Sarah Kendzior explained to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” why President Donald Trump had exploited institutional weaknesses to set up a corrupt authoritarian government.
The journalist appeared Thursday morning to promote her new book of essays, “The View From Flyover Country,” which collects her observations on how the recession ravaged communities and undermined civic institutions.
“I think those structural conditions set the template for Trump,” Kendzior said. “I also have a PhD in anthropology, where I study authoritarian regimes, especially kleptocracies like Uzbekistan, where the president uses his position to enhance personal wealth.”
She then made what could be seen as a subtle jab at co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who frequently allowed Trump to call in phone interviews during the early days of his presidential campaign.
“Kind of combine all of that in an infotainment complex where the media was boosting Trump for ratings, trying to use that to enhance their own wealth, you end up with a situation that’s both bad but predictable,” Kendzior said.
Brzezinski agreed, saying that Kendzior had “nailed it,” and Scarborough asked her to describe how economic inequality and access to education had contributed to Trump’s victory.
“That’s been going on for a long time,” Kendzior said. “You’ve seen opportunity hoarding by elites, you see a pay to play system where people are expected to do unpaid labor, get expensive degrees and they’re locked out of the most powerful industries. You see industries like politics or media, with people who aren’t particularly talented or qualified, but have the connections and the network and the wealth in order to get their way in, and that leads to a really damaged discourse for the American public.”
Scarborough agreed that institutional breakdowns contributed to Trump’s election win, and Kendzior said the media should be held accountable.
“That doesn’t completely explain or certainly excuse his rise,” Kendzior said. “I think when somebody like Trump launches his campaign on hatred, when he launches it on targeting Mexicans on day one and going on to denigrate these groups, going on to lie, going on to embrace explicitly corrupt policies, people have an obligation to speak out. The media does, the GOP does. We still have that obligation today.”
Brzezinski said she and her co-host had a special insight into Trump’s rise, although she didn’t seem to accept any blame for giving the long-shot candidate a platform.
“When you look at — especially with your expertise, but also this book, we understand — Joe and I, we understand on this set how he was elected, why he was elected, even thought he could be elected, which people didn’t understand,” Brzezinski said.
Kendzior, however, hadn’t forgotten the free airtime the MSNBC hosts gave Trump before turning on him.
“Sure you do,” Kendzior said.
Fox News commentator Sean Hannity appears to be knee-deep in Trump’s Ukraine scandal — despite his denials
Fox News host Sean Hannity raved that he never spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about ousted Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch after a third witness confirmed the alleged call to impeachment investigators.
David Hale, the undersecretary of State for political affairs, testified under oath that Yovanovitch was the victim of a baseless smear campaign led by Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney of President Donald Trump, which led to her ouster. According to a transcript of the closed-door deposition released Monday, the smears originally stemmed from the conservative columnist John Solomon, who wrote in The Hill that former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko had claimed that Yovanovitch gave him a “do not prosecute list.” Lutsenko later retracted that claim.
Will Sondland turn on Trump? Watch live coverage of Day 4 of the Trump impeachment hearings
On Wednesday the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold its fourth public impeachment hearing looking into allegations that President Donald Trump abused his office by attempting to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing an investigation that would benefit the president politically in return for releasing $400 million in much-needed security aid.
A historian explains why Robert E. Lee wasn’t a hero — he was a traitor
There’s a fabled moment from the Battle of Fredericksburg, a gruesome Civil War battle that extinguished several thousand lives, when the commander of a rebel army looked down upon the carnage and said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” That commander, of course, was Robert Lee.
The moment is the stuff of legend. It captures Lee’s humility (he won the battle), compassion, and thoughtfulness. It casts Lee as a reluctant leader who had no choice but to serve his people, and who might have had second thoughts about doing so given the conflict’s tremendous amount of violence and bloodshed. The quote, however, is misleading. Lee was no hero. He was neither noble nor wise. Lee was a traitor who killed United States soldiers, fought for human enslavement, vastly increased the bloodshed of the Civil War, and made embarrassing tactical mistakes.