On the Wednesday edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the panel went into full-on panic and hysteria mode as a result of President Trump deciding to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Co-host Mika Brzezinski alleged that President Trump "doesn't have a moral compass" and said that "the President’s sanity is being questioned globally.” She also implied that President Trump pulled out of the Iran deal to “deflect” from the Stormy Daniels saga.
The panel, consisting of Former US Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, BBC World News America host Katty Kay, and Council of Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, unanimously disagreed with the President’s decision to leave the deal.
Burns asserted that “[w]e’re certainly worse off outside the deal than inside the deal,” adding that the Revolutionary Guard, a group of hardliners in Iran, will argue that “Iran should come out of the deal and restart its nuclear program so this is not a good day for the United States.”
Brzezinski agreed adding: “Our allies are upset, for sure, at a time when I think the President’s sanity is being questioned globally.” She acknowledged that the President promised during the campaign that he would leave the deal but attributed his decision to pull out to sinister motives:
But the totality of this President’s behavior and decisions does lead me to question why he does anything and whether or not it’s to deflect from something else. I don’t think he has the moral compass to make a decision based on our own national security, even at this point.
Kay then pointed out that high-ranking Trump officials told British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that the primary reason for pulling out of the deal was to keep a campaign promise.
Burns then lamented the fact that the President has also pulled out of the Paris climate change agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying “there’s a pattern here.” Burns suggested that the President has not acted in the United States’ best interest: “American interests dictate putting Iran in a straitjacket on the nuclear issue and we’ve given up that interest.”
After Haas argued that the National Security Council has no coherent strategy, Scarborough proclaimed that “the entire chessboard of the Middle East” was “being thrown up in the air with the Embassy in Israel being moved to Jerusalem.” He then asked Burns if he could “remember a time where so many things were coming at an American President, even one with a fully functioning National Security Council.”
Burns contrasted President Trump with former President George H.W. Bush, whom he worked for. He described Bush as someone “who wasn’t guilty of hubris, who actually studied these issues.” He then implied that the only reason President Trump made his decision was to dismantle a piece of President Obama’s legacy without knowing anything about the deal: “He doesn’t study. He probably doesn’t even know what’s in President Obama’s Iran deal. He just knows that Obama’s name was on it.”
The media will continue to peddle the narrative of President Trump as an erratic, impulsive isolationist nativist who has no idea what he is doing. The media shows no sign of changing their tune even after it looks like President Trump may find himself on the verge of an accomplishment previous Presidents could only dream of: denuclearizing the rogue regime of North Korea.
NICHOLAS BURNS: The President had a challenge yesterday. He had to convince the American people we’re going to be better off outside the deal than inside the deal. He didn’t make that case and you see the reaction this morning from Europe. The Europeans are worried about secondary American sanctions. So already, the new United States ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell, has publicly warned German companies, they need to begin withdrawing their business operations in Iran. That’s not going to happen, the Europeans are going to fight the United States against on this issue of U.S. sanctions against European countries so we’ve got estranged allies. We don’t have a plan to put Iran back into a straitjacket. The president has torn down the deal, at least American participation in it, but he’s not told us how he's going to constrain Iran’s nuclear program. So he didn't make a convincing case yesterday. We’re certainly worse off outside the deal than inside the deal. And the Iranians will have to decide what they’re going to do. You saw this announcement by Rouhani, the President this morning, that they’re going to stay in for now. But the hardliners in Iran, the Revolutionary Guard will make the argument, Iran should come out of the deal and restart its nuclear program so this is not a good day for the United States.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: No. And Katty Kay, I’ll second that and go to you and you can take it to Nick or Richard but this does draw us more into, this does draw us more into the Middle East. Our allies are upset, for sure, at a time when I think the President’s sanity is being questioned globally. It was a campaign promise, it does appeal possibly to his base. But the totality of this President’s behavior and decisions does lead me to question why he does anything and whether or not it’s to deflect from something else. I don’t think he has the moral compass to make a decision based on our own national security, even at this point.
KATTY KAY: It’s interesting, Mika, when Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary was here this weekend he met with Mike Pence, he met with Mike Pompeo, he met with John Bolton. He asked all three of them, “What is going to happen the day after you rip up the Iran deal and you pull out of it?” He couldn’t get an answer. The other question he asked them is “how is the world worse off than it would be with this deal?” And he couldn't get an answer with that either. The only answer that he ever got was this was a campaign promise, it was something that he promised he was going to do and it’s a very bad deal. If there was a plan B here, if it was clear that America had decided, the White House had decided to rip up this deal and had a plan of action, that would be one thing but I was speaking to Israeli officials yesterday. And it was very clear that even they think now the ball is in Iran’s court. Well that’s a precarious position for us to be in, when this is now effectively up to Iran to decide what happens going forward. And I think, Nick, I’m not sure what you would think about this, but while there may be a short-term impetus for the Iranians to sit there and watch divisions quite happily between the United States and their European allies, in the long-term, as you’re suggesting, that’s not a viable option for hardliners in Iran. They’re going to have to, it seem to me, start those centrifuges again.
BURNS: Well it’s going to be a battle, Katty, no question about it, inside the Iranian government. And right now, the hardliners are in the ascendency because they’ll make the argument that Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif were taken in by the United States and the United States has not kept its word. So I think you’ve got to watch that but you know there’s a pattern here. The President pulled us out of the climate change agreement with no alternative. He pulled us out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, no alternative. He’s now pulled us out of Iraq. There is no Plan B from the Trump administration. So we’re left weaker, Iran is left stronger and you know, to argue that somehow Iranian actions in the Middle East are the reason for this deal, we can oppose Iran in the Middle East through our relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia, but American interests dictate putting Iran in a straitjacket on the nuclear issue and we’ve given up that interest.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So Richard Haas, right now, many would suggest, many would believe looking at this situation in Iran, that they are already economically in a straitjacket. They’re going to be facing even tougher sanctions from the United States. They have of course, and have had off and on since 2009, political unrest. And Donald Trump seems to be giving the Iranians the same choice that he’s giving the North Koreans, at least from his point of view. You can have a nuclear program or you can have a thriving economy. But the United States of America is going to do everything in its power to stop you from having both. And if that means we have to squeeze our allies across Europe and the world, we will do that. But a nuclear Iran is not an option. Do you want to live peacefully with us? Or do you want to develop a nuclear weapon? That seems to be his calculus, what’s wrong with that?
RICHARD HAASS: Well, it’s wrong on two ends, Joe, the two fundamental arguments.
One is the nuclear agreement that we had, at least until yesterday, constrained Iran for the foreseeable future, at a minimum for another decade and quite possibly longer. Second of all, Iran’s economy, I hate to be one to be the harbinger of bad news for some, is not on the brink. Economic growth is at greater than four percent. Oil output is far higher than it was before the sanctions a half dozen or so years ago. Yes, inflation is running somewhat high. But the idea that Iran is on the brink and if only we squeezed them, this is going to force fundamental changes in policy or even in the dreams of some, regime change, is simply not, is, is not going to happen. Plus, the principle way to pressure Iran is going to be through the countries that deal with it. That means a trade war with Europe, I thought we already had enough of that. Plus who is the biggest importers of Iranian oil? One of them happens to be India. That’s one of the countries the United States is trying to build a strategic partnership. The other one is China. Last I checked, we’ve already got quite a few things going on with China, including dealing with North Korea. What this, this is why you have a National Security Council. The whole idea is to take the various pieces and put them together, and come up with a coherent strategy giving everything that’s going on locally, and giving everything that’s going on, on all the, if you will, the chess board pieces around the world. And I see none of that being done here.
SCARBOROUGH: Ambassador Burns, let me ask you about all the incoming that a National Security Adviser with a fully formed National Security Team would be dealing with right now if it were functional. And it is not. You have of course, the Iran deal being torn up. You have the Secretary of State right now, in North Korea, talking about an upcoming summit. You talked about a cosmic gamble, yet another nuclear deal with North Korea. And then you have the entire chessboard of the Middle East being thrown up in the air with the embassy in Israel being moved to Jerusalem. Can you remember a time where so many things were coming at an American President, even one with a fully functioning National Security Council?
BURNS: Well I remember a time when Richard and I both served on the President George H.W. Bush’s NSC staff back at the end of the Cold War and he had his hands full with multiple challenges but he had a National Security Adviser who was trusted and credible in Washington. And we had a Secretary of State who was one of the great American diplomats, James A. Baker III. And the President who was fully engaged, who had a sense of strategy, a sense of our own limits, as well as our powers. Who wasn't guilty of hubris, who actually studied these issues. So we got through the end of the cold war because of the brilliant leadership of President George H.W. Bush, and a, and a well-functioning NSC staff and a great Secretary of State. We don't have that right now in President Trump. He doesn't study. He probably doesn’t even know what’s in President Obama’s Iran deal. He just knows that Obama’s name was on it. And it’s not clear right now if that team has coalesced, Jim Mattis, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, I think it’s, it’s a team of factions and it doesn’t seem that they agree on some of the major strands of this policy either towards Iran or North Korea.