MSNBC Fears Trump Will Get ‘Winning News Cycle’ From North Korea Summit

On her 9:00 a.m. ET hour show on Monday, MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle derisively labeled President Trump’s upcoming peace summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as nothing more than “a brilliant PR stunt that doesn’t get us anywhere,” but fretted to her panel of liberal pundits that he could get political gain from the meeting, “does this end up being a strong talking point for President Trump?”

MSNBC Political Analyst Elise Jordan predicted: “Well, I think he’s going to extend the pageantry for quite some time and this is going to be the start of – ” Ruhle quipped: “He loves pageants.” Jordan continued by warning that the meeting could be beneficial to Trump: “So while he will say that and proclaim that this is a great success, he might not have that much to show for it, but he is going to have this to use as an ongoing talking point throughout the 2018 midterm season.”

 

 

Left-wing SiriusXM radio host Mark Thompson chimed in and blasted the notion that the President might be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize if the sit-down was successful:

He likes to play self-victimization to his base. So what he’s going to say is, “They gave Obama a Nobel and they won’t give me one.” Even though he’s done nothing to earn a Nobel. And this meeting alone won’t get it done, it’s a photo op. As the reporters explained – the two reporters earlier – Kim Jong-un wants this photo op as much as Trump does. It legitimizes him as this mystical god-like figure to his own people, which is wrong. And then Trump can do the same thing to pretend that he’s worthy of a Nobel.

Ruhle forgot to ask Thompson what Barack Obama ever did to “earn a Nobel” when he was handed one simply for being elected president.

Thompson went on to suggest that Trump was just engaging in the high-stakes foreign policy mission because he was “weakened”: “Lastly, there’s also a history of world leaders who themselves in trouble, meeting with weakened U.S. presidents. Brezhnev kissed Nixon, China met with Nixon. And so, this is just history repeating itself.”

Ruhle marveled in response: “You are such the historian. Every time you come, I'm more impressed.”

Wrapping up the discussion minutes later, Ruhle asked her guests: “Okay, then quick, there will be a grand headline. Will there be a substantive deal this time tomorrow?” Former Obama State Department Ambassador Wendy Sherman dismissed the idea: “I don’t think there will be a substantive deal, of course not.” Jordan agreed: “I don’t see how it's possible.” Thompson predictably joined the consensus: “No, absolutely not.”

Ruhle then worried: “But will it be a winning news cycle for the president?” Sherman and Jordan promptly agreed that it would be, while Thompson sounded the alarm: “If those of us in journalism allow it to be. We need to absolutely scrutinize it in the same way every Democratic president was scrutinized going to North Korea. Can’t be this double standard.”

Sherman joined in the complaining about Democrats suffering from a media “double standard”:

When Secretary Albright and I went to Pyongyang and went into this extraordinary stadium event that Kim Jong-il took us to with thousands of people on the floor doing gymnastics, thousands in the stands with flip cards showing us missiles going off, we sat there with tight smiles on our face because you are diplomats and you can’t be scowling or walk out of the stadium. But we got so much criticism. Secretary Albright was castigated right and left for smiling, for having a toast, for anything that we did in Pyongyang....to Mark’s point, if a Democratic president said such things, they would have the administration up on Capitol Hill tomorrow castigating them for doing so.

Thompson then proclaimed: “If Hillary Clinton had won and set up a meeting with Kim Jong-un, they’d have articles of impeachment this afternoon. I’m telling you, that’s exactly what they would do.”

The notion that there’s real concern that the liberal media will give Trump overly-positive coverage on anything is patently absurd. MSNBC is already trying to bash the President before the summit has even happened.

Also, to claim that Democrats are victims of media bias is laughable. MSNBC devoted hours of fawning air time to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and visiting with Cuban dictator Raul Castro. Where was the skepticism then?

Here is a transcript of portions of the June 11 panel discussion:

9:12 AM ET

(...)

STEPHANIE RUHLE: If this is going to be a brilliant PR stunt that doesn’t get us anywhere, does this end up being a strong talking point for President Trump? Where he says, “You gave President Obama a Nobel Peace Prize, what did he do? I got this meeting, and maybe a follow-up.”

ELISE JORDAN [MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST]: Well, I think he’s going to extend the pageantry for quite some time and this is going to be the start of –  

RUHLE: He loves pageants.

JORDAN: Donald Trump – yes, exactly, he loves a pageant, and an ongoing reality show. So while he will say that and proclaim that this is a great success, he might not have that much to show for it, but he is going to have this to use as an ongoing talking point throughout the 2018 midterm season.

RUHLE: Mark?

MARK THOMPSON [SIRIUSXM PROGRESS RADIO HOST]: Oh, I would agree. He likes to play self-victimization to his base. So what he’s going to say is, “They gave Obama a Nobel and they won’t give me one.” Even though he’s done nothing to earn a Nobel. And this meeting alone won’t get it done, it’s a photo op. As the reporters explained – the two reporters earlier – Kim Jong-un wants this photo op as much as Trump does. It legitimizes him as this mystical god-like figure to his own people, which is wrong. And then Trump can do the same thing to pretend that he’s worthy of a Nobel.

Remember, there’s one other prism. Respectfully, Ambassador [Wendy Sherman]. And that is his obsession with Obama. Obama said to him in their only White House meeting, “North Korea needs to be a priority.” So he got that. So he has to go out of his way to try to prove Obama differently. And he gets his advice from his de facto chief of staff Sean Hannity. Who, when Obama was in office, ridiculed and shamed Obama for even thinking about meeting with the Kim regime. So there is a double standard.

Lastly, there’s also a history of world leaders who themselves in trouble, meeting with weakened U.S. presidents. Brezhnev kissed Nixon, China met with Nixon. And so, this is just history repeating itself.

RUHLE: You are such the historian. Every time you come, I'm more impressed.

(...)

9:17 AM ET

RUHLE: Well, the fact that he’s rolling out in 11 hours and they’re going to have, for the most part, a photo opportunity, does this signal that President Trump’s team is actually doing all of this work and he’s there to shake hands, kiss babies, and sign his name? Which most Republicans would say that’s what they actually want him to do.

JORDAN: Well, President Trump does not enjoy foreign trips and he’s made very clear that he wants to –  

RUHLE: He seemed to loved Saudi Arabia.

JORDAN: Well, exactly –

RUHLE: He talked about that sword dance.

JORDAN: If his face is on the side of a massive museum, then yes, he might enjoy it a little bit more. But he usually just tries to go in and out. I mean, look at what happened this past weekend in Quebec City with his – with our closest allies at the G-7. So he is not going to linger and he doesn’t really necessarily care to sit around and hammer out the arcane details and the nuance of what the actual agreement would be. That’s for somebody else. But he’s taking the limelight. He is showing himself running the show, and with Kim Jong-un.

RUHLE: Mark?

THOMPSON: Well, you know, it remains to be seen what his team is going to do. I’m – peculiar statements that [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo was making this morning about touching and feeling. Is he going to touch and feel him? He says he’s going to know in the first minute. He didn’t even know in the first minute election night that Putin had propped him up to win the election, he didn’t know he was going to be president. So how’s he going to know what to touch and feel from North Korea?

RUHLE: And to that point, did he know about Mike Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, the list goes on of people who the president, who’s “the best judge,” people he aligned himself with, who’ve been indicted.

THOMPSON: In the history of diplomacy and sit-downs between a president and a leader, this
is the one that gives me the most trepidation. He is the least-qualified president to sit alone in a room with Kim Jung-un and a translator. It’s either going to be of absolutely no substance or he is going to do something to mess it up in the same way he’s messed up our relationship with our allies. He wants us to have two allies, I guess, North Korea and Russia.

RUHLE: Amazing. While he’s pushing our democratic allies away, alright.

AMB. WENDY SHERMAN [ALBRIGHT STONEBRIDGE GROUP, SENIOR COUNSELOR]: I can tell you that his aides will want the translator’s notes as soon as they come out of the room. People underestimate the value and the importance of translators. They take copious notes so that they can keep track of the translation, and those notes are going to be gold for the team that’s got to follow up and make something real out of what this declaration will say.

RUHLE: Okay, then quick, there will be a grand headline. Will there be a substantive deal this time tomorrow?

SHERMAN: I don’t think there will be a substantive deal, of course not.

JORDAN: I don’t see how it's possible.

THOMPSON: No, absolutely not.

RUHLE: But will it be a winning news cycle for the president?

SHERMAN: Absolutely.

JORDAN: Of course, as always.

THOMPSON: If those of us in journalism allow it to be. We need to absolutely scrutinize it in the same way every Democratic president was scrutinized going to North Korea.

SHERMAN: Indeed.

THOMPSON: Can’t be this double standard. Every other president was seriously scrutinized on this issue, Trump needs to – the least experienced one needs to be scrutinized as well.

RUHLE: You know this first hand.  

SHERMAN: When Secretary Albright and I went to Pyongyang and went into this extraordinary stadium event that Kim Jong-il took us to with thousands of people on the floor doing gymnastics, thousands in the stands with flip cards showing us missiles going off, we sat there with tight smiles on our face because you are diplomats and you can’t be scowling or walk out of the stadium. But we got so much criticism. Secretary Albright was castigated right and left for smiling, for having a toast, for anything that we did in Pyongyang.

And she indeed, as soon as she left, said, “I grew up under communism, I’m not somebody who sits there with rose-colored glasses. I know exactly who this real dictator is.” I don’t think we’ll hear similar words from the president. We’ve heard him say, “He’s a nice guy, I like him, I’m honored to meet with him.” Truly.  

RUHLE: He also may be saying that just to butter him up to get him to the table.

SHERMAN: Absolutely, absolutely. He is buttering him up. But nonetheless, if a Democratic president, to Mark’s point, if a Democratic president said such things, they would have the administration up on Capitol Hill tomorrow castigating them for doing so.

THOMPSON: If Hillary Clinton had won and set up a meeting with Kim Jong-un, they’d have articles of impeachment this afternoon. I’m telling you, that’s exactly what they would do.  

RUHLE: President Trump may have some aggressive and negative words to say about Kim Jung-un, we just won’t hear any of them until about 12 hours, when he’s on a plane, leaving. Because he’s not going to say it face-to-face, that’s not his lane.


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