Wow: MSNBC Hits De Blasio on Incompetence, Missed Chance to 'Save Lives'

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Given how quickly and how aggressively journalists have moved to politicize the coronavirus and to blame Donald Trump, it was a bit of a shock on Friday to see Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist quiz Mayor Bll de Blasio (albeit gently) on his early incompetent handling of the virus crisis.

Working up to the question, Geist quoted to the New York City Democrat examples where he could have moved quicker: “Obviously, the set of facts we have today are a lot different than they were two months ago. But you tried to calm people on these morning interviews, where you would say, ‘I'm not going to close the schools. I'm not going to close the playgrounds. I think you can still go out and live your lives.’”

Geist demanded, “Knowing what you know now, do you wish you'd closed the schools a little bit earlier? Do you wish you'd closed the restaurants and bars a little bit earlier, just to stop the spread and maybe save some lives?

 

 

De Blasio responded by asserting, “I did my best.”

You know, Willie, we're all trying to make sense of something we've never dealt with before. Every single day. Look, this city, I gave the order to close the restaurants and bars.... There's always going to be questions about, you know, did we get all the information we needed? Did we act on it? I did my best. I think all decision-makers are doing their best.

Not specifically mentioned by Geist is when de Blasio went to the gym on March 15, despite the YMCA closing. In mid-March, he instructed New Yorkers: “If you love your neighborhood bar, go there now.” (For more examples, go here.)

Yet, pointing out these inconvenient facts aren’t a common thing. Earlier in the show, co-host Mika Brzezinski repeated a talking point that maybe Donald Trump should resign:

 

 

Jeffrey Goldberg, I'll throw this one at you. We had a former Obama official on the show yesterday, Seth Harris, who said the president should resign, that this is failed leadership that has put us in a catastrophic position.... I mean, the stupidity level on the highest levels of leadership in states is showing itself during this crisis. And you have the governor of Florida just shutting down the state late last night, just late last night, while we are considered to be in Florida, in Miami especially, to be the next hot spot, to have overrun hospitals and deaths, staggering numbers through the roof. The question is, how is that comment not true? What facts has this president put out during his nightly, weekly briefings that give us some sense of hope, that there is leadership from the top that is going to lead us out of this?

Goldberg dodged, “I'm not going to comment on whether President Trump should resign or not.”

Transcripts of the two moments can be found below. Click “expand” to read more.

Morning Joe

4/3/2020

6:02

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Jeffrey Goldberg, I'll throw this one at you. We had a former Obama official on the show yesterday, Seth Harris, who said the president should resign, that this is failed leadership that has put us in a catastrophic position. Pretty harsh statement. But I'll ask that you debunk that. We have a government that ordered up 100,000 body bags at this point. They won't streamline. The president will not streamline the DPA to focus on masks and ventilators getting directly to the people who need them. He's leaving it to the governors. You have California that's doing pretty well in leadership. Started early, and the numbers are going down. Then you have places like Georgia, where the governor just figured out this week that there are asymptomatic carriers.

I mean, the stupidity level on the highest levels of leadership in states is showing itself during this crisis. And you have the governor of Florida just shutting down the state late last night, just late last night, while we are considered to be in Florida, in Miami especially, to be the next hot spot, to have overrun hospitals and deaths, staggering numbers through the roof. The question is, how is that comment not true? What facts has this president put out during his nightly, weekly briefings that give us some sense of hope, that there is leadership from the top that is going to lead us out of this?

JEFFREY GOLDBERG (The Atlantic): Well, let me just be a glass half full kind of guy for a minute, uncharacteristically. And just say the following. It is true that the governor of Georgia doesn't have a deep science background. It is true that the governor of Florida has, it seems, been negligent in response. But there has been extraordinary leadership shown by governors across the country over the past couple of weeks especially. And that has come about, A, because many of them are very, very good at leadership and, B, it's come out because there's a vacuum. There's a vacuum of leadership. I'm not going to comment on whether President Trump should resign or not

WILLIE GEIST: We've had you on a bunch the last couple months, Mayor de Blasio, talking about this. You've been gracious to come on a bunch and update us and the country about the state of the problem. Obviously, the set of facts we have today are a lot different than they were two months ago. But you try to calm people on these morning interviews, where you'd say, “I'm not going to close the schools. I'm not going to close the playgrounds. I think you can still go out and live your lives.” Knowing what you know now, do you wish you'd closed the schools a little bit earlier? Do you wish you'd closed the restaurants and bars a little bit earlier, just to stop the spread and maybe save some lives?

BILL DE BLASIO: You know, Willie, we're all trying to make sense of something we've never dealt with before. Every single day. Look, this city, I gave the order to close the restaurants and bars. Obviously, that was -- we were one of the first places to do it. I called for shelter in place right after San Francisco did it. I give them great credit. Mayor Breed did something important there. I called for it immediately after. We were one of the first places in the country to do that. There's always going to be questions about, you know, did we get all the information we needed? Did we act on it? I did my best. I think all decision-makers are doing their best.

 

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