On her 9 a.m. ET hour show, MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle and her panel of political analysts all agreed that Donald Trump was just as dangerous, if not more so, that North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un. Ruhle began the segment by fretting: “President Trump, we started with ‘fire and fury,’ now ‘fully locked and loaded’… But we’re talking about the threat of nuclear war.” Former Obama State Department official and Time magazine editor Richard Stengel sneered: “You know, it’s disturbing. Apart from the fact that he seems to have borrowed the North Korean speechwriters, what’s disturbing is language like ‘locked and loaded’ is not diplomatic language… Trump using this bombastic language is that it can potentially cause a miscalculation, a mistake… we can have a terrible nuclear potential mistake.”
Ruhle then turned to “Republican interpreter” Robert Traynham to “dissect” Trump’s words. Traynham acknowledged that the President “believes the soft rhetoric, you know, these nuance statements, no disrespect to the State Department, has not worked. He’s got point there. He’s got a valid point.” However, he then compared Trump to the brutal North Korean leader: “You’re also dealing with a very emotional leader. When he’s offended, he’s offended… And so, that’s the dangerous thing here, is that you have two very emotional leaders, dare I say borderline irrational, and they both have their thumb on the nuclear button and that’s what’s really, really, really scary here.”
Ruhle eagerly seized on that characterization: “…in terms of upping the ante, two borderline irrational leaders, Kim Jong-un and President Trump, these are two gentlemen who are not afraid of a fight, neither who back down, both who insist on having the last word.” Turning to Slate’s Michael Pesca, she worried: “Given that, that is the two individuals we’re working with, where could this go?” Pesca actually argued that Kim Jong-un was more rational than Trump: “Well, first of all, I’d say Kim Jong-un is rational. He’s evil, he’s despotic, but nothing he’s done is not in his interest, in terms of pursuing nuclear.” Later in the exchange, he warned: “Donald Trump is talking about, ‘If these threats continue, you’re gonna get fire and fury.’ Unless he delivers the fire and fury, which I hope to God he doesn’t… I hate even saying this on TV, because if we convince him that he made a red line, he might act on the red line.”
Stengel implored: “There’s no action that can or should be taken by either side… And the idea that these guys are in a bargain and a kind of dare is a terrible situation… There’s a lot of negotiation and diplomacy that can happen here, rather than this threatening crazy language.” — The biased panel discussion was brought to viewers by GEICO, Office Depot, and Bird’s Eye.
NewsBusters: MSNBC Panel All Agree: Trump a ‘Borderline Irrational Leader’ Like Kim Jong-un