'Opposite of Hate' Author Sally Kohn Hates on Trump

Oh, the irony!

Liberal activist Sally Kohn is the author of "The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity." Amazon describes her as someone "learning how to talk respectfully with people whose views she disagrees with passionately .  .  . It was time, she decided, to look into the epidemic of hate all around us and learn how we can stop it."

And: "In The Opposite of Hate, Kohn talks to leading scientists and researchers, investigating the evolutionary and cultural roots of hate and how simple incivility can be a gateway to much worse."

But when she appeared on Ari Melber's MSNBC show this evening, Kohn proceeded to . . . hate on President Trump. True, she did it with a smile and a jovial air. But the substance was as hateful as that of your standard, enraged, social justice warrior. 

The topic at hand was the latest leak of Trump's White House schedule, showing that large blocs were devoted to "executive time." Kohn rejoiced that Trump ostensibly wasn't doing much, because what he did do was supposedly so bad. 

Kohn spoke of "the train wreck that is his presidency," accused him of "fear-mongering" global threats, said that he spent a lot of time with "Stephen Miller, the alt-right architect of all of the fear-mongering and anti-immigrant stuff going on in our country." Proclaimed Kohn: "this is a dumpster fire of a presidency . . . A president who is so hell-bent on caging children, stoking Islamophobia, undermining women's rights, destroying the environment."

Yeah, nothing hateful there! That kind of talk is sure to stop the "epidemic of hate." Liberals: where is your self-awareness?

The Beat
6:24 pm ET

ARI MELBER: Joining me now is a political commentator and activist Sally Kohn. She's also an author, her book: "The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing our Humanity." And I happen to know you as someone who does work hard.

SALLY KOHN: I do try. But as do you, clearly.

MELBER: Well, what do you make of this part of the presidency? I'm not talking about his ideology. I'm not talking about the way he disparages people and all these other things that get so much attention. What about the fact that he's not going to work that much?

KOHN: Those other things that we talk about are actually incredibly important, right? And let's be very, very clear here. I'm more worried, and I think we all should be, about what Donald Trump actually does when he is working, than what he is doing with his massive amount of executive time.

MELBER: Are you as a critic happy that he is not filling those posts for example?

KOHN: Heck to the yeah! I'm happy he is just doing nothing for at least 50% of his day. Wait: that being the part we're missing in this, for the first data dump, it showed 60% of his time is executive time. And so then there is a new leak after they say they're going to get the leaker, this new leak is like the nanny nanny boo boo of leaks. There's a new leak and it's now down to 50%. So Trump is, he's making an effort here.

MELBER: So let me get my headline straight here. Are you pro-executive time?

KOHN: I -- I am pro-Donald Trump doing whatever it is he's doing that is keeping him from further causing a train wreck that is his presidency.

MELBER: Well, then let me show you, let me show you --

KOHN: I don't want him to work that hard.

MELBER: Let me show you for very different reasons, we like to find overlaps here. For very different reasons, some of the folks at Fox News also, also feel warmly, I think for different reasons. But take a look.

FOX HOST:It sounds a lot like work. I mean, he is reading the papers. He does watch a lot of television.

HOWARD KURTZ: Who cares how he runs his schedule as long as he gets it done?

FOX COMMENTATOR: Do more of it. Have more executive time, I say.

JESSE WATERS: Whatever the president needs to be president is fine. He came from an unstructured atmosphere.

FOX COMMENTATOR: The guy is the hardest working person there is. Just because you don't have a scheduled event? Oh come on.

KOHN: I mean, look, I'm half joking, but I'm actually being serious. I really don't want him to work that much harder. Can you imagine how much worse it would be if he did? Now that being said, what does disturb me, and let's be clear, as your clip shows, this is a little bit of partisan theater here, right? It's not like the internal schedules of past presidents, including Barack Obama, were that chock-a-block with activity, right? So a lot of this is private. The details aren't shared even internally, and that's in a way as it should be.

The problem is what we know Donald Trump is doing with his time. For instance, he's not taking intelligence briefings. He's not taking daily -- even George W. Bush took a daily intelligence briefing, and the whole briefing. Trump wants the mini-cartoon version and he only wants it every couple of days. That's a problem. In the week of the State of the Union, when there were lots of global threats brewing that he fear-mongered about during his talk, he spent less time in intelligence briefings than he spent with Stephen Miller, the alt-right architect of all the fear-mongering and anti-immigrant stuff going on in our country. So, that's the kind of thing that actually disturbs me, is what he's doing when he actually is working as well. There's no question, this is a dumpster fire of a presidency, and this for those of us who already believe that on substance, just goes to prove it on style.

MELBER: And you agree with all your Fox friends then?

KOHN: Well, I don't -- this is always the paradox of trump, right? I don't want the -- and as Stacey Abrams said, I don't want the presidency to fail.

MELBER: Right.

KOHN: But I certainly don't want a president who is so hellbent on caging children, stoking Islamophobia, undermining women's rights, destroying the environment. I don't want him to succeed. I don't want him to put his nose to the grindstone and work even harder on the agenda. He's having a destructive enough impact as is.

MELBER: Right.


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