S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership. Enjoy this episode of The Gabfest contains explicit language.
S2: Hello and welcome the Slate political gabfest for June 4th, 2020, the Inspecting the Bunker edition. I am David Plotz, a business insider. I have flashbang. The cats teargassed the kids to clear a path to my closet where I’m doing a photo op zoom photo op in my closet. John Dickerson of CBS is 60 Minutes joins me from his home in New York City. Hello, John.
S3: Hello, David. I’m actually on the road. I’m not in my new home in New York City. I’m out working. Oh, that’s good for you. I’m actually. Yes, well, I’m in D.C. at the moment in my travels.
S4: Oh, waving at you.
S5: Yeah. Oh, my God. We’re in the same city. That’s that’s really funny.
S3: I’ve I, I’ve been traveling like it’s such a weird it’s very weird traveling in this moment and I’ve kind of lost track of where I am.
S6: Well, it’s nice to see you wherever you are. And Emily Bazelon of The New York Times Magazine and Yale University Law School. Hello, Emily from New Haven. Hello. On today’s gabfest, we’re going to be joined by The New York Times as Jamelle Bouie to talk about the extraordinary protests inspired by the murder of George Floyd. What do the demonstrators want? Why are these protests spread so far and so quickly? What will cause these protests to ease and the work of reform to begin? And Jamal will also join us to talk about the presidency and the dictatorship, Trump and the political implications of these protests. The clearing of Lafayette Park, the Atara authoritarianism that’s been on display from him, how is all that going to play out politically in the coming months? Then we will talk about covered the pandemic. So we have declining hospitalizations. We have some states continuing to show growth in cases. But a general sense of public exhaustion with a pandemic. How is that gonna play out over the rest of the summer? Plus, of course, we’re gonna have cocktail chatter and listeners. We really miss seeing you at our live shows. And so that’s why we’re really looking forward to seeing you online next Wednesday night, June 10th, at seven thirty Eastern Time, when we will be streaming on Slate’s Facebook, a live gabfest. Join us from the comfort of your home. Ask us your own questions and we’re gonna talk about John’s book, which will be out by then. So hopefully you’ll have ordered a copy. Actually, it won’t be out by then. It won’t be out by then. It definitely will not be up. Then you’ll preorder to copy and and you will be able to hear John talk about some of the highlights so you’ll know which pages to look at for when your copy arrives. Any case. Go to Slate dot com slash live for more information. Please come join us next Wednesday at seven thirty pm for our live show. We’re going to talk now about the incredible protest movement that’s arisen in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police 10 days ago. We are joined by frequent gabfests guest Jamelle Bouie. He’s a New York Times columnist. Hello, Jamal. Hello. Hello. So, Jamal, let’s start with this sort of threshold question, which is that the protest movement that has arisen, which is now taken to the streets of almost every major American city, lots of towns. It is much it rose faster, more extensively than any such movement in the past. It is the largest movement of street protest, arguably since the 1960s. Why did this murder and this event and this time, do you think, create this much anger and this much frustration and this much action?
S7: I feel like he could write an entire book on just trying to answer that question, because it is sort of like a bunch of different things. Not all of them directly happening in 2020. Right. And so the wave of protests that followed Eric Garner’s killing and Michael Brown’s killing in 2014 should have first is the thing that’s really generates this the language of this kind of language for this kind of event. Right. You have a bunch of people, many of them quite young, who get their first experience to protest, get their first experience of organizing, their first experience of how to handle police, get shot of all of this essential training and how to think of this. And also those protests and the ones that happened in 2015 also impact public opinion. And so in the wake of all of that, you see public opinion, especially among white Democrats, move towards you’d come of far more racially liberal position than it did prior. And so the 2014 2016 period ends up, in retrospect, like priming the public or at least a function, a swath of the public for a certain reaction in the event that something like this happens again or something like Eric Garner’s killing or Michael Brown’s killing or Tamir Rice’s happens again. Let’s skip over 2017, 18, 19. And in 2020, you have the confluence of a bunch of different events.
S8: The memory of of the stuff happening the previous decade is still there.
S7: The pandemic and subsequent recession has left a lot of people idle. Even more people, especially young people, especially young black people without jobs. And then I think just in terms of the killing of George Floyd himself, I think that video is especially bad. I think it’s bad in a way that it just has not been true of past killings. The only one that even comes close in my mind is the Walter Scott killing in North Charleston back in 2015, which was just so apparent that Scott posed no threat. But the length of the video, the extent to which Floyd is voicing his pain and distress and very easy to understand terms. Everything about it is unambiguously terrible. And then you have the president who whose very presence, you know, willing to say anything about this accelerates things. And I think you have the recipe for mass demonstrations. And then when the police respond to this mass demonstrations in such a draconian way, that just kind of throws even more fuel on the fire. One thing I took away from Ferguson back in 2014 was that the mere presence of militarized police acts as something that agitates crowds and generates a response and resistance. Everything has literally hit at once to produce to produce this.
S6: So that’s really a question for anybody. But, Emily, you’re you’re closest to me. What is your sense about what what movement would look like in these demonstrations? I mean, we’ve I think we’ve passed through. There was a period, a real kind of initial kind of real fervor and excitement. There were some particular moments of violence, much of it instigated by the police and then looting, which seems to have that also seems to have quieted. And now we continue to have demonstrations. I am struggling with trying to understand what is it that resolves this? What is it that what is it that people are waiting for? In Richmond, we have this amazing fact of the Robert E. Lee statue coming down, which is fantastic. I mean, that’s great. But is it individual acts like that? Is it the charging of the police officers increase charges against the police officers? Is that going to cause the demonstration to subside? Is that. Are there some other specific things that need to happen that for these demonstrations to move into some other form, to move into a reform form or some something else? I’ve just I’m just puzzled as to where we go next.
S1: I’m going to answer that question. But first, I just want to back up. But Janelle was saying with. The study that jumped out at me from Monmouth University this week showing that 57 percent of Americans believe police are more likely to use excessive force against black people. And what’s striking about that 43 percent. Well, I know. I know. But what the hell is that? OK. But in 2016, only 34 percent of people said this. So I think that’s the kind of movement you’re talking about. And it’s been really interesting to me to watch how racially diverse these protests are. And I think young white people feel a sense of obligation and they kind of get it in a way that they didn’t have four or five or three years ago. And that’s because of the success of Black Lives Matter, like those lessons have been absorbed by a bigger part of the country because of the work of all this activists.
S9: So let me just interject. CBS came out with a poll Thursday morning after the shooting in Charleston at Mother Emanuel Church. Fifty six percent of the countries said a lot of progress had been made for African-Americans in America. That number is 38 percent today.
S1: So more white people get it. That’s a good thing. You know, in answer to your question, David. So when these protests started last week and there was more looting and rioting than we’re currently seeing, I was really worried about this because usually organizers who are in charge think really hard about how to declare victory, how you get to a feeling of relief and catharsis from all this incredible energy that is bubbling up. And it seems like with these protests that they were incredibly organic. I mean, in New Haven, the protest was called by someone anonymously. And then luckily, some Black Lives Matter movement leaders showed up to take it over. So I worried that it was all going to be kind of like this in Coates stew with too much frustration. But I actually think that something really amazing is happening, which is like, yes, statue’s coming down. In addition to the one of Raverty Lee, Frank Rizzo’s statue came down in the middle of the night in Philadelphia, you know, for me, growing up in Philadelphia. Frank Rizzo was the scourge of the city. I can’t believe we had a statue of him until this week, but it’s gone. And it is really important both that all four officers were charged in George Floyds unconscionable death and that the charges were raised for Officer Chauvelin, the main perpetrator, to second degree murder. But what’s so much more it’s so much bigger about this to me is a real discussion of the role of the police in communities and the idea that I keep seeing fund the community, not the police. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is some, like, dumb notion that we don’t need the police because every community needs good policing. It’s the idea that there are so many problems that go into the bucket of law enforcement in America that should not be solved by the cops, can’t really be solved by them and should not be criminalized. When you think about the fact that more than 80 percent of charges and that’s not arrest, just charges are misdemeanors. And so many of those offenses really have to do with underlying issues of mental health problems and substance abuse and all these things that the cops are not trained to do. They’re not the right people. We’ve been incredibly unimaginative in most of the country in thinking about who our first responders are. There are some experiments going on now in places like Eugene, Oregon and Austin, Texas, of having nine one one lines where you can get triaged to someone who is good at mediation or has social worker skills. And there are really there’s so much fruitful work to be done there in thinking about how you improve public safety by improving the well-being of the community and funding organizations and people inside communities who know how they work and don’t feel like this hostile and alien presence. And I feel like the organizers and thinkers behind this are getting really good at making those concrete proposals. So let me give one more example of that. There was this amazing, in my view letter this week where more than 100 former and current de Blasio employees denounced the mayor for what I think has been his craven response. The NYPD has been way over the top and de Blasio has not taken them on in the same way that he has failed to carry out his misadministration. And these employees are pointing out that there has been more than a billion dollars added to the budget of the NYPD since de Blasio came into office. They want that one billion taken out of the police department budget and reinvested in communities. So that’s the kind of example that seems important here.
S8: Yeah, I think because I think I think the protests are now large enough and broad enough that there’s two tracks happening. There is this one that involves or is increasingly involving concrete ask, as Emily describes, and that has concrete responses or even symbolic ones that still matter, like no previously mentioned enrichment. The Raverty, least as you’re coming down in Birmingham and Confederate’s, that you’re coming down. So there’s that. But then this relates to what’s happening in D.C. in particular, the president’s decision bars Bill Baras decision or whomever’s decision that was to remove protesters in Lafayette Square with tear gas or smoke. Gas for the photo op seems to have kind of escalated those protests into almost something of a protest over the legitimate over the legitimacy of Trump himself, that that was the would be administration or the White House kind of making a statement about its view of dissent. And then when protesters the next day responded with an even larger demonstration, the administration kind of stood down. And it’s in the wake of that that you’ve seen figures on the right and in the center coming explicitly out or voicing their opposition to the president or to that display of repression, voicing their support for the protesters. So obviously, former President Bush and Laura Bush came out with the statement. You have James massive statement. You have a group of Bush 43 alarms starting a superPAC. And I think all of these things flow out of what happened on Monday or was that Sunday? I have no idea how these working time. Time, does it matter anymore? At some point in the recent past half hit. And I think that set of protests is yeah, the best way I can describe it is legitimacy crisis. I think there’s an extent to which the participants, the police, are also legitimacy crisis for the police. I think we’ve seen something much more acute happening in Washington and in the protests there, which I don’t know how that resolves. Right.
S7: It like that that that’s the kind of thing where the kind of really only goes two ways at a certain point, either more repression or the bridge team just leaves picking up on what Jamal said.
S9: And then I want ask a question of all of you. I mean, what’s striking about out, though? When the president walked over to St. John’s Church on Tuesday night was not just the event itself, but it has to be seen in comparison to the relatively parsimonious response he had to the overall cry of agony that you see in all of the protests. You know, so we know what it looks like when a president of any kind wants to take emergency action because they feel something is so valuable and so at risk. And as the representative of a country that’s founded on equality and the single representative elected by the country, he could have decided to put all of that that symbolism and all of that power of the office into a response to what was at the heart of the protests and chose not to, and instead devoted the full arsenal of his response to this photo op, literally sweeping away the protesters and their concerns, which included basically asking not to be swept away this time. Finally, after so many similar incidents, the back to the to David’s question.
S3: So the question I was wondering is whether obviously there are a series of reforms to the police. But in terms of symbolism, there is a piece in involves by German Lopez who talked to a bunch of criminal justice experts. And the number one issue in terms of what reform was required was that the police need to apologize first centuries of abuse. And I wonder that’s a relatively quick thing that could happen that also sets the expectations for what’s to come. Admitting that there is systemic racism in the culture, which is what George W. Bush wrote in his response to Floyd’s killing, also seems to be kind of a threshold issue. And I wondered, what if any of you think about that a. Is there a threshold symbolic response that is the precursor to all of the systemic change that’s needed?
S10: I mean, I think there’s this I think it’s become incredibly dangerous that the police have effectively become an ally of one party, of the president’s party. And rather than being existing as neutral arbiters or at least trying to be neutral arbiters, the fact that they take an explicitly political position and effectively act as counter protesters at this movement. It’s it’s so poisonous and dangerous and. We have these incredible data that we’ve talked about, I think before, that police don’t live in the cities, they police. Police don’t feel attached. The cities they police. And this inability of white police in particular to treat black protesters the way they would treat white protesters, which comes out of the sense of difference and disagreement and alienation. And so there’s a huge cultural divide, emotional divide, literal physical divide, political partisan divide. It is vast. It is a just a vast, vast divide. And I mean, I think the idea of an apology is is a that’s a really nice idea. It makes a lot of sense. It is the there’s so many other fixes that are also going to happen have to happen to police departments before the real change is going to come, though. And I just don’t think they’re willing. I just don’t think. I think there certainly are departments that would be willing to issue an apology. I just don’t think that the rank and file police in most cities are going to be like, yes, I’m sorry for doing my job. It wouldn’t be. I think it would be quite grudging. But maybe I’m maybe I’m being cynical.
S8: So what is the right thing? What can like what could police do? Sort of like a low cost gesture to show protesters that they are are on the same page or trying to get on the same page. I think it comes to mind is that police departments and police commissioners and the leadership can order a control order their officers to not use militarized gear. Right. Sort of take off, take away the shields, take off the helmets, put the trucks away. Just show up in, like, regular uniforms and show that you’re not trying to escalate things. And that’s also something that. Right, that civilian leadership can also say what I want to see this happen. I think the problem comes and this gets to what David’s saying is that. I’m not. I’m not sure rank and file police would see those calls as legitimate. Maybe more so if it came from police leadership. But certainly none if it came from elected officials. And I think one of the dynamics happening here in this ties into the history of policing is that up until relatively recently in the history of American policing, police were really only responsible chool white public. Right. That the people who voted, the people whose votes mattered, the elected officials were mostly responding to white publics in cities and suburbs. And the police themselves were drawn from those publics. And there was no sort of incongruity between what the police were largely being tasked to do, which is control non-white groups within cities and who they were responding to, which is the people who wanted that control. But since, like, you know, 1965, since 1968, obviously the poverty that’s been demanding more police accountability is much more diverse. And it includes many of the people who were formerly under the thumb of that police control. And the elected officials are representing those people and for police officers. I think that there is a sense that those elected officials are not legitimate in the same way precisely because they are representing people who are viewed as not as big as needing to be under the thumb of control. You see them saying this is an idea. I feel like I take it better in writing, but it’s basically that, like the police have a sense of who is who is legitimate political authority into cross purposes with what the political authority is. And I think an example of this is how a lot of police unions, really virulently anti Obama called him, said he was fighting a war on cops, said he was Obama was disrespectful of law enforcement, which is just sort of not completely at odds with what reality was. But what Obama was trying to do with the Obama Justice Department was trying to do was put a measure of federal accountability on local police departments in this police department, simply did not see that as legitimate. Another thing that Obama had the right to do, regardless of of his position, those same unions are obviously super pro Trump. And maybe some of this is just sort of ordinary partisanship. And that certainly plays a part. But I don’t think you can separate it from the from who Obama represented, who he was, who he represented and who Trump is and who he represents. That there’s also this sense that those people can’t tell us what to do, but these people can.
S6: Paid gabfests listeners. As always, we have a Slate plus bonus segment for you today. And we’re in to talk about Jim Matisses. Astonishing letter. Astonishing renunciation of President Trump that came out in the Atlantic on Wednesday. John, of course, has spent a lot of time with Matus over the years, has deep thoughts about him. And we’re going to talk about whether the former defense secretary’s comments now will make a difference to how we see Trump or how the older voters see Trump.
S11: It is very hard.
S10: I find it very hard to talk about President Trump at this moment because his weakness and his cruelty are so hard to bear witness to. He has behaved so strangely during this Floyd crisis. And as I was always just seeing it through his own narcissistic lens, the attack on the protesters that foretold his bizarre Bible photo op where he looked like a man who had never held a book before, much less held a Bible before, much less even had ever had his photograph taken. It was such a strange thing that he did the push that he seems to be making to deploy U.S. active duty troops into the streets to, quote, dominate the battlespace, as his defense secretary said, his complete inability to say anything to calm the country. And so, John. Are we now in an authoritarian dictatorship? Is this what an authoritarian dictatorships look like? We’ve like drifted far enough down the line that that’s where we are. We have a president, a president who is unelected daughter making a decision. Her bizarre photo op. You have the minions scurrying to to clear the city of of unsightly protesters and use violence against their own citizens. The attorney general, who represents the grand tradition of law in the nation, moving to do this. The that the defense secretary and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top echelon of the military, giving their imprimatur, walking with them through this phalanx of of massed Secret Service agents like this feels not like an America.
S12: I thought I lived in. Right. And the troops posted on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the heavily armed troops in front of various buildings that refuse to say where they’ve come from, which goes back to to Jamal’s point about about the militarization and the bristling gear that is brought out into the streets. You know, one of the things is just slightly tangentially. But James Mattis is on my mind is, you know, what they decided in the surge was it turns out when you come rolling in with all that militarized gear, you turn the population against you. So take off the gear, take off the sunglasses, the flak jackets, all that and just walk through the streets and you develop a relationship with the cities. And that seems to be, you know, the woodwork here as well. You know, we’re not all the way. We’re not only there yet. And in fact, some of the revulsion from not just James Mattis, but Mike Mullen, the former chairman, the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the actions on Tuesday night show. I keep saying Tuesday, I mean, Monday show, you know, there is resistance to what was done. And in fact, the secretary of defense is trying to walk, slash, run away from both the battlespace comment and and what the president seems to be doing now. On the other hand, it seems that Senator Tom Cotton in his New York Times op ed calling for sending in the troops, seems to be auditioning for Aspers job. So you can imagine Asper getting bounced and someone being put in who who agreed with the president. I don’t think we’re there. I don’t think we’re there just yet.
S1: But we’re like a step away. And it feels sort of like just theater, because so much about Trump has that spectacle feeling where you sort of feel like he’s play acting, it being a tinpot dictator. At the same time, I feel like it’s really important to take seriously how close were coming. And for these officials, not just former Trump officials and military, but current military, to say no, like we took a swore an oath to protect the American people and the Constitution. We are we are not a partisan operation. And I think we’re starting to see that from the military, in part because the military is not the police. The military is a much more bipartisan institution. That’s 40 percent people of color. And I think there’s a recognition from its leadership that it can’t afford to be aligned with this incredibly divisive president. But to have all those troops in Washington refusing to identify themselves, to have people gassed out of Lafayette Square for that bizarre photo op like that should not be the America that we want to live in. And it’s only by saying that really clearly that we make sure it doesn’t happen.
S13: I want to cosign the point about the military as distinct from the police in as distinct from what appears to be sort of prison riot control and see Customs and Border Patrol who are also in D.C.. I think the people who are identifying themselves aren’t actually in the military or part of the larger federal paramilitary apparatus, which is sort of like a whole I mean, in addition to everything else this is raising, I think this is raising serious questions about do we want the federal government to have, you know, tens of thousands of guys without military discipline in paramilitary gear, just like present around?
S8: I think it appears to be not a good idea. But the military, I think it’s invigorate heavily that precisely because the military is substantially more diverse than it’s one of the most integrated institutions in American life. I may have mentioned this before. My parents both did 20 plus years in the Navy. I grew up more or less on Navy Navy bases. And my experience as being a Navy brat is one of being an extremely diverse environments. My entire childhood. And. On just the level of politics. Military officials, if they were to agree with the plan to send troops in to, in Cotton’s words, use overwhelming force against protesters. I don’t think they could necessarily count on discipline from troops because in many cases, this would be people going into their own communities for communities like their commute, like the ones they grew up in. Using that force. And so I think military leaders are very much aware, as you suggested, Emily, that this is this is fraud. It’s even setting aside sort of questions of lawful orders and constitutional authority, all these things. It is just uncertain of what you’ll get if you force. I think it’s nearly 20 percent African-American institution to act against a bunch of African-American protesters.
S10: The other the other piece of it is I can understand where this came from three days ago when you do. There was a lot of looting. There was a lot of fires. There was a the the protests themselves had a kind of a real deep edge of of tension. The police were acting in great numbers with impunity and with violence. And you had people on the edge of the protesters protests causing mayhem and and and vandalism on the side. My sense of the protests over the last couple of days is that they are extremely like this is First Amendment speech at the highest order. These are people, you know, taking to the streets, gathering, speaking in an almost entirely peaceful way. They’re disrupting society because they’re blocking roads and they’re causing people to to, you know, not be able to get around in ways they might want to get around. But the but the the idea that you would call out the military to roust people who are engaged in what is fundamental First Amendment activity like it, that really the highest order.
S1: You think so? Do you think this is what President Trump fears the most, like the looters and the rioters? He can try to make some political hay from the sustained peaceful protest, you know, outside the White House, outside the Trump Hotel with this kind of support and so many people and such strong poll numbers supporting it like that is a real threat to his presidency, to his whole world view.
S6: But I don’t think you can get away with sicking military forces on that in a way you can get when when the footage. I think the public would not allow that in the way they would allow it. If there’s if most of the footage is of looters and arson.
S12: Well, part of that deployment is to itself is to reinforce is to define all protesters as as although he in his in his remarks, he has drawn a distinction. But nevertheless, actions are a lot more powerful than words, and it lumps all of them together, thereby delegitimizing the peaceful part of the protests if they’re all defined as looters. But I think the the the bias is obviously to protect the First Amendment. And it’s set in the it’s such an over response to. So it’s not just being sufficiently careful of First Amendment rights, but that risk of overreacting is obviously a huge problem here. The military is not really trained for this. And then finally, it seems to repeat a portion of what the underlying protesters are having issue with, which is the militarized response to certain communities and the excessive militarized, not the excessive militarization, but the excessive kind of law and order total crackdown mindset that informs a lot of the policies or informs the structure that people are protesting against.
S6: Can I make one small point about this was I actually don’t think it would be that bad for the front line. Troops, the front line people engaging with protesters to be National Guard. I think that would be better than the National Guard.
S1: What’s the difference? No, no, I know. I understand. Go ahead. But I think explain that because that’s actually helpful. And I had to read all about the National Guard because I did not really know if the National Guard was.
S10: Yeah. Well, I think if your your choices are if you think about who could engage with protesters on the front line, there are local cops, there’s National Guard who are, you know, functioning well under the command of the governor of the state for the most part, and under these circumstances and are sort of military. But they’re not cops. They’re not cops. Then there’s active U.S. military and then there’s a set of Trumpy paramilitaries of Border Patrol and so forth that we’re seeing in D.C. here of prisons.
S1: Right? Yes.
S10: And and of all of those, I think the folks who I think should be the who would be most likely to be best to engage with the protesters are, in fact, National Guard who aren’t like they’re they they’re they don’t have the animus that the cops clearly have. And it just feels like they will lower the temperature. And whereas the paramilitary Trump people are who the fuck knows what they’re going to do? And the active duty U.S. forces should not be called to do this because this is absolutely not their job.
S8: So I don’t think in principle it’s actually. Unacceptable to use active duty military for the sake of domestic unrest. It’s been done before. But the context on which it’s been done is usually bent defend the constitutional rights of the people. All right. Facing the protoje. Facing the unrest. Right. And so, like sitting in the what? One hundred first airborne to help desegregate a school is using the military to enforce a Supreme Court ruling to defend constitutional rights. And so I think part of the issue.
S13: I mean, of it would be issue in this situation is it calls for the military to be used, are explicitly for the suppression of protests. And that’s when you get sort of like into the dicy. You can’t do this territory. And I agree with you, David, that the National Guard probably would be a better would be better to have at the front lines precisely because they are a similar move. And if a governor said to themselves, I also want, you know, active duty troops to be available for the sake of protecting protesters. I mean, honestly, if some mayor said I want to have troops to protect my citizens from the cops, I think that be acceptable because it’s clear that local police are, you know, for lack of a better term, I go wilding out on protests not to minimize the misconduct by the police.
S1: I would like to keep the military’s role as a total last resort in American life just because of the international examples we have of what happens when their power is unleashed. Who really controls them? How do we put that genie back into the bottle?
S3: Plus, the scale of escalation seems like it could go just so horribly wrong. Once you get the military involved.
S1: Yes. Sideways.
S10: John. We’re about 150 days out from the election. And one of the things that President Obama has certainly emphasized and that other other folks on the left have emphasized, which is that this. Protest movement should also be part of her broader electoral movement that we should focus on what we how we can hold elected officials accountable and and elect officials who will represent our interests better than perhaps the ones we have now. At the same time and I think that polling data suggests that President Trump is in serious trouble and a lot of places that his numbers are going way down. There’s a story in The New York Times today that that his campaign is quite anxious and has put money in two states to Ohio and Arizona, states that they think thought were pretty safe. But what if we have an election that a government that works to undermine the legitimacy of the election and a president who might not accept it, a party that might not go along with that, a military that might have at that point been dragged along to to to do service to that. Do you feel there’s any danger of that or am I being hyperbolic?
S3: Well, I mean, it’s hard and it’s hard in the wake of the president’s photo op at St. Johns to take the normal posture of, you know, the restraints will will kick in because that was again, it was not only a bizarre in it’s by itself, but also by in comparison to what could have been done by a president in response to in solidarity with or at least in acknowledgment of the protesters and their message. So and we now have we certainly have the president’s response to, you know, in 2016, he was four months talking about rigged elections and trying to sow doubt and raise questions. I mean, it depends on the size of loss. So in the scenario you’ve sketched, is he he chooses not to leave office or comes up with some pretext or something. I mean, it depends if he loses by a small amount and there’s some evidence doesn’t matter. There is the amount is small enough that the that the conspiracy Syria theory gets enough adherents. Sure, you could be in a wobbly state, but if he gets trounced, I think it’s harder to imagine. The more immediate and interesting question to me is how does this sort because you have a presidential response to two things, which is a moment of national crisis in relations with not just community and the police, but the overall disparities in the way that Cauvin has hit communities of color. The overall disparities that will be significantly exacerbated by and are being significantly exacerbated by the economic devastation as a result of Koven 19 and the feeling that the administration is overmatched in responding to all of those. Not not bad press, just the president, but the administration is overmatched by events. And then when you look at individually, you know, voters would trust Biden far more to handle those kinds of issues, particularly on the issue of race. You know how that plays out in the election and provides opportunities or challenges, opportunities for Biden, challenges for Trump.
S6: Jamal, let’s do your best take. You want to take any last words you want to leave us with?
S8: I agree with John entirely, Barry. I think. Especially on the point that. Ultimately, what I think, whether the election, whether Trump will accept the results of the election will depend 100 percent on if he loses, that is on the scale of that loss because of how fractured our election system is. There are so many opportunities for mischief. There are so many ways to gum up the works. There are so many ways to not even know that this isn’t a question of like overturning results or ignoring results even, but just contesting results such to create a sense that the process wasn’t legitimate.
S1: And disenfranchising people.
S8: But. Right. But if on November 3rd. On election night. Even without counting absentee or mail in ballots, it is evident that Trump has lost by five points or six points or seven points.
S13: There’s just no space for contestation. A one point loss on election night. Sure, it’s tight on election night. We have to wait to count for counting ballots. The nightmare scenario. But if it’s clear on election night that he’s lost and it’s a decisive loss, then more importantly then, whether Trump does anything. I don’t think the Republican Party does anything right. I don’t think Republican lawmakers stand with Trump if he wants to contest things in that scenario. And that’s kind of like that.
S8: That’s ultimately, I think, be the question. At what point does the Republican Party stand with their break from Trump? Because it’s in those moments when there is a little bit of faltering among Republicans, that Trump sees his worst sort of performance with the public at large. And a big loss doesn’t leave room for Republican lawmakers to say maybe Trump has the right idea about this election.
S10: Jamelle Bouie is a columnist with The New York Times. Jamelle. Thanks for joining us from your home in Charlottesville, Virginia.
S8: By the way, thank you for having me. Yep.
S6: Hey, so there’s a pandemic. Do you remember that, Emily Bazelon? There’s a pandemic, I mean, Arnold. To nine, 16 states have shown recent increases in case loads. At the same time, I don’t think anyone who’s been anywhere recently in an American city would deny that Americans, at least in cities, seem to be kind of owed over it. There is much less of the tight control and vast social distancing that we saw a month ago that has relaxed. Maybe you could say that that has slumped. Yet at the same time, the disease exists, the epidemic exists. Transmission continues. The jobs are gone. The patrons at restaurants are not back. The flights are not flying. The bus passengers are not getting on the bus.
S1: Camps in the states are not open. Nor are some summer programs that’s become a real divide among different places in the country.
S6: Yeah. And yet also the fundamentals are unchanged. There is no treatment that is effective. There is no vaccine. There is no real testing. There’s no real contact tracing. There is no coherent policy at a federal level. So where are we, Emily, as summer descends upon us?
S1: I think we’re in a waiting period. We did a lot to mitigate and suppress the virus. So the numbers came down. Now they’re ticking up in some places. And I think there’s a sense of fatigue about all the vigilance that it took to bring those numbers down. And then the way this virus works, there’s a lag time for it to start up again. I also think that as a result of the protests, which have featured a lot of masks and some social distancing, but also like a ton of people congregating in the same place. And I think because of that, we’re going to have another round of political polarization. If the virus ticks back up in places where there has been a lot of protesting. It’s gonna be conservative saying, hey, you blamed us. You said we couldn’t get out and protest and we couldn’t have our swim parties. And now look at you guys.
S3: But won’t the if the numbers do tick up, won’t the argument be.
S9: See, this is why we told you not to go have your summer birdies, because even when you’re outdoors, you still get it. I mean, what we’re having in the onset of summer. I mean, we’re having it first with marches, but then with summer is a test about seasonal variation and weather being outside and the warmer temperatures will change the way the virus is transmitted. Of course, that’s happening at the same time that we’ve all still even if people are returning to the streets, they are in some some places still keeping their distance and people are still wearing masks.
S12: Although I was traveling for work this week, and it’s certainly clear that the further south you go, the more relaxed people are about masks and social distancing.
S1: So, yeah, John, I think you’re right. But I have noticed that some public health specialists who are very condemning of the previous rounds of protests are much more welcoming and accepting of these. And, you know, there’s a reason for that. They think that, like, this is really important, that people’s lives are on the line in a way that they didn’t think when people were protesting. But I still think if you were a protester, if you felt like some suspicion that the government had just gone too far and that these epidemiologists were telling you not to do all kinds of things that were dear to you, like visit your loved ones in the hospital if they were dying. This is going to be hard to take this kind of acceptance of mass congregating.
S6: Absolutely. I mean. Yeah. I mean, it’s it is it’s a real hard hypocrisy for people to have to live with. And I think we you know, obviously we all want to hope that the mass congregating outside does not lead to an uptick in disease, because that means it’s you know, it’s less transmissible and it just means fewer people will be infected with less likely hood of a second spike, et cetera. But that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t you know, that people who whose protests were shouted down or were morally condemned a month ago shouldn’t be really genuinely miffed about what’s happening now. The sanctimony, the sanctimony about these protests around Koven stuff I think is a mistake.
S9: First of all, I mean, there are plenty of epidemiologists who are saying, oh, gosh, this is going to create a spike. And public health officials who are saying anybody who went to a march should go get tested because these are going to be super spreader events. So there are plenty of people who are still sounding the warning. Secondly, they’re happening at different times. So when the first round of behavioral restrictions were put in place, epidemiologists and public health officials were still trying to get their hands on how the virus was spread, how it worked, what the benefits of mass were. So forth and so on. It was also different weather conditions. So there may in fact, we might find some months later when we’re able to walk the cat back on all of this, that those initial efforts were too severe. But there were also initial efforts in situations where hospitals were trying to stay alive. The abilities to treat are now at least based on the conversations I had with infectious disease people this week. The treatments, you know, you’re you’re being sent home. Faster, if you’re at a certain level, they’re getting better at learning how to treat it. Which means we’re just at a different place today than we were three months ago.
S6: I mean, I think there’s some element of that. We certainly have learned. But there was a interesting piece in The New York Times just a few days ago that we’re six month in and hear all the things we still don’t know. We still don’t really know what the transmission patterns are. I think people are assuming they’re acting as though it’s safer to be outside. Surfaces aren’t that dangerous. And and, you know, it’s the weather may be helping. But like in terms of certainty, we’re not that much further along than we were a month ago. Those anti lockdown protests were not they were not March 1st. They were they were a month ago. And they were in warmer places sometimes. And there was an awful lot of really, really sanctimonious criticism of that. And I I just think people should be a bit humble, a bit humble about saying that what’s happening now is OK, too. It’s just we just don’t know.
S1: But how many people are really saying what’s happening now is, oh, there’s a letter that more than a thousand epidemiologists and doctors and social workers and medical students and other health experts have signed that support the protest because of its importance despite the pandemic.
S6: Well, there you go, John. I want to turn to some of the economic questions, because there is this there’s a shift in, I think, the way people are feeling about the disease and the urgency with which they’re there facing the epidemic. But the the catastrophe, the economic disaster remains for the country. We have another one point six million. I think people filed for unemployment this week. The total number of people who filed is in the 40 mid 40 millions. Now, PDP money is starting to run out for those organizations, those businesses that applied for money to tide them over through this emergency. People’s twelve hundred dollar stimulus checks are being probably spent by now. In many cases. We are in an economic hole that we’ve never been in before. Do you get any sense that the national government besides the Fed is dealing with that or is facing that with the seriousness they need to face it?
S9: No, not not anything close to the seriousness with which they need to face it, because we’re not just talking about measures necessary to kind of get the economy moving again, which would be all of the things you’d have to do in terms of tracing and in terms of testing and in terms of all those things. But secondarily, there is not the level of focus on all the long term challenges that are a result of this. I mean, when you think about, you know, schools, you’re going to reopen. Many schools won’t. State schools are going to take a bigger hit. Those state schools are the engine for getting people into the avenues of opportunity that are supposed to be a part of the American dream. And their funding has already been slashed over the last several years since the Great Recession. It’s going to be devastated even more as a result of this. And that’s a long term economic issue about the next generation of economic earners. I think one thing that is possibly a good sign is, you know, there are lots and lots of different experiments going on out there about how organizations reopen and what the key is a mask’s work. We know that and we know that social distancing works. I don’t know, you know, how that solves plane travel of the kind we used to do. There was a report in Lancet this week that sort of affirmed a lot of the data about masks and also about distancing. And so as institutions start to to succeed and people don’t get infected, then everybody else can go to school on what they did.
S1: One thing, too, that there was a paper months ago that said that or suggested strongly that masks did not work, which has actually been retracted. I think that’s really important. Like, we almost never go back and look at the bad predictions and the bad research. And I just want to put a pin on that. And also, along with plane travel, we’ve got to start thinking about buses and trains, which, of course, are the things that most people use every day to get to work and to move around. And that still seems kind of mysterious to me how we’re going to figure that out.
S6: But most people use their car.
S1: So I take cheesily subways. So, OK. Public transportation is important. But there are other people in the world.
S6: Public transportation is public transportation. Well, actually a tiny fraction of a petition. But it is a place where other forms of transmission. That’s for sure.
S9: Yeah. Well, and also the communities that have been hardest hit in cities by Kovik 19, I’m guessing, are probably more bus and train riders than commute into the city and their car driver. Yeah.
S1: Not everybody has a car.
S6: David Plotz, speaking of bad early science. Emily, the there’s also news this week that the drug that President Trump touted took hydroxy chloroquine has now been completely disavowed. Essentially, that it was it has earlier been shown to have showed no beneficial effects on people who actually had covered 19 is now shown to have had no preventative benefits.
S9: In a study, basically, it’s no different than taking a vitamin or placing wacko side effects. Right. Right.
S6: No, but I meant just in the narrow question of whether yet we wasted a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of distraction on this drug. And that’s a shame. And it’s not that we shouldn’t we should expect there to be lots of failures. I think there’s no there’s no shame in having failures and there’s no shame. And even people getting excited about drugs that turn out to be failures, that the shame is that the president hyped it up so much. There was so much emphasis in the administration that it really for some period of weeks, it put way disproportionate attention on this distrust and the study of this drug, which just delayed the study of the 10 other drugs that might be effective. They could have been studied during that time. So that’s the.
S1: Meanwhile, we still don’t have nationally effective testing and contact tracing, which we could have been thinking and talking about during that time that we wasted.
S4: Hmm. Hmm, hmm. Hmm, hmm. Hmm.
S9: Mm hmm. One one just quick thing. One quick thing about. You’re exactly right, David. You know, I mean, it’s fine for for. You want presidents to push experimentation and action and all that. But disproportionate and unfounded is not the way to go.
S6: Emily, let’s close this topic with a with a question that I’m interested in. So given that the fundamentals are unchanged, we don’t have a vaccine, we don’t have a therapy. We have hope that the weather and sort of chip masking behavior and so forth will reduce transmission. But we don’t have certainty about that. That is combined with the fact that people do feel sort of exhausted clearly and are just. Sick of it all. Is it okay that we’ve moved from anxious risk elimination mode into kind of like risk reduction mode? Is that OK?
S1: I mean, personally, I was never someone who was wiping off my packages. Seems like we don’t have to worry about pets transmitting the virus, which is helpful. You know, I’m not gonna go to a big event for a long time. I guess I feel like everybody in many people in their hearts have a certain number of like a certain amount of license they’re giving themselves, like a certain amount of chips to spend on some risk. And I hope that we think of that as quite limited risk. But I feel like we’re each kind of making a new set of bargains. And so I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends like, you know, we’ll invite two people over to sit in our backyard. They’ll show up with math. They kind of look at us like, do we need to keep these masks on? And like in my house? No, we are willing to let you take your mask off if you’re sitting more than six feet away from us and each other or whoever. And you’re in the backyard. And that seems to be OK. But I live in a place where, while New Haven has been quite hard hit by Corona virus, my neighborhood much less hit because of residential segregation and socioeconomic discrimination or socioeconomic segregation. So I maybe. I think there’s like a lot of privilege and luck that goes along with this. And that’s actually quite devastating. The notion that you’re safer just because, like, you live in a nicer or more affluent part of town or part of the country, I really feel just such dismay about that part of of the way that viruses work. Like they you know, this is has been part of their history for centuries. And it’s terrible.
S11: Let’s go to cocktail chatter.
S6: When you are having a June beverage with all the many Dickersons, John, what are you gonna be chattering about with them if they’re still talking to me?
S5: I’m going to talk to them about my colleague Emily Bazelon piece on what college will look like in the fall, which is something I’m working on, too. But it’s a great conversation that she did. That’s in The Times. And what’s great is it has all the different. It has lots and lots of different angles on this story, which are which are important.
S12: And we talked about it on this show. But there’s a lot more to it. And it touches on every different part of our culture, not just, you know, who goes to school and not. So anyway, I recommend it.
S1: Well, thank you, John Dickerson. That was very nice of you.
S4: Emily Bazelon, what is your chatter and are you going to praise either me or John in it?
S1: No, I’m not going to praise either of you. Someday I might do that, but not today. I want to recommend a book called A River of Stars by the NASA. Hooah! Hope I’m saying your name correctly, Vanessa Hua. It’s a really lovely, rollicking novel about immigration and the challenges of moving to this country, in particular to Chinatown and San Francisco. I think I can say that without giving away too much. Has it just super memorable? Main character. I really loved it. So if you’re looking for it, it’s I’ve been having trouble getting absorbed into novels, which is like one of my favorite things in the world is to be really immersed in a novel. And I tried a few books this summer that I just can’t get myself to concentrate on because of the level of distraction, dismay that so many of us are consumed by. But this book broke through. I really enjoyed it. A River of Stars by Vanessa H.
S6: UAI my chatter. I’ll mention a novel. It’s broke through for me, which is that I’m reading the The New Hunger Games prequel by Suzanne Collins, which which I don’t I can’t read the title of its song Birds and Snakes or Something. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. I think I if you were a fan of The Hunger Games series, I think this book is really brilliant about political structures. And it’s a great world building. And it’s a fascinating picture into the world that exists, that becomes the world of the Hunger Games is that when we when we catch up to it with the the main series. So I strongly recommend it. I also want to point out an amazing piece by Anne Applebaum.
S1: Oh, my God.
S6: Totally in Atlantic. So the and who has been on the show before is a brilliant political journalist and thinker and the kind of best writer on totalitarianism and had totalitarianism happens and on communism, post-World War Two, Communism has written an article for the Atlantic. Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles in support of an immoral and dangerous president? History will judge the complicit. And it’s a look tries to understand why somebody like Lindsey Graham, who has lived a principled life up until the Trump presidency, would would become such a such a lackey for such a vile person. And why would Graham abandon principles he believed in? And why would Mitt Romney not? And it’s it’s just a fascinating look at what is it? What are the human motivations, the structural motivations, the economic motivations, the psychological motivations that cause people to to work with governments and human beings they know to be villainous. What are the rationalizations that we all make? And it’s a really sobering, depressing.
S1: Story and it makes you realize, shant, my God. I mean, it closed before the current wave of unrest and it just it’s so incisive about exactly what is at the top of the mind, at least for me right now.
S6: It does always remind me I. This is something I really tried to tell myself and remind myself all the time. I’m not a person of tremendous moral courage. I’m not kidding myself. I’m a selfish person who wants to get ahead in the world. And you sort of think like there. But for the grace of God, it’s very, very, very hard to resist when people around you have made decisions to compromise morally, to work with it. Work with villainy. It’s very hard to resist it. There almost no one does. And that’s why structures that prevent villainy. That’s why structures that put in safeguards against Filani institutions, structures, laws, rules. Non non partisan systems are so important because they prevent the the the tendency for all of us to go along with whatever the power structure is from. From that, it just sort of holds us back from becoming Nazis and. Because a lot of us won’t. A lot of us won’t be held back.
S1: One of the things I like to about this piece is and as a kind of taxonomy of the reasons why people become complicit and some of them are super soft, like especially in America today, it’s much more about, you know, worrying about social approbation or not getting invited to the right dinner parties than it is about being thrown in jail. So it’s hard. But it’s hard, partly because of our very weak human psychologies.
S12: You know, I was talking to someone recently about whether and how you would change this study of history. And they argued that or we sort of came to in this conversation, no question, or thinking about whether it’s interesting to study the periods in history where progress dropped. So obviously, reconstruction. You know, what happened after the civil rights movement where in America things went awry? And why and what allowed the slow accretion to take place? And which seems like I’ve read this article, though. I saw. It seems like what she’s talking about. And Jefferson at the very beginning said it wasn’t just that an informed citizenry was important. He said that the most important thing to study was these failures of the past, because only then could you see them coming and understand just that human behaviors that David was articulating earlier.
S4: Listeners, you have been a source of great chatter’s for us all the time.
S6: You’ve been tweeting to us at Slate Gabfest Works of culture. Things that you’ve seen, articles you’ve read, books you’ve read that you find worthy of discussion at your virtual cocktail parties. And this week’s. Listener chatter comes from David Forman. And it was actually just, I think, an email directly to me. So thanks, David Forman. And it’s a video from a on v o an, which is a great science magazine or science history, I suppose, publication. And it’s a video from the early 1930s taken at the top of the Chrysler Building. It’s a series of conversations with the men who are working on finishing the Chrysler Building. So there there’s one fantastic scene where there, you know, those iconic kind of eagle eagle gargoyles almost that stick out from the top of the Chrysler Building where they’re hammering one of those on and trying to get that thing to fit. And then you see them just kind of hanging, climbing out on these steel beams a thousand feet above the street, just talking about what it’s like to work there. It’s amazing. It’s delightful. They’re just monkeying about making jokes about how high up they are, talking about what unions are up there. They all have these New York accents that are you don’t even hear anymore. I mean, they’re probably like six people left to have New York accents like this, but they’re just it’s just such intense, thick, vivid, old timey New York accents. It’s it’s great. John, I watched this and I was thinking of you. You should watch it. You will love it. It’s your kind of thing.
S9: I know. I like I I’m like them wanting to go watch it right now. It reminds me of that that famous photograph of a man taking their lunch break on a girder.
S2: That is our show for today. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe to the gabfests. You’ll get new episodes the second they’re published. We’re produced by Jocelyn Frank, our researchers, Bridget Dunlap. Gabriel Roth is editorial director, June Thomas as managing producer. And Alicia Montgomery is the executive producer of Slate podcasts. Please follow us on Twitter at at Slate gabfests and tweet chatter to us there for Emily and John. I’m David Plotz. Thanks for listening. Don’t forget our live show. Please join us for our live show next week, June 10th. We’re going to be live. Go to Slate dot com slash live for more info. We’re going to do a whole show. You can be able to see us vividly. And we’re gonna talk about the week’s news. And we are going to give a special segment to Jon’s magnificent new book. So please join us for our first, quote, unquote, live show of the pandemic.
S14: Next Wednesday, June 10th. Slate dot com slash alive for more info.
S6: Hello. Slate plus. How are you? We’re going to talk now about Jim Matus. We’re not going to call him Mad Dog Mattis, which is what President Trump likes to call him, but he doesn’t like to be called that.
S4: John wrote an amazing story about Mattis for Slate many, many years ago, which I edited. And John, I spent a lot of time with with Mattis, who then went on to become he was a Marine general. Marine commander. I think. Right. John went on to become the defense secretary for the first two years of the Trump presidency and then resigned in protest over some Trump decisions. He’s now come out with a letter in the Atlantic or an article in The Atlantic in which he deplores the president’s division, where the president tries to divide the country and not unite the country. John, you know, Mammoth’s, you’ve spent a lot of time with him over the years. Is it surprising that he wrote this? And is it surprised he took so long to write it?
S15: It’s a little surprising. Well, I don’t know. This is what happens with with him. I mean, it’s both surprising in the sense that he believes very firmly that, you know, he because of what he has dedicated his career to and because he sends a signal in the way he behaves to all of those who are still in the military. And because he believes in the underlying rules of the military that he owes the president his silence, he also had a larger sense.
S12: If one of his criticisms of the president is that the president is breaking the norms, traditions, rules at the heart of his job and at the heart of America, then he can’t then decide, well, the ends justify the means in my case, because it sort of has an implicit undermining of his case with Trump, which is that his ends justify the means. Behavior is antithetical to the post and to the country.
S15: And then I think there’s a third piece, which I don’t know from my conversations with him explicitly, but I think is implicit, which is that basically he he knew if he someday had to speak out, that he would, that he would and that it wouldn’t and that his reserve in previous instances would perhaps give him more authority. I haven’t talked to him since this since he posted this. And so I don’t really know all the all the thinking. You know, he has been concerned for a by the way, just one random interview glued here.
S5: The president, after Mattis wrote this in a strange tweet which said that he basically said that he was responsible for giving Mattis the Mad Dog nickname. Now, this is totally wrong, of course. But one of the interesting things about him calling Mattis mad dog is that Mattis hates that nickname because it.
S12: Yes. You know, undifferentiated, unthinking aggression, which he siles himself and thinks that himself and in fact, is a person who thinks through and and reads a great deal and tries to be intentionally considered in his actions, whether you agree with him or not.
S5: But to claim in this moment to spend the energy of the presidency on seizing the turf of having given him the nickname. I mean, is this what we did about the nickname?
S1: Yeah, he yeah. In his like, oh, and I fired Matus 50000. Not you, right.
S5: Oh he has no definite talk about. But don’t forget Talca. Yes. Talk about Miss Prioritization. Emily is exactly right. What’s most extraordinary is he said that he fire matters, which he didn’t do, but which leads us to why Matt resigned, which was, you know, in his in his time as secretary of defense when he was the he was the the you know, the Vaisse catcher in the in the China shop as the president was barreling through, keeping alliances intact, retaining the the world connections that are a part of that he thinks are necessary for the U.S. military so that the U.S. military doesn’t have to be used in keeping the ongoing engagements that the U.S. is engaged in, full of the coalitions that make it so that fewer U.S. soldiers have to participate, doing all of those things. And the president was a constant source to undermine that. So that was the reason he left. In addition to the fact and he wrote this publicly, that he thought that America’s partisan’s division was was going to crack the country apart. And basically what he wrote. So that’s what he wrote when he left. And that’s what he wrote about more recently with respect to what the president has been gauged in recently, that the that the president is, in fact, the job requires him to be a unifier and he is not being one. And and Mattis mentions, you know, puts things back in prior perspective with respect to the to the to the demonstrators. And he says we must not be. By a small number of lawbreakers, I mean, his point is there’s a much bigger thing going on here that requires comment and response from a president of the United States in a job where you are tasked with trying to unify the nation. And when you put the energy and symbolism of your job towards rooting out the small number of lawbreakers, you just have the wrong end of the stick with the job and with your duties is basically his argument.
S6: Emily, do you think this matters? Do you think it makes any difference in Madis? You know, we know he Maddis is a is a ferociously patriotic American and a great public servant. And he you know, the fact that he did serve. This this president, the fact that he was willing to break assignments is significant, but really, is this. Is this something it makes a difference?
S1: I think it does, partly because it comes in combination with other military officials, current and former, saying that they serve the Constitution, not the president. And also, they and Mattis have made strong statements against police violence toward black people and in favor of these protests as a matter of free speech and civil rights. And all of that helps to kind of write the political discourse, like fix the political discourse. I mean, and also to take some of the partisanship and polarization out of the discussion and just have some kind of more common sense centering about American constitutional values. I think there’s a really interesting conversation. And this brings us to an Apple Bombs article, which you were talking about earlier, David, about people who decide to go inside an administration they may believe and see is deeply flawed and experience it that way. But they think they’re serving a purpose. And I’ve been pretty skeptical of that approach. And one of the things I found so satisfying about reading an article was how forthright she is about the importance of basically like quitting and leaving and deserting and refusing to countenance it. But I think with Mattis, because American foreign policy and our interest internationally were so much on the line, you could see the argument for it more than some other people. And of course, what he resigned over was our desertion of the Kurds in Syria, which he saw as this just fundamental strategic and moral betrayal. So I think to have him speak up at this moment does have impact. And I also hope that it will open a door for more people in the military and in the Republican Party to join him. And I think, you know, one of the questions is like, why aren’t we seeing this from more Republicans, from more sitting Republican senators, from Republican politicians?
S15: And that’s a really good point, that this puts pressure. Just picking up on your point. Emily, if this is to matter, which I think it could at least, you know, as it adheres to other things, which is if it matters, it matters with a group of people who respect matters for his reticence, who are perhaps who may have even voted for Donald Trump, military veterans who put a lot of stock in Matisses career, and therefore he has his reticence to speak and his duty to end his. It is, you know, a sense of service which, you know, joining administration that he might not have agreed with its president all gives him standing in this moment and therefore might give him a hearing with that group of voters or that group of them of Americans. So, you know, so the people who discounted him from the beginning are not likely to be Trump supporters in the first place. And the question it’s a very question of of loyalty to a president is. And in the context you raised it, Emily, is is really interesting because it it here it has to do with this specific president. It has to do with, you know, what’s the general rule and then what is the rule with respect to this particular president? And where does duty stop? If you were to if you were to try to go to the next president who might pose these challenges, there’s a way in which I think people might say, well, that it was Donald Trump. He was just like this aberration. And that’s what seems to be so useful about an Apple mom’s piece is the way you guys describe it, which is, no, there are patterns here and that we should learn from the pattern and not make it seem so idiosyncratic because of the highly idiosyncratic president.
S1: Yeah. I think also, like everyone’s lives are being affected right now and such immediate and vivid ways. Right. Whether it’s covert or the protests like this is regular Americans. This isn’t like professionals in Washington worrying about the rule of law, which is deeply important, but can feel, add or remove. And so I think it matters that these military folks have picked this moment a moment. That is it. It’s the the connection is immediate. First, so many more people in the American public.
S15: Can I just one other thing that I feel like I want to. I should have interjected in our conversation about it during the regular show. But Madison’s claim is that basically. Well, as he says, we are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. What’s he talking about? The deliberate effort is an effort to divide Americans. I mean, so what he’s charging is that the president has been in a three year deliberate effort to undermine one of the key duties of his office. Which is to unify America. Now, people have said that before Bob Corker looked at me like I was crazy when when I said, do you think this effort is deliberate? And I mean, many of his critics, of course, have charged this from before the election. And there are clearly his divide and conquer approach is a part of. He prides himself on it. But a three year deliberate effort to undermine a central tenet of the job is what Matisses is also claiming, which is beyond. You know, he’s stepping outside of his military assessment of whether the president is using the troops in the right way. This is a thoroughgoing critique about the president actively undermining the country, which is a sufficient security threat to its health. That Madison Maddis thinks it’s worth talking about. And in that way that, you know, strings together, the response Tuesday with St. John’s, which is to spend more of the offices capital on a show of force than on listening to the protesters. It goes back to Charlottesville, which was the same disparity in response. It wasn’t that the president didn’t say that the white supremacists were bad. He said they were bad. He just said it late and with lot less energy than he seemed to be applying towards a host of other things which were not higher on the priority list as defined by his office. And that seems to be a kind of a critique that goes kind of shoots through the whole presidency that Madis is making, not just a response to this moment.
S11: All right. Thanks, Lou. Plus, we’ll talk to you next week.