On Saturday, journalism expert Brian Rosenwald told CNN’s Michael Smerconish that the real seeds of Trumpism were planted decades before Trump took office — in right-wing talk radio.
“You said it was not the ride down the escalator, but actually August 1, 1980,” said Smerconish. “How come?”
“That’s the day that Rush Limbaugh takes to the radio,” said Rosenwald. “And people tune in, what they hear every day is calls for action. It doesn’t make for good radio to say, hey, nuance, compromise, that stuff is boring. But fighting, that’s good radio. And Donald Trump captured that.”
Limbaugh, Rosenwald said, “was simply giving voice to the bedrock conservative sentiments that he had grown up with or that his audience had. That doesn’t mean he didn’t shine the spotlight on issues that his audience might have obviously heard. It didn’t mean that he didn’t shape expectations for what it was for Republicans. But it wasn’t like he was a puppet master who directed his audience to believe things. His audience already believed them.”
“There’s this mindset out there … that the whole landscape was controlled by those eager to spread wisdom or ideology,” said Smerconish. “What was the motivation.”
“The motivation was to charge advertising rates which is how can we make the most money,” said Rosenwald. “What’s the best, most engaging show that we can put on every single day? And that didn’t always work with what Republicans wanted to do. At times, Republicans would say, hey, this is the best deal we can cut. And talk radio would say, no, stand up and fight for us. Fight for our values. They’re rolling over again. For the mainstream media, the Democrats, that’s all they do, they just roll over. And that’s the sentiment that helps give us Donald Trump.”
“They were frustrated by both Bushes. They were frustrated by John Boehner and Paul Ryan,” said Rosenwald. “These guys made promises and they got to the campaign trail and they didn’t actually deliver. The reason they didn’t deliver, the whole country wasn’t with them. We have a lot of checkpoints and veto points in our government. But that’s not what the folks heard on the airwaves. They heard frustration. They heard anger. They were afraid, hosts were saying, just to pick one issue, immigration, they were saying this is going to destroy the fabric of America. And the end result was they were looking for someone like Donald Trump. Someone who sounded like their favorite host. Someone who the most important thing was punching back against the liberal elite. Not just people on television, but in the democratic parties. And Donald Trump gave them that.”
Trump’s ‘adolescent’ letter to Turkey stuns ex-White House adviser: ‘It is unprecedented’
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," David Gergen, a former White House adviser to four presidents, was astonished by President Donald Trump's letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an warning him "don't be a fool."
"I don't want to laugh about it because it's — this is a letter that was actually sent, at least, he says it was," said host Erin Burnett. "Have you ever seen anything like this?"
"Well, Erin, many presidents write tough letters, nasty letters, angry letters, frustrated letters. The normal presidents then put them in a jar in a file called 'burn before sending,'" said Gergen. "This had such an adolescent quality to it when I read it, I immediately called my researcher, and I said, see if this is fake."
Democratic senator burns Trump’s ‘belligerent’ behavior: ‘Something I have never seen in my 27 years in Congress’
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) laid into President Donald Trump's behavior during his Syria meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
"You were there, you were inside the White House for that meeting," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "What unfolded exactly?"
"Well, the president came in and he was in a belligerent state from the beginning," said Menendez. "He smacked down a whole bunch of papers on the table and said, you all asked for this meeting, I reluctantly agreed to it. No one had asked for the meeting. Speaker Pelosi said, Mr. President, we didn't ask for a meeting, we asked for a briefing to understand the consequences of your actions. He said, Well, then let's end the meeting. She said, while I'm here, it's my duty as the speaker to tell you that the House has just passed, I think 362, I forget exactly the number, a resolution opposing your decision and calling upon a strategy for ISIS. He just went on and said that's a political hit job and it went downwards from there."
‘Ignorance at the highest level’: Intel Democrat slams Trump for bizarre letter to Turkish president
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, ripped President Donald Trump for his juvenile letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.
"The White House just released the text of the less letter that the president sent to Erdo?an of Turkey, among other things, saying in the aftermath of the earlier decision by the U.S. to pull out troops, saying 'Don't be a tough guy, don't be a fool,'" said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "What is your reaction to that?"
"You know, I'll be honest, I saw this online first. I got a copy of the letter," said Quigley. "I actually thought it was a prank, a joke. It couldn't possibly come from the Oval Office. It sounded all of the world like the president of the United States, in some sort of momentary lapse, just dictated angrily whatever was on the top of his head. These are extraordinarily serious issues. And an extraordinarily dangerous part of the world."