MSNBC guest: The fact that Trump ordered the flags lowered until August 8th will encourage neo-Nazis or something

MSNBC guest: The fact that Trump ordered the flags lowered until August 8th will encourage neo-Nazis or something

Via the Daily Caller, this guy isn’t any ol’ guest, he’s a former counterintelligence honcho at the FBI. So sleep tight tonight.

“The president said that we will fly our flags at half mast, until August 8th. That’s 8/8. Now, I’m not going to imply that he did this deliberately, but I am using it as an example of the ignorance of the adversary that’s being demonstrated by the White House,” he said.

“The numbers 88 are very significant in neo-Nazi and white supremacy movement. Why? Because the letter ‘H’ is the eighth letter of the alphabet, and to them the numbers 88 together Stand for ‘Heil Hitler.’ So we’re going to be raising the flag back up at dusk on 8/8,” he continued.

He’s not claiming that Trump chose August 8th to raise the flag intending to pay tribute to Hitler but he is saying that white nationalists will interpret it that way and that Trump and his staff should have anticipated that. And so they should have done … what? Ordered the flags raised on the 7th? Because then neo-Nazis might have said, “He wanted the flag flying proudly on the morning of 8/8, to celebrate Hitler!”

Or should he have ordered them raised on August 9th? Because then they could have said, “He insisted that the flag remain at half-mast throughout 8/8, to honor the Fuhrer’s memory.”

Likewise for the bit here about the pronouns used in Trump’s speech Monday condemning the attacks in El Paso and Dayton. Trump used “we” repeatedly as a rhetorical gesture towards unity; if he had used “I” instead, this guy would be on MSNBC criticizing him for not doing more to communicate that Americans are a unified people.

You can’t win here. And it’s especially silly to worry about neo-Nazis being dissuaded by Trump’s criticism given that he’s issued perfunctory denunciations before and that hasn’t stopped them. If worse comes to worst, a white nationalist who wants to believe that a mainstream politician is on his side will dismiss a denunciation of the movement by that pol out of hand, claiming that the pol “had to” say that to remain in the media’s good graces. And in Trump’s case, any harsh condemnation would be complicated by his “very fine people on both sides” yammering after the Charlottesville episode. A neo-Nazi who wants to take encouragement from him will just tune out the negative cues and focus on the positive ones, like the stuff about an “invasion” across the southern border.

Anyway, you don’t see numerology used to explain politics on cable news every day, do you? Ed texted me the link to this clip earlier with a note reading, “MSNBC has gone completely batsh*t crazy,” which is putting it mildly: Within the last 24 hours they’ve aired this, had “Morning Joe” go defend Joaquin Castro’s Trump-donor hit list, and saw Nicolle Wallace accuse Trump of wanting to exterminate Latinos. I think it’s a combination of grief over the shootings and a post-Mueller hangover that’s making them nutty. There’s a certain quotient of hysteria that MSNBC’s Trump coverage requires and Russiagate just isn’t supplying it anymore. White nationalism is the new topic du jour. Et voila.

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