Try as she might to elicit negative commentary about President Trump, using the solemn occasion of Memorial Day as a setup, MSNBC’s Mike Brzezinski would be sorely disappointed with the outcome of her efforts.
“I want to ask you,” the Morning Joe co-host said in her pitch, “what your reflections are during this time in terms of our attitudes in America, our knowledge and our understanding of people who serve in the military, who serve multiple tours of duty, who have taken part in wars on behalf of this country, and also, are being deployed by this President by – let’s say maybe perhaps controversial means in terms of their deployments at the southern border for caravans that are coming in. It’s a convoluting time, is it not?”
With a set up like that, how can you not hit anti-Trump pay dirt?
But Brzezinski’s mark, journalist and contributor Mike Barnicle, was more focused on what Memorial Day is truly all about, the brave men and women who sacrificed everything, to include their lives, in service to their country.
“Because of my age, my background, my family history, there’s a certain sadness with me about Memorial Day,” Barnicle replied, side-stepping the focus on Trump. “Because you think of the word ‘memorial and part of that word incorporates memory.”
He said that while smart phones and social media are “incredible” things, they’ve “caused a loss of memory in America.”
Barnicle added: “Memorial Day used to be a time that was not just the start of summer, it was the time when nearly everyone remembered the fallen because nearly everyone in this country had been touched by the fallen on the street where they lived, in the parish where they belonged, in the clubs that they joined, in just the people they knew.”
Though she came up empty, Brzezinski was not deterred from getting her pound of presidential flesh, turning to vet Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and long-time Trump critic.
“I’d love for you to reflect on what Mike Barnicle just said,” she said, before resetting the bait trap. “And also, given the work that you’ve done, how you’re feeling about the way the military, perhaps, is being used by this presidency? Does it really match their role in history?”
“Sadly, I think that’s right,” Rieckoff responded, as he nibbled at the bait.
But then he too went off in the same direction Barnicle traversed, focusing on the purpose of Memorial Day.
“Memorial Day still can be a time where we come together as a nation in this time when we’re so divided, even if we just take one minute on the moment of silence that’s observed at 3:00 local time everywhere in America. Just take one minute and reflect on someone that you know that has died or even if you don’t know someone who has died, someone that has died on your behalf to give you the opportunity to have a barbecue or go to the beach.”
He added that Memorial Day is “an opportunity for us to reinvigorate what patriotism means,” before commenting on the current authorization for the use of military force and “a time of forever war.”
Much to the angst of Brzezinski, who was well short of the pound of Trump’s flesh she was seeking.
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