Dickey Move: Daily Beast Editor Slams Trump’s ‘Rabid Nationalism’

Appearing on MSNBC’s 9:00 a.m. ET hour on Friday, Daily Beast editor Christopher Dickey trashed President Trump’s Fourth of July event, labeling it a “delusional” speech that promoted “rabid nationalism.” Just for good measure, Dickey also threw in a quote from George Orwell warning about such attitudes treating human beings like “insects.”

“Critics feared the President’s speech would veer from patriotism to partisan politics. But he did stick to script, which may not necessarily be a good thing considering some glaring historical errors,” anchor Chris Jansing snidely remarked at the top of the segment as she hyped Trump mistakenly referring to the military “taking over airports” during the Revolutionary War. She gushed over those mocking the President on social media: “Not surprisingly, perhaps, the #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories started trending on Twitter. And it doesn’t matter what you’re politics are, some people out there are awfully clever.”

 

 

Piling on, Jansing then cited The Washington Post deriding the presidential address: “Historians – at least the ones fact-checking the president on Twitter – were not impressed. One likened the speech to ‘an angry grandpa reading a fifth grader’s book report on American military history.’”

Moments after Trump finished speaking on Thursday, CNN at least compared the address to “eighth grade history.”  

Adding to Jansing’s attacks, Dickey chimed in:

I mean, it was a pretty extraordinary muddle, historically. I think the real problem here is not only that the speech writers screwed up or the Teleprompter screwed up but that the President himself is oblivious to American history. He has a kind of, how shall I say, a delusional notion of what made America great and I think that was reflected in his completely ignorant remarks about American history in that segment.

Minutes later, Jansing touted another part of the speech that Dickey “took exception to” as she set up a soundbite of Trump declaring: “Together we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told, the story of America. It is the chronicle of brave citizens who never give up on the dream of a better and brighter future.”

The host wondered: “What didn’t you like about that?” Dickey lamented how supposedly offensive the completely non-controversial line was:

“Brave citizens.” I think the emphasis on citizens there misses the point of American history. The whole greatness of America is built on the idea of a nation of immigrants building a future together. A nation of immigrants. Something he shied away from. Not a nation of citizens, not a nation that excluded people, but a nation that included people and included their dreams. The possibility to build a future in the new world that was infinitely better than the future in the old world. That is what America – American greatness is based on.

He then went completely off the rails with this tirade: “And that is exactly what Trump wants to ignore because his greatness, if you will, is based on creating fear and hatred, a kind of rabid nationalism that George Orwell said ‘bears something in common with the idea that you can classify people the way you can classify insects.’”

Dickey’s desperate attempt to paint Trump’s speech as controversial echoed his nasty commentary following the President’s D-Day address, in an article titled: “Trumpists Are Fighting Against Everything the Heroes of D-Day Fought For.”

Here is a full transcript of the July 5 discussion:

9:06 AM ET

CHRIS JANSING: Critics feared the President’s speech would veer from patriotism to partisan politics. But he did stick to script, which may not necessarily be a good thing considering some glaring historical errors.

DONALD TRUMP: The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge. Our army manned the [inaudible], it ran the ramparts. It took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory.

JANSING: It took over the airports? The idea that there were airplanes in the 17 or 1800s is particularly odd since just earlier in the speech the President noted the Wright brothers flew the first plane in 1903. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories started trending on Twitter. And it doesn’t matter what you’re politics are, some people out there are awfully clever.

I’m joined by Jonathan Allen, NBC News national political reporter, and MSNBC contributor Christopher Dickey, news editor for the Daily Beast. So, Chris, here’s what The Washington Post writes about yesterday, “Historians – at least the ones fact-checking the president on Twitter – were not impressed. One likened the speech to ‘an angry grandpa reading a fifth grader’s book report on American military history.’” It may just be the President, you know, he has some trouble reading the prompter and it was raining, so that’s, you know, not the most fun, I could feel the pain on that. But shouldn’t his speech writers know not to conflate the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, which happened in separate centuries?

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY [DAILY BEAST]: And throw in the airports as well. I mean, it was a pretty extraordinary muddle, historically. I think the real problem here is not only that the speech writers screwed up or the Teleprompter screwed up but that the President himself is oblivious to American history. He has a kind of, how shall I say, a delusional notion of what made America great and I think that was reflected in his completely ignorant remarks about American history in that segment.

JANSING: Yeah, who wrote that, though? I mean, that’s one question. And factual errors aside, Jonathan, the President did not turn this into a political campaign speech. Mark Thiessen, who is The Washington Post columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter, wrote this, “Democrats promised they would witness a partisan address but instead they saw the president
deliver a deeply unifying speech....With each passing minute, the president looked larger and his critics looked increasingly petty and small.” Was there too much hand-wringing by the Democrats in the lead up to this?

JONATHAN ALLEN: Well, I think that the columnist is wrong there. The Democrats didn’t watch him give a unifying speech. The Democrats didn’t watch him speak at all. I think the number of people watching, tuning in to the President speaking, on the Democratic side, was probably extraordinarily small. In terms of making him look larger by giving a speech that was unifying, I do think that the President’s message was not a particularly partisan or political one. You know, as Chris suggests, the knowledge of history was a little bit of an issue. I mean, I think everybody is entitled to make a mistake here or there.

JANSING: And we all have on the air.

ALLEN: For sure. I think what’s troubling is that nobody at the White House seems to care.

JANSING: Yeah, you know, or fact checked it or, you know, ran it through Google. But you took exception – go ahead.

ALLEN: I was just going to say as a native Marylander we care a lot about Fort McHenry and the war of 1812 and its role in, say, our national anthem and so it was a little disappointing to see that conflated with the American Revolution.

JANSING: In addition to that, Chris, you took exception to one particular part of the President’s speech, which I’m going to play now.

TRUMP: Together we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told, the story of America. It is the chronicle of brave citizens who never give up on the dream of a better and brighter future.

JANSING: What didn’t you like about that?

DICKEY: “Brave citizens.” I think the emphasis on citizens there misses the point of American history. The whole greatness of America is built on the idea of a nation of immigrants building a future together. A nation of immigrants. Something he shied away from. Not a nation of citizens, not a nation that excluded people, but a nation that included people and included their dreams. The possibility to build a future in the new world that was infinitely better than the future in the old world. That is what America – American greatness is based on.

And that is exactly what Trump wants to ignore because his greatness, if you will, is based on creating fear and hatred, a kind of rabid nationalism that George Orwell said “bears something in common with the idea that you can classify people the way you can classify insects.” Citizens, non-citizens, you don’t classify them by their dreams, by their possibilities, by their faith in America. You classify them as citizens and non-citizens.

JASNING: And by the way, Jonathan, when we talk about the Democrats prior to the speech raising some concerns, we still don’t know how much this event cost. I mean, The Washington Post reported $2.5 million was diverted from National Park fees, but we also know what the President tweeted, for example, that the main cost was going to be fuel, has been discounted by fact checkers. Could there still be some repercussions here or is this just a one and done?

ALLEN: I mean, I think it’s probably a one and done. I think that there’s a lot made out of the costs of things that the President does. Every president undertakes particular actions, goes on various trips, has campaign activities that, you know, that require a cost of Secret Service, Air Force One, et cetera, and ultimately those are relatively, I hate to say it, relatively small costs to the nation and every time they get picked apart by the opposition.

JANSING: Jonathan Allen, Christopher Dickey, good to see you both. Thanks for coming in on this day after the Fourth.

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