Rachel Maddow was not going to allow yet another Trump apologist to go unanswered. She pushed back hard when Hugh Hewitt attempted to spin that Trump cowardly tried to blame his generals for the death of Navy Seals William Owens.
Rachel Maddow shows how one pushes back on a Trump apologist
Hugh Hewitt did not expect the type of pushback that Rachel Maddow gave him using Trump's own words. She made him justifiably uncomfortable.
"I have to respectfully disagree," Hugh Hewit said. "When the president said that they lost Ryan, here is what I heard. The Seals did not bring back one of their own. They lost Ryan. They took a casualty. They being, our brave men and women in the military. Not, I am blaming my generals. And so this really goes to, how do you poster yourself listening to the commander in chief? I am sitting down with W on Thursday to talk about his book about the wounded warriors that he has been painting. They don't think about 'them' and 'they' not any president I have ever met. So I would leave it to [unintelligible] or some other Seal who is out there or former Seal to come up and speak to that. But when he said they lost Ryan, I don't think he was attributing blame to the generals. I think he was thinking about his comrades."
Rachel Maddow was having none of that speech reinterpretation nonsense.
"Hugh, his quote was," Rachel Maddow interjected. "'This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was, they just wanted to do it. My generals are the most respected, I believe. And they lost Ryan.' I mean, he was asked about his reaction to this loss in this raid and to the grief of this Seal's father who has spoken publicly about the fact that he didn't want to meet the president on that tarmac at Dover. He responded by saying, 'This was started before I got here.' as in 'This wasn't me. Don't put this on me.' That is what he said. I am not doing psycho-analysis."
Hewitt continued his Trump word salad reinterpretation and Trump psycho-analysis.
"It's interpretation," Hewitt said. "My generals mean, my generals reviewed and approved it. They are the best in the business. I have confidence in General Mattis and in Joe Dunford. They lost Ryan means the seals on the ground lost Ryan. So you might want to attribute to him the attempt to distance, but that's not what he has done. I read this story about the father. He is a grieving father. Gold Star fathers get to say whatever they want. I just admire Mrs. Owens for coming tonight. And I admire the president for asking her and saying to her we appreciate the sacrifice and to every member of the military out there. We know you are out there tonight. And this administration is going to be with you. We are going to give you what you need. And my generals will follow up on it. I heard it completely differently. And that is the divide in the country. People hear things differently. When he said they lost Ryan, I think that was a recognition that a band of brave warriors, the best that we've got, lost one of their own. And it is not something civilians can say we lost because we don't put it on the line the way they do."
If you have to explain one of the president's statements with several paragraphs, then you are losing the debate. Trump does not think through several levels of indirections as Hewitt would want America to believe. The Donald said exactly what he meant. It is the general's fault, not mine. It fits his profile.
Rachel's closer on the topic was great.
"Hugh, I hear you," Rachel responded. "We all hear the point you are making about the speech tonight. But in terms of what the president said about this raid, so far his comment about it is this wasn't me. This wasn't on me. And you can't get around on that by rounding up the emotional value of what you heard him say. Not if we actually have quotations from him. He is president now."