Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather spent most of Monday night slamming President Donald Trump as everything from “reckless” and “divisive” on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes to “mean as a wolverine” while a guest on CNN Tonight with host Don Lemon two hours later.
While on CNN, Rather asserted: “History is going to not judge well … Republicans in Congress and others who don't speak out when their heart, when their conscience tells them that they should. ... It's not an overstatement to say that what's going on now is a great and decisive battle for the soul of the country.”
First on MSNBC, he claimed that people have “outrage fatigue” because there have been “so many outrages one on top of another,” and Trump is “openly and without apology, as a matter of fact with some arrogance, says: ‘I don’t care about the Constitution, I don’t care about the laws.’”
Despite that comment, the former anchor accused the president of saying “something new” by claiming “he’s above the law,” which is “a clear hallmark of an advance of authoritarianism.”
Rather then took a moment to state:
I’m not saying we’re near Nazism. I’m saying we have to learn from history because you know history’s judgment tends to be slow.
But once it settles in, we know what happens when you combine [it] with authoritarianism.
He also said: “The press -- and not to be self-serving, but my profession and yours -- what the president says is [an] especially heavy responsibility not to get the fatigue and move on to the next story to keep the pressure on.”
Just two hours later, Don Lemon began a segment by asserting that the president “has no fear of launching personal attacks on anybody he believes has crossed him.”
The CNN host then introduced Rather as a “legendary journalist” before tossing him a “softball” question: “Do you think in modern history, have we ever seen this level of increased polarization, lack of civility, nastiness in the public arena and beyond?”
There are “no slow news days anymore,” he replied before stating: “I think historically, looking at the whole sweep of American history, there were some very nasty periods of incivility.”
“But no, I don't think we've ever seen anything completely like this,” Rather added. “President Trump gives every indication by what he says and what he does and what he doesn't do, that he's mean as a wolverine, and we've never had a president who had that reputation.”
After claiming that Trump is “extremely selfish and child-like” in his behavior, Lemon asked: Have people “lowered themselves to match this president's rhetoric?”
“I think they have,” Rather replied, “and I think they've helped President Trump by doing that.”
Now, one of our fundamental tenets is no man, no person is above the law. And the president, the president of the United States is not a descendant of some sun god and he doesn't serve because he's been given something -- a divine mandate.
He serves because he's been elected by the people, [not] to say “I'm going to do it may way.” … I think everybody either recognizes it or should recognize it; this is classic authoritarianism which can very quickly lead to dictatorship or even totalitarianism.
Rather also stated that America is “at a critical point here, and that is we need to start listening to one another. I know it's become a cliché, but we’ve got to start listening to one another rather than shouting to one another, and really listen and try to discuss what we have at stake.”
While claiming that Trump “sets the tone” for any debate, he “caters to his supporters; he damns everybody and everything that even gives one scintilla of questioning or resistance,” Rather asserted.
“This is why we are at a very critical point in the country,” he concluded. “It's not an overstatement to say that what's going on now is a great and decisive battle for the soul of the country.”
Of course, Rather never considered the notion that “listening to one another” would include liberals hearing what Trump and others in the Republican Party are saying. Sadly, he’s still “Rather Biased.”