the guilty verdict against former President Donald Trump in the New York business records trial.

Watch the full interview as aired on NBC Nightly News on Thursday, May 30th, 2024 (click "expand" to view full transcript):

LESTER HOLT: We're back now. And as we noted, this is the first time a former president has been convicted of a crime. NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss joins us now. Michael, how do you begin to put this moment into context?

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Well, this is almost surreal, Lester. We'll all remember where we were when we got this news today, and that's because as you've been saying, first time anyone who has been president has been convicted of criminal conduct, and also someone who six weeks from this day just about, Donald Trump is likely to be nominated by the Republicans as their presidential candidate. It's going to be divisive. A lot of people will be angry. But 50 years ago this summer, the Supreme Court told president Richard Nixon he had to give up his secret tapes. They showed that he was probably guilty of a number of criminal offenses. Gerald Ford pardoned him, but Gerald Ford, the new president, respected the rule of law. He didn't say the system was rigged. What Gerald Ford said in his inaugural address was this is the system that shows that this is a government of laws and not of human beings. The people rule.

HOLT: This obviously, Michael, is not in isolation. This is occurring during a historically difficult time in terms of division in this country. Is there a historical analogy about how the country might move forward from this moment?

BESCHLOSS: Well, for more than two centuries, we've had a lot of very controversial legal verdicts. Before the Civil War, at the time of the Cold War, you and I could list them for the next three hours. But the point is that here we are, still standing. We're still a republic. The DNA of America is to respect the rule of law, even if we disagree with it. There can be peaceful protests. A defendant- a guilty party can appeal, but in the end we always respect the rule of law that’s the essence of our country.

HOLT: All right. We appreciate your perspective as always, Michael. Thank you. 

Thus, NBC Nightly News provides us with an answer to a question no one asked, to wit: what historical perspective can we expect from an anti-Trump hysteric who has howlingly referred to Trump as a “monster” and a dictator, while incessantly comparing President Joe Biden to Abraham Lincoln? Not much, really.

Beschloss delivered a less hysterical take than what his MSNBC viewers are used to, with many platitudes on the rule of law and acceptance of the rule of law. Essentially, he called on Trump to take the L in the name of “democracy”. Even so, he couldn’t resist the cheap shot- comparing the business documents trial with the events leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. 

Exit question: In Beschloss’s view, does America turn into a dictatorship if the guilty verdict is overturned on appeal due to reversible error or on constitutional grounds?