MSNBC panelist pounds Trump as a 'junior player' in authoritarian bloc with Russia and the Philippines
New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg. Image via screengrab.

While discussing Kellyanne Conway's bizarre suggestion that media are too "obsessed with the president," MSNBC panelists got into a heated back-and-forth about whether Donald Trump can be considered "the leader of the free world."

After Real Clear Politics' Caitlin Huey-Burns pointed out that it's normal for members of the media to focus their attention on "the leader of the free world," a discussion ensued between MSNBC panelists as to whether Trump can be referenced as such.

"Oh, no, he's not," New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg said. "He's not the leader of the free world."

Commentary editor and former presidential speechwriter John Podhoretz chimed in, noting that he is only "by default."

"If he's not the leader of the free world," he said, "there isn't a leader of the free world,"

"He's a sort of junior player in a bloc of authoritarian countries," Goldberg argued.

Host Katy Tur noted that "people in the European Union are no longer looking at him as a leader" — and the columnist agreed.

"Of course not," she said. "He's part of a bloc that includes Vladimir Putin, [Filipino President Rodrigo] Duterte, he's part of a kind of an axis of power."

Goldberg's co-panelists disagreed with her characterization of Trump's alliance with "strongmen" dictators — and the panel dissolved into argument.

Watch below, via MSNBC: