So while Mika Brzezinski is asking "is this America?" after more than one Trump staffer uses military office as a way of deflecting criticism....
Tom Brokaw wants to report from the "other America," where cheerleaders from opposing college teams do a cheer together, the economy of Sioux Falls is doing just great, and people don't like all the shouting in Washington DC.
Tom, I live in flyover country. We aren't getting much sleep out here because most of us have children in the CHIP program, which hasn't been renewed by Congress yet.
We've had ten months of everything the so-called president telling us is a lie.
The EPA chief is a polluter. The Education chief is a privatizer. The Treasury chief is an idiot whose highest priority is spoiling his trophy wife on the taxpayer dime.
We're worried that the tweeter-in-chief is going to start a nuclear war with North Korea.
And we don't think much of his tax cut for billionaires, paid for with borrowed Chinese loans and stealth cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Which it clearly is.
And dammit Tom, Donald Trump is a puppet to Vladimir Putin!
Yes we go to football games and try to get along. But this White House is a cancer on our country and if 30 some percent of us are too mesmerized by Hannity to know that, THAT is the story you should be reporting.
Mika Brzezinski, to her credit this time, pushes back on the "why don't we all get along in spite of what Donald Trump does?" No, really, he said that.
BROKAW: I offer that as a kind of an example of what's going on out there. Then I come back, and I see unbelievable, unending attention to what happened with this tragedy in Niger, and I think only about that family that lost that young man, and the bravery of him, and that's been lost, and everybody involved is guilty. Everybody is guilty. Beginning with the congresswoman who first went public with it, and then introduced the idea of racism. General Kelly, I couldn't believe he said what he said, and President Trump, not to have gotten involved in it. But out there the country has a better perspective on what counts in life, frankly.
MIKA: Well, can I push back and say the congresswoman wouldn't have spoken if a call hadn't been made and if the president hadn't made false -- and that's
BROKAW: -- but he made the call, and it was a clumsy terrible attempt -- attempt.
MIKA: But right before that, Tom, the president was on the record to reporters saying that former presidents never did this.
BROKAW: I know. That was wrong.
MIKA: Then he made the call trying to, I think hastily, to cover his tracks.
BROKAW: But she jumped into it.
MIKA: She was there. Family friend.
BROKAW: Because everybody wanted to politicize, she's a friend of the family. There's a moment in which he says this is a very unfortunate incident, but let the family grieve. Let's rally together around this family and pay tribute to the bravery, but then she wouldn't walk away from it,
MIKA: ...and General Kelly took it to a different level.
BROKAW: I think all parties here were participants, and I see my friends over there nodding their heads a little bit as well. The fact is that we've got to step back from everything has to go to Defcon one, the political fight of code red. The political fight is designed to polarize the country, to send everybody to far corners when you have the tragedy of a death in Niger, and the fact is they're there because for some time ISIS and the Taliban will be occupying several parts of Africa. I was told three years ago that's the next big battlefield down there. That's why we're there. They're spreading out.
HAROLD FORD JR. Tom's list of experiences, we've all experienced it when we travel elsewhere. The challenge now is what it was during the other years is can we take that spirit that exists at civic events, sports events, political events all over the country and imbibe Washington with the sense -- that's what a lot of Americans want rather than the shouting voices.
MIKA: I don't disagree. I'm not sure how we get there.
FORD: I hope we can find that spirit that you see out there. And we see it when you travel the country. I think the president has to be bigger, and there's no doubt -- I mean, I don't think the conversation should have been talked about. The congresswoman, I think was only with the family. But probably should not have done it. However, the president should leave it alone. He's shown no capacity to do that. I think once both sides kept escalating, I hope General Kelly, I think he's a decent man and loves his country. He should come out and correct the record, and the president should move on, and we should begin to understand what we're doing in Niger and understand what's going to happen in Iran. Are they going to enumerate the issues and get to the issues like this morning, North Korea. These are the things the president should be focusing on.
BROKAW: I'm the first to say he said other presidents didn't make the calls when it was not true.
MIKA: It was a lie.
BROKAW: But once it started, everybody is too eager to escalate it, to jump on and keep it going in some fashion instead of coming back and saying the president was wrong, we have to come together especially as a young man was killed in a remote place, and his family is grieving. When you see his widow kissing the casket, there's a kind of junior high fight going on elsewhere, that's not worthy of this country. It begins to reinforce what's going on.
RICHARD HAASS: You have a slightly idyllic view of what's going on. This is a truly divided country, and people are deciding where they're going to live. Whether it's gerrymandering or a decision to live in a like-minded community. We live in a country that is more economically and politically divided than at any time in our lives. Washington is reflecting it. We shouldn't kid ourselves.
MIKA: Isn't the -- it is more of a challenge when the president doesn't appear to have the capacity to wrap his arms around any of the issues, and name one, if I'm wrong, it's always somebody else's fault. And "fast and loose with the facts" is not an adequate description.
BROKAW: Whatever comes to mind, he throws it out, and then we spend time chasing it down. It might be helpful to stand back, make it clear how he went I don't think, but at the same time have the discussion about getting beyond the yeah yeah yeah, business, about the kind of junior high fights and have more discussions about how we go to the next level despite what the president is saying.
RICHARD HAASS: That's where a lot of people, particularly the Republicans in Congress share a lot of responsibility.
MIKA: I agree.
HAASS: They're unwilling to take him in on most of the policies, and the American people get it.
MIKA: And unwilling to stand up for what's right. When the president is lying, the president is lying. He's not speaking in hyperbole. You can't explain it. He just lying, simple, plain lying.
You're praising flyover country for getting on with life "despite what the president is saying," Tom? That's normalizing. We will do what we have to, to mentally SURVIVE this so-called presidency.
And not with any help from you and your rose colored glasses on the plains.
PS My midwest colleague has a message for Tom Brokaw.