Bruni gets it right: In this morning's column, we think Frank Bruni gets it right about our nation's perilous situation.
You'll rarely hear it on cable news, where they're blindly in love with The Chase. But Bruni lays it out nice and clear:
Donald J. Trump is dangerous:
BRUNI (4/11/18): We haven’t been in a safe space since Nov. 8, 2016, but we’re in especially dangerous territory now. President Trump seems closer than ever to decisions that could plunge the country into crisis. And there’s nothing in his bearing or behavior to suggest that he cares all that much about sparing America that chaos and pain."There is no Hope Hicks anymore?" The sheer insanity of our situation lurks in that plaintive remark.
There is no Hope Hicks anymore, no Rob Porter, no Gary Cohn, no H. R. McMaster: The ranks of people who either gave Trump a sense of comfort and stability or sought to steer him away from his most destructive impulses have thinned. He’s more alone than ever. He must be more frightened, too.
But not half as scared as the rest of us should be.
Over Here, in the liberal world, our bench is so empty that we're forced to place our hopes in a money-grubbing adult film star and her transparently ludicrous lawyer, and in our undignified hope that the high school kids from Florida will be able to bail us out. (More on our fear of the rebooted "Roseanne" to come.)
Over There, in the Oval Office, the lid was allegedly being kept on by the ministrations of a 28-year-old former model. The sheer absurdity of all this represents what's left of our culture.
Our one complaint about Bruni's column? We think he protests too little! We'll guess he may have chosen not to say what his column is really about.
If Trump's situation collapses around him, who can guarantee that he won't turn to aggressive, even deranged, military adventures? Who's to say that he might not turn to those nuclear bombs?
In today's most exciting news report, we're told that Trump wanted to fire Mueller in December. According to the exciting report, Trump's aides had decided, by that time, that they didn't have to act on an order from Trump until it had been given at least three times.
We'd better hope that someone around Trump, with Hicks now gone, has devised a similar plan if he the embattled, erratic commander in chief decides to make the missiles fly. When it comes to a matter like that, does anyone even have the means to make him give the command three times?
It amazes us to see so little of this concern when we watch cable news at night. The children are full-tilt cavorting; they're thrilled.
We think Bruni got it right.
Concerning that December episode: In the aforementioned news report, we were struck by this remarkable passage about Trump's pique in December:
HABERMAN AND SCHMIDT (4/11/18): The articles that provoked Mr. Trump’s anger in December—which were published by Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters—said one of Mr. Mueller’s subpoenas had targeted Mr. Trump’s and his family’s banking records at Deutsche Bank. Mr. Trump’s lawyers, who have studied Mr. Trump’s bank accounts, did not believe the articles were accurate because Mr. Trump did not have his money there.Oof! Back in December, Trump's anger at Mueller had been triggered by inaccurate news reports. When the inaccurate reports were "clarified," Donald J. Trump calmed down.
The lawyers were also able to learn that federal prosecutors in a different inquiry had issued a subpoena for entities connected to the family business of Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The news outlets later clarified the articles, saying that the subpoena to Deutsche Bank pertained to people affiliated with Mr. Trump, who was satisfied with the explanation and dropped his push to fire Mr. Mueller.
(Use of the tern "clarified" is a form of professional courtesy. You'll note from that passage that the reports by those major news orgs were wrong in two different ways.)
This morning, we went back to look at the relevant Maddow Show transcripts during that period.
Were Maddow viewers excitedly told about those erroneous news reports? When the erroneous reports were quickly corrected, were viewers told about that? Or did a cable star keep suggesting that the complaints from Trump aides had been wrong?
Perhaps you can guess what we found!
Cable news is partisan entertainment, and Maddow just isn't obsessively honest. Concerning that very key second point, we've been telling you that for years.