The QAnon Questions

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S1: The following program may contain explicit language and. It’s Thursday, September 10th, 2012, from Slate’s The Gist, I’m Mike Pesca. Donald Trump’s been a bragin. In Bob Woodward’s new book, Woodward for a title didn’t go with Sage or to deeply engage with rage. One of the Braggs was this. We have stuff you haven’t seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Gee have never heard about before. There is nobody. What we have is incredible. What is this stuff? What is this thing? I will tell you, quote, I have built a nuclear a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before.

S2: I just fixated on the fact that he was saying nobody in America has ever had a nuclear weapon system before. And that’s a brag. Who else besides say, I don’t know, the president of the United States was to have a nuclear weapon system. I bet he’s a little jealous of Elon Musk, but I didn’t think that Trump would suspect that Elon would have a Tesla Amex, you know, missile reference. It’s kind of shocking that a guy who’s that proud of his weapon system and also proud that G and Putin don’t know about it would be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But he was. Can you believe it? I can, because he was by the same Norwegian legislator a couple of years ago, every year or two or three hundred people. And last year it was 318 people get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, of which there is actually no criteria for nomination, just, you know, be peaceable. Now, the Nobel Prize does not reveal the Nobel Committee doesn’t reveal who these people are for 50 years. They want to keep that under wraps. But that means, out of curiosity, I wondered who was who were they nominating in 1970 or 1969? Well, I don’t know. The system is a little glitchy. So the first year they have listed nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize was 1967. And they have some, you know, peaceful monks and priests and people against Vietnam. But about five or six nominators put forward the World Esperanto Association or in Esperanto, universally Esperanto. It really is like just fake Spanish. You remember you remember Esperanto, the international language. What? I thought that was love. No, it’s Esperanto. But in the 60s and 70s, people loved Esperanto. It was going to be the next big thing. But then Esperanto and the widespread advocacy of Esperanto, even on an international basis, died out. Perhaps it was because William Shatner did that movie in Esperanto. Few can survive. Oh, William Shatner line reading. But let us just note that Donald Trump is now in the same exalted company as the World Esperanto Association sorry, UNIVERSALISE Esperanto associate on the show today, I spiel about not that one Woodward brag, but another brag. This one’s not about nukes. It’s about how Trump carefully calibrated his strategy so as not to cause fear to happen to be the name of Woodward’s last book about Trump. But first, Kuhnen is just stupid enough to be dangerous. The broad belief system. It’s a sprawling puzzle to some, but it often spills into real life violence and real life believers are poised to be elected to Congress. So I wanted to talk to someone who studies Kuhnen as one might study any other radical organization that utilizes the Internet to draw in followers. I found the perfect person. Joining me next is Clint Watts, former FBI agent, national security analyst, MSNBC contributor, author of Messing with the Enemy, Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News. And we’ll talk about Q and on the Q.

S3: Q and on doesn’t stand for Quazi ideology, but it could. Kuhnen is a deluded, a morphic ever-changing set of ideas that has infected and not insignificant percentage of the American mind. Some adherents to this way of thinking are dangerous and some are about to be elected to Congress. The beliefs aren’t solid, but usually have. The strain of Democrats are running a cannibalistic sex cult and trafficking children. Donald Trump is a hero who could stop it and repeatedly send signals to that effect. Clint Watts for years worked in the FBI in counterterrorism. He is the author of the book Messing with the Enemy Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News. And he joins me now. Hello, Clint.

S4: Hello, Mike. How are you? Good. Good to be back on.

S3: Yeah. Except why do we have you on? Because things are going well. No, because a new threat develops in our matrix. So if you were writing that book now, Kuhnen would have to be somewhere in the if not mentioned, at least referenced in the subtitle for sure.

S4: You know, it’s interesting. I think it was probably right about the time the book came out. Cuno was really gaining steam and I was on at MSNBC and probably would talk to you about it. It was like, this is what I’m going to be more worried about over time, which is the idea that people can connect around any idea they choose and build it into a juggernaut. And that’s really what’s happened over the last three years. It’s pretty remarkable. It’s become its own belief system in a way for other people. It’s entertainment. You know, for some it’s a conspiracy, but it’s remarkable how it’s really overtaken an entire body of people and grown to where you see and this is always like when we’re talking about social media influence, when do you know it’s like for real? It’s when you see it enter the physical world when there’s, like, physical manifestations of it. Boogaloo is one recently.

S1: Yeah, right. So this weird first violent outbreaks. But also we’re seeing people just claim fealty to it and, you know, winning Republican primaries, which is a little different from, you know, someone that election hackers could cause mayhem or an ISIS adherent could kill people. But there is no one in the mainstream who would say I’m ISIS and I approve this message. Vote for me.

S4: You’re right on target with it. And somebody pointed out to me like, oh, this is just like when the Tea Party or the progressives I’m like, nah, nah, man. Like, I remember the Tea Party, they had a very specific policy agenda right around, like what they were going to advance. But when you listen to Cunanan, it is a alternative reality they’re trying to advance. Right. Like they’re not trying to argue about what we’re going to do with this country when they win, when it moves into the political space or what’s going on in terms of like the country. They’re literally advocating that the government has a secret society in it. And then I ask when they’re running for politics down or running for or doing politics now, running for office, what is it you would do if you won? Right. Like could you imagine being inside government institutions? And once these people are elected, you’re going to have to answer to these conspiracies. You’re going to be called to testify maybe or write up reports. I, I just cringe for the government employees that will have to deal with that kind of stuff here maybe in the next year.

S3: Right. So this is maybe a side note to your area of expertise. But I do see it. I do see what you just said as somewhat on the continuum of Trump ism in that it’s not an ideology. It’s just based around a story and a man or. Theory and then whatever, and it ever changes, so whatever the whims of that man are, that becomes your ideology. So I don’t know if one caused the other, but they seem to be part of the same phenomenon.

S4: Exactly. It’s more it is more a belief system or a religion than it is like a political party. Right. Or a political group. That’s the other thing that’s interesting about it. And it’s a belief system that’s elevating its people into political elected positions. I think that’s where it differs so much from other things we’ve seen in the past.

S3: So I want to ask you a few questions about how it’s different from things like ISIS or Russian hackers. But first, I want to ask you, maybe we should look at it as essentially on the continuum of there are a bunch of disaffected people who sometimes cause violence, the sovereign citizen movement exists and they kill people. And maybe everyone who is part of that quote unquote movement now believes in Kuhnen pizza gate essentially became Kuhnen and predated Kuhnen. But my question is, there’s always going to be some percentage of people who are disturbed or looking for reasons to be agitated, and some percentage of that percentage are going to cause violence. So why should we think of Kuhnen as something other than, you know, a more formal branding of that phenomenon?

S4: So I’ll give you a comparison to the terrorism years. I’m saying Kuhnen people are terrorists, but we had a similar sort of belief system which was called Islamism back in the mid to mid nineteen nineties to two thousand. And so this is where we got in that weird space in the global war on terror. Right. Like who is the enemy? Is it al-Qaida or is it Islamism or is it all of Islam? What is it? And so we spent a lot of time at the Terrorism Research Center trying to understand, like pass on what is the distinguishing factor. Right. And we wanted to only focus on those that were threatening or perpetrating violence. That’s where we wanted to be focused on. But if you look at any of these belief systems, there is a spectrum and it’s like a cone. Like the closer you get to the bottom of the cone or the funnel, the more intense, the smaller the number of people are and the more extreme they tend to be. And so when you if you’re looking at the spectrum of it, you have enthusiast in any belief system who were just there and they somewhat identify with it, but maybe don’t follow all the rituals where the clothes, they don’t buy the gear. Then you have believers. These are people that actually believe what’s there. They support it and they’ll repeat it. And they’re devoted to that movement, whatever it is. Then you have devotees which are the ones that are committed to advancing this. And this is the people you see on blogs and forums that are talking about it all the time. They’re out on the streets with the gear. They’re pushing it into your face. They’re trying to argue with it. And then there’s always a very small portion of any belief system that are extremists that are committed to violence. And they believe the only way they can advance what they’re doing is they have to take up arms or they have to kill someone or they have to get into confrontations, physical confrontations with people. And so that’s what’s interesting. It’s kind of like an iceberg, right? The more enthusiastic than the believers sort of stack on top. And then the devotees are on top of that. And then the extremists are just a small percentage, but they become emblematic, a representative of the entire belief system to a degree. And that’s what we hear about in the news. And so that’s what’s interesting with Kuhnen is that iceberg just keeps getting bigger, right? Like there’s more people and more people and more people in it. And you see the patch more. You see it showing up in advertisements. You see it trending on social media. You see other groups trying to interact with it. And so that, I think, is where the the concern comes from, because some people, as we’ve seen in the FBI, has even written reports about a turn to violence because of a false belief system.

S2: So you’re no longer with the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. That’s what you refer to. But I’m sure, you know, some people there, what percentage of their day is now being spent on Kuhnen?

S4: So this is an interesting phenomenon. They actually put out a good article in their publication, The Sentinel, which was about Kuhnen Kuhnen Conspiracy’s. And whether it is a domestic extremist group or not, how would you classify it? And just a few years before, it was a huge issue that the terrorism center at West Point would even be involved in domestic research because it’s a federally funded institution. But at the same point, I think what we’ve seen with all of these organizations is you have kuhnen branches in Europe now. It’s expanded into sort of a global movement. And because social media and the Internet is not bound by any geography, it’s a global phenomenon. There’s no way there is no such thing as international or domestic anymore in terms of groups and extremists. So it seems like they’re devoting some time, but they’ve got to walk a very fine line. And I think for all other terrorist research centres that started in that era, if they’re not focused on domestic extremist right now, of which are many types, they’re not really in the game, you know, ISIS or. But we’ve got a mess of groups right now in the United States that are on the edge of violence or committing violence in one direction or another.

S1: So let’s talk about the structure, as it were, of Kuhnen. It’s a lot different from ISIS there. First of all, there is a queue, there is a person who started these theories on on either 4chan or I think HCN. And now if the equivalent if al-Baghdadi were behind some encryption and put out some messages on HLN, would we be able to track and figure out who al-Baghdadi is? So my question is, can we figure out who CU is and what would be the benefit of unmasking him?

S4: I don’t think at this point you can probably figure out who he is because I think it quickly started as like a way to get people mobilized and sell some T-shirts and then took on a life of its own. And it may not be possible to really know who the first person was. And everyone’s going to claim that they AQ interestingly, when you speak of Baghdadi, what Baghdadi did, which was pretty interesting, was he tried to tie himself back to the prophet through lineage so that he could become the next prophet. Now, that was a made up story, probably. Right. Like, he he architected it right to secure his legitimacy. So, like, is Q doing anything really different? Right. Like, whoever the next cue is, you see what I’m saying? Like, it’s maybe not that different. Like we actually found out, like, OK, the guy or woman who’s been writing as Q now the preponderance of like 80 percent of that time, is that any different than the original descendant of. Q Right. There’s a little bit of dread.

S3: The Dread Pirate Roberts, Princess Bride.

S4: Right. And that is why as remarkable as a belief system. Right. Like you have to believe that there is an entity at the core of this that is putting out information to you. You have to make it real over time. I think the difference is that is loose. As al-Qaida was as loose as ISIS was, there was a formed structure. And what’s interesting about Q is it is really a grassroots movement that isn’t really bound to certain leaders. We don’t know who they are and therefore it can be manipulated, twisted, co-opted and pushed in another direction. It’s highly similar to Anonymous or Occupy, right? Like the Occupy movement. No leaders. That was their whole thing. That’s great. But it also means you can be infiltrated and push and pull for reasons that maybe you don’t understand as well, but also goals.

S1: I mean, ISIS wanted they OK, so their stated goal is return of the caliphate. But they they wanted territory. And when they had territory, it burnished their brand and when they were denied territory and defeated on the battlefield. And we’ll talk about that. It really hurt them. But, you know, they’re real people who used to be Baathist generals and maybe believe this or maybe don’t and are using it for some some ends that you can identify. Q is totally different. It seems it’s like a game that sometimes becomes violent, but who’s getting who’s becoming rich off it? What’s the what’s the real motivation of whoever is pulling the levers of this thing?

S4: That’s the most interesting thing to me about it, is why waste your time on it? Right. So I think for most sort of enthusiasts, it’s just entertainment. Right. And it makes them feel good. It’s like a team, you know, whatever it is. But then I think it the original manipulator level it was to mobilize people is kind of a social movement, a populist movement. It was to sell crap. And that’s what’s been so fascinating about Q is it’s right out of the gate was meant to sell like T-shirts and cups and, you know, patches and to sell t shirts.

S1: And I mean, it’s a merchandise organization scheme. Yeah. The merch. Yeah. Merch based domestic terrorist organization. Well and then believable.

S4: You know, it is the natural thing of scale. Right. Which is not that much different. The prosperity gospel to a degree like if you watch that they’re selling tapes and shows and you know, you buy into the the group or whatever it may be, well then it becomes an opportunity for political mobilization. I think that’s what’s remarkable this year, is you see people gravitate towards that and that not just gravitate toward use it to power votes, you know, at the ballot box, which is impressive, you know, that it can grow in that way, especially when you don’t even know who started it. That’s that’s what’s also interesting.

S1: Do does any of their online propaganda impress you in its sophistication when you compare it to the Russians or anyone else you’ve studied?

S4: This is why I don’t believe Kuhnen is really what it claims to be. The initial production value of some of those videos was fantastic. So that’s that grassroots usually, you know, that that signals to me that there’s a propagandist behind the scene that’s got something to gain. Financial social mobilization, political front. Something’s going on, there’s got to be resources, there’s got to be people with talent, there’s got to be dissemination that’s coordinated. That’s what that’s the one thing about Kuhnen that makes me think, OK, this isn’t exactly what it’s claiming to be and that a lot of people are getting duped, not not just the research arm of the Lyndon LaRouche army. No, I mean, the stuff is just fascinating to me because it’s worked. Right. And it’s to the point where I almost want to buy a cute shirt as a collector’s item because it’s like and then I’m like, no, I can’t do that. Then I’m feeling like because I know it’s just fascinating is just.

S3: But you can’t even copyright it. Maybe that’s the solution. Just have everyone flood the market with Q merchandise and then funnel that back to, I don’t know, counter research counterterrorists.

S4: Could be. It could be. Yeah.

S3: That’s how we’re going to Bostom whoever copyrights. Well, search the copyright holders.

S4: Yeah. There’s some friends that works in the counterterrorism space that we’re looking into that for different al-Qaida terms, like we’ll just copyright it and then if they use it, we can then push them off ah, trade market and we can push them off the Internet platforms, which is pretty smart.

S1: That was Clint Watts, who is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a national security expert. He will be back tomorrow to talk about just what we’ve been doing, giving air time to Kuhnen and maybe how to talk to people in your life who have fallen for these conspiracies. Listen, tomorrow, the good conversation continues. And now the spiel Donald Trump told the journalist Bob Woodward on the record and on tape that the coronavirus was deadly and in a later conversation that he Trump knew it was going to be bad, but he only downplayed the severity of the outbreak so as not to panic the American people. These two statements, along with Trump’s slow response, mixed messages, lack of compassion, advocacy for quack cures and many, many wrong, sanguine predictions along the way are just brick upon brick in the quite solid foundation that Donald Trump has badly mismanaged the coroner response. The admissions to Woodward seem to get us closer to answering the question, was this incompetence or was this an act of commission, a lie, a knowing lie? But they don’t actually get us that much closer than all the evidence that’s already out there, because the answer with Trump, as with so many things, is both. He’s both incompetent and a liar and understanding trump this matter many other matters. Remember this, Trump says everything and its opposite. He is an inveterate bullshitter and a horribly imprecise communicator. It seems a settled matter that these tapes prove the case against Trump and perhaps they even put Woodward on the hook for not divulging the content sooner. And I will get to that. So what I think is maybe they do focus the mind in this moment, which is a public service. They really are a scoop. Perhaps you can say they’re a useful reminder of what we can already document and they do so in a better, clearer way. Maybe they will help. Someone who’s out there is yet to come to the conclusion that Donald Trump grievously mismanaged the response. So I would say they are perhaps a little more clarifying than some of the things he’s already said, but not as much as they’re being credit for. They are a scoop, no doubt, but they are the kind of scoop that if we knew about the utterances five or six months ago, nothing different would have happened. I think I can prove this. So here’s how the tapes have been presented. Maybe you’ve heard media accounts of them. CNN’s Anderson Cooper played the February tape. This was February 7th, and correspondent Jamie Gangel reacts out of the tape.

S5: We’re going to hear it’s also more deadly than your you know, your even your strenuous flus. You know, people don’t realize we lost 25000, 30000 people a year. Who would ever think that? Right.

S6: I know. I mean, that’s pretty amazing. And then I say, well, it’s the same thing for me.

S5: This is more definitely this is five per you know, this is five percent versus one percent and less than one percent, you know, so this is deadly stuff.

S7: So, Anderson, so much of what he said there is striking because we did not know this at the time.

S2: The figure is not five times as deadly as the flu. Supposing the flu has a one percent fatality rate, which is generally inaccurate as well. With covid-19, the case fatality ratio is three percent and lower. Actually, when you look at a different stat, which is the infection fatality ratio, the infection fatality ratio accounts for all infections, including people who don’t even realize they were infected. So it’s much less than three percent. It’s maybe one one and a half percent. Trump obviously downplayed in public the coronavirus in the days and weeks to come after he said this. And he frequently lies on tape about the caseload decreasing. And he did so when Johns Hopkins and the World Health Organization showed they were increasing. He frequently relayed falsehoods and still does about children’s susceptibility and cures.

S1: The fact that in February he had an advanced warning that it was bad, though not as bad as he just told Woodward. What what do you make of that? It’s certainly an example of Trump not coming clean with a clear truth, but he does that and he’s been doing that ever since. It is not the smoking gun being portrayed. Here was Chris Hayes after playing that very clip on his MSNBC show. These statements, the president is like the flu. Nothing to worry about. It’s going to go away. They were lies. They weren’t just mistakes. The president knew better and lied. He didn’t know he was actually wrong about the number in a statistically significant way. But I’m not just resting my argument on the idea that he didn’t know what the actual fact was that he got the number wrong. I’m saying something about the nature of knowledge of what was known in February. So on February 7th, the first Italian covid patient had yet to walk into an emergency room in Italy. Those results came back on February 20th. So when someone says Trump knew the pandemic was coming, he didn’t know it because no one knew it. The Chinese didn’t know what the infection rate was. It took months. It’s still taking months to calculate that accurately. They knew that it had spread in a devastating way, but we all knew that. We all knew that what was going on in China was. Bad, there is no Chinese secret data where their secret Corona police had totally accurate numbers that Trump or the CIA could have gotten wind of and related to Trump, the knowledge of what he was supposed to know didn’t exist, so he couldn’t have known it. Months after Trump said that it spread through the air. Scientists were still debating to what extent that was true. It’s a little complicated. Yes, it’s spread through respiratory droplets and to some extent it can linger in the air. Or when scientists say a virus is airborne, they usually mean it can linger in the air longer than coronavirus can linger in the air. So, again, he wasn’t saying something that was, quote unquote true. He was saying something that some scientists who did the briefing to him believed, who may have been right, turns out to be kind of right, depending on how you interpret the science to this day. The World Health Organization said it wasn’t airborne months after that and other scientists pushed back. So it’s much more of a gray area than Trump knew and he lied. OK, I bet what’s going on with you right now, if you are pretty irate about this tape, is you’re saying, OK, the fine details of how much of what he was told was accurate is a little beside the point. Right? What you’re thinking is the point is his exact information. The point is that he knew Corona was much worse than he was letting on. He knew it was deadly. To which I say, well, of course, he knew it was deadly. His actions showed he knew it was deadly. He closed down air travel from China in the month before that statement, the end of January. He mentioned in his State of the Union three days earlier the coronavirus. You wouldn’t have done that if you didn’t think it was serious. The Obama administration knew that H1N1 knew that outbreak was possible, knew that Ebola was possible. There probably was no difference in Trump’s mind. And it’s hard to get inside Trump’s mind and uncomfortable. But there’s probably not much difference between an Obama administration official knowing that that outbreak could be deadly. And Trump at the point, knowing that this outbreak could be an outbreak and could be deadly. In an article asking, should Bob Woodward have divulged the February 7th phone call earlier? Al Tompkins from Poynter, the Journalism Ethics Center, writes, quote, So we now know that the president knew and believed that a pandemic was coming. I would say that statement stands in for a lot of the charges that are being leveled at Trump and Woodward. So I is say, yeah, we know that. But it’s not that we now know it. We knew it on March 17th because the president told us he always thought a pandemic was coming. I’ve always known this is a this is a real this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. So maybe it was lying then. Maybe he was bullshitting then. Maybe he’s bullshitting now. Maybe he was bullshitting in February. Maybe he was bullshitting. And a March 19th phone call with Woodward that I’m about to play in, which he said, oh, I didn’t make a big deal about it so as not to panic anyone.

S6: Now it’s turning out. It’s not just old people, but just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old old people to plenty of young people.

S8: So he’s going to give me a moment of talking to somebody, going through this with Foushee or somebody who kind of it caused a pivot in your mind, because it’s clear just from what’s in on the public record that you went through a pivot on this to, oh, my God, the gravity is almost inexplicable and unexplainable.

S6: Well, I think, Bob, really, to be honest with you here, I want you to I wanted to I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down. Yes. Because I don’t want to create a panic.

S1: So there Trump is filling in the why why he downplayed the nature of the pandemic. But again, he admitted that he had downplayed the nature of what he always knew would be a pandemic. He admitted that in public on a microphone two days earlier. I guess it was too hard for us to take the statement. I’ve always known it was a pandemic and juxtapose that statement with the myriad times he played it down in order for us to reach the conclusion that he played down a pandemic. I guess it’s more convenient when Trump himself on that tape that I just played, when he’s talking to Woodward, literally says I played it down, but the conclusion was unavoidable that Trump knew he was minimizing risks because, of course, Trump knew he was minimizing risks. By the way, every other hero of the response in government, this side of Nancy Messenger tried not to panic the public also. All right, here was Andrew Cuomo on March 7th. You know, it’s worse than the virus, the anxiety and the fear and the confusion. I think what you just heard is Trump’s downplaying, as expressed by someone familiar with political communication and expressions of empathy, Cuomo said the same thing essentially on the Today Show on March 19th, the very day Trump spoke to would word of not inspiring panic. I don’t know, maybe Trump was watching that Andrew Cuomo today show interview.

S7: Still, Trump’s explanation that he didn’t want to cause panic prompted CNN’s Jamie Gangel to say to say that this was about preventing panic or calming people down is it is simply outrageous that everyone was doing it.

S1: So as I reminded you at the top, Trump says everything and its opposite. Right. He criticized Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for opening up as he cheered on Gov. Brian Kemp for opening up. He said states should adhere to CDC lockdown guidelines as he tweeted hashtag Liberate Michigan hashtag liberate Virginia April 13. He bragged about his power during the crisis. He said, quote, The power of the president of the United States having to do with the subject we’re talking about is total. I have the ultimate authority. The president of the United States calls the shots. Three days later, he said to the governors, it’s not my job. Quote, You are going to call your own shots. You’re going to be calling your shots. So Woodward, catch him in a lie or at least a glaring inconsistency. Yeah, he did. He did. But so does every other open mic that Donald Trump stands in front of for more than five minutes. Was it the sort of statement on February 7th that needed to be rushed to the presses? Well, if it were let me tell you what would happen. Perhaps The Washington Post could have taken those sentiments, ran a headline February eighth or ninth.

S2: Trump says Coronavirus could be five times as deadly as flu, to which Trump couldn’t deny me. Maybe he tried, but the tapes are out there and he’d say something like, yes, it could have a higher death rate, which is exactly why I issued the travel ban from China. By the way, it’s a little inaccurate, not a ban from China. We won’t get into that. He’d point out, you know, there is a range of estimates and every time we would pass one of those estimates of death rate, he would cite a higher estimate of a death rate and say, actually, we’re doing pretty good. That’s exactly what he’s done. Every time he would compare coronavirus to the flu, he would use a phrase like, it’s like a flu, which is how he actually phrased it. He’d give an Oval Office address if the Post ran that story in about a month’s time in which he’d say something like From the beginning of time, nations and people have faced unforeseen challenges, including large scale and very dangerous health threats. This is the way it always was and always will be. It only matters how you respond to we are responding with great speed and professionalism. That, of course, is a quote from his actual Oval Office address. And it’s not true then and it’s not true now. And nothing would make it true that he would respond with great speed and professionalism. If the Post ran an item on February 9th and 10th, Trump would not have gotten better at his job. He would not be more held to account. His people with no less forgive his every blunder than they do now. He would not advocate masks because he’s still not really advocating masks and there is no scientific debate about masks. He’d be the same horrible president whose reactions are both all over the place and nowhere near close enough. Bob Woodward would be robbed of a scoop, which is not a huge deal. But, you know, here we are two months from an election. And this reporting does remind everyone that coronavirus is the national crisis, not a can of soup. So I think it is, in fact, in the public interest for Bob Woodward to have retained his scoop and for us to be punishing Trump with it today.

S1: And that’s it for Today Show, the gist is actually produced by Daniel Shrader, notionally produced by Margaret Kelly and spiritually produced by Laurie Garrett. Alicia Montgomery is executive producer of Slate Podcasts, which does not include new podcast from Julian Castro, Pete Budig, Michael Cohen, or just being handed this off the presses milkshake duck. I would listen to that one. The gist, you know, if the Senate really wanted a skinny stimulus, they taste my mother in law’s cooking. Am I right? I am not. She is actually a fine cook and more importantly, no longer my mother in law, for reasons that are obvious to you. And thanks for listening.