On MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” on Wednesday, a reporter, a historian, a columnist and a former White House communication’s director analyzed the implicit condemnation of President Donald Trump at former President George H.W. Bush.
Host Nicolle Wallace has a long relationship with the Bush family. Prior to her career in broadcast journalism, Wallace served as communications director in the George W. Bush administration.
She quoted a story by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker.
“There was less of an overt sense of rebuke to Mr. Trump than at the funeral for Senator John McCain in September, where he was not invited, but the implicit contrasts between the former and current presidents were hard to miss,” Baker wrote. “Without directly saying so, the speakers pushed back against Mr. Trump’s mockery of the former president’s volunteerism slogan ‘a thousand points of light’ during campaign rallies this year.”
Speaking with Wallace, Baker reported how former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney praised the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in his eulogy.
“Both things that President Trump — sitting just ten feet away at that point — has questioned or criticized,” Baker noted.
“Michael Beschloss, where are we as a country when you cannot praise NATO allies and character without rebuking the current leader of our country?” Wallace asked the historian.
“Now it’s a political act,” Beschloss explained. “If someone says George H.W. Bush was modest, it’s a statement about Donald Trump — or taken to be.”
“I guarantee that Donald Trump — who is not exactly known for not seeing everything in his own terms — I’m sure he took those things as insults, rather than realizing that people were just saying what they were going to say,” he added.
“It’s such an interesting point you make, because there has not been an example since he emerged on the political stage of him being able to see anything as not about him,” Wallace replied. “This was not about him.”
“It really wasn’t about him — and you could completely ignore him,” argued Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson. “And all he could do was sit there and the rest of the program went on.”
“I thought it was very powerful and I thought he was irrelevant,” he added.