The outrage and anger coming from MSNBC continued on Tuesday as analyst and columnist Bret Stephens appeared to say that the Know-Nothing Party of the 1850s is finally in power at the White House. The New York Times columnist suggested comparing the Trump administration to the Nazis was too far. However, he countered with this: “But what we now have is, for the first time an administration in power that represents the same politics that we rejected in the 1850s with the Know-Nothing movement.”
The topic of discussion was the Trump administration’s separating of illegal immigrants from their children as they cross the border. Referring the 19th century anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant party, Stephens added: “Finally, these people have come into power.”
According to Stephens, the administration is simply relying on idiots so they can “paint anecdote as data because they are relying on the stupidity of low bigotries to make this particular argument.” While Stephens may not like to go quite so far and compare Trump to Nazis, in January he linked the President to Venezuelan dictator like Hugo Chavez.
MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle teed up the conversation by playing a clip of Attorney General Jeff Sessions condemning Nazi comparisons. Rule derided: “I want to play what Attorney General Jeff Sessions last night specifically about how his policy is being compared to Nazi, Germany. That's where we are, Nazi, Germany.” The reason we are “there” is because of irresponsible journalists thowing around grossly inappropriate historical comparisons.
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more:
STEPHANIE RUHLE: So I want to play what Attorney General Jeff Sessions last night specifically about how his policy is being compared to Nazi, Germany. That's where we are, Nazi, Germany.
[Clip of Stephanie Ruhle.]
BRET STEPHENS: Look, you don't have to reach for analogies to the Nazis to find the policy of the Trump administration just absolutely despicable and deplorable. By the way, I think it's important to mention, this picks up on what Maria was saying, we do have an immigration crisis in this country. We don't have enough immigrants. We have a problem with population growth. Notice, we have 3.8 percent unemployment. When supposedly we are being inundated with these immigrants. Immigrants who, in almost every walk of life, contribute to the strength of communities, to the strength of local economies and so on. And of course, the Trump administration and its demagogic mode is always going to be able to find an immigrant who becomes a criminal or a thief or so on. And paint anecdote as data because they are relying on the stupidity of low bigotries to make this particular argument. But the United States is defined as a country of immigrants who come from bad places and make this place so much better.
STEPHANIE RUHLE: Then, Bret, to your exact point. Take your heart strings and put them aside. Put the humanitarian cris behind you. Who does this policy serve? When the pPesident says the jobs picture in this country is great, we're at full employment, how can he, at the same time, say that these immigrants are stealing all of our jobs? And when you look at these detention centers, if Laura Ingraham is saying that they're summer camps and they're wonderful, if we have all this money to spend on these wonderful summer camps but we don't want these immigrants here, imagine if we put that money to forgotten Americans who want better lives, who want better schools. It doesn't make sense. But by mistreating these people coming in the country, doesn't mean you're going to give a better opportunity to a forgotten American who thinks he lost his job.
STEPHENS: No, I mean, of course, it's precisely about zero sum thinking that's at the heart of so much of what's wrong with the Trump administration. You know, I think it's really essential here to focus on the fact that this is not really an economic question. What the Trump people are doing, the base to which they are playing is focused on cultural anxiety, cultural anger and cultural prejudices. The constant treatment of people from Latin America as a collection of rapists, potential terrorists, threats to the country's, liability to the United States And those are simply not the people who are coming into this country. Are there MS-13 people? Yes, of course. Are there gang members, are there drug dealers? Of course there are. That has been true in the story of immigration in this country from time and memorial.
From the Irish and the Jews, every immigrant community brings problems with it. But what we now have is for the first time an administration in power that represents the same politics that we rejected in the 1850s with the Know-Nothing movement at the turn of the century, with the anti-immigration forces then. Finally, these people have come into power and we should say it's not an economic issue, it's a cultural issue and it's a bigotry issue.