There were plenty of reasonable responses to President Donald Trump’s summit and subsequent news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki Monday. For the record, this writer gets what he was trying to accomplish — tell reporters who insisted on pressing the hacking indictment question, “Look, what do you want me to do here? And what will it accomplish?” — but it definitely wasn’t the finest moment of his presidency.
Either way, as I said, plenty of reasonable responses are available from either side of the aisle. Not one of them? Comparing it to Pearl Harbor or the most infamous pogrom against Jewish people in Nazi Germany.
That wonderful reaction to the new conference came from a contributor on MSNBC, a channel soon to be renamed “The Collusion Network” or “Stormy Center” (NBC bosses are likely still deciding which to go with).
Jill Wine-Banks, a former Watergate prosecutor and contributor for MSNBC, is an individual who has no sense of proportion. Appearing with Ali Velshi on “All In,” she said that Russia’s election interference was equivalent to the worst attacks in our nation’s history, and the news conference was even worse.
Wine-Banks began by noting that in the Watergate case, the burglars were Americans.
“And yet, we were burglarized this time by foreign agents. And it’s just as serious to me as the Cuban Missile Crisis, in terms of an attack, or the 9/11 attack.”
“His performance today will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht.”
– Fmr. Watergate Prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks on Trump’s comments at the Helsinki summit pic.twitter.com/pp5YuNw1pi
— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) July 17, 2018
“The president is taking the side of the people who attacked us instead of trying to prevent a future attack,” she continued.
“He has done nothing to make sure that the elections four months away are going to be safe. And I would say that his performance today will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht. And it’s really a serious issue that we need to deal with.”
There were plenty of people blowing what happened Monday out of proportion, but I think that Wine-Banks’ reaction has to take the febrility prize.
First, there’s the obvious — this individual wants us to believe that the death of 2,403 Americans in the first attack against Americans in World War II or the 1938 pogrom in Germany in which Jewish businesses were burned and 30,000 Jewish men and boys were arrested and transferred to concentration camps by Nazi officials is actually comparable to a news conference. This is a woeful lack of perspective and proportion, indicative of someone who shouldn’t be asked serious questions on national televison.
Second, without reducing the gravity of election interference, it isn’t, again, comparable to a crisis that nearly ended in nuclear war or a terrorist attack that killed 3,000 individuals.
And there’s an array of other incorrect or ridiculous things in Wine-Banks’ statement. One does not need to automatically deduce that Trump “is taking the side of the people who attacked us” if you didn’t think like his performance on Monday.
Oh, and as for doing nothing about election security when it comes to the midterms, the president signed a bill that allocated $380 million for election security back in March, so that’s also untrue (in case you were surprised).
All in all, however, this was simply indicative of how overheated media coverage was. In fairness, few had the gall to compare Russian hacking to 9/11, or a presidential news conference to the bloodshed of Pearl Harbor. But mostly, the responses were indicative of a media that was looking to seize upon a moment — any moment — they could when criticizing Trump.
The media’s problem is that this has happened so often by now that it’s mostly without effect. We’ve seen so many moments that the media has vouchsafed to America are so important and so damaging to Trump that we can divide his presidency into before X/after X — the Comey firing, the Cohen raid, Charlottesville, etc. None of them have turned out to be as important as we were told.
No, I wasn’t impressed by Monday. However, this wasn’t the worst summit we’ve had with the Russians — Vienna in 1961 still takes that prize, for my money — and it certainly wasn’t Pearl Harbor.
If this is the kind of contributor that MSNBC is willing to countenance, even trumpet, viewers can only roll their eyes at every other claim that comes out of the network.
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