Welcome to Sunday Four-Play!
NBC News’ long-running tagline “If it’s Sunday, it’s ‘Meet the Press” has long been seared into our brains. Of course, NBC’s legendary Sunday morning show has been a TV staple for 75 years and counting—and it only feels like Chuck Todd has hosted for the past 80 of those.
But while Todd is being replaced in September by the far more palatable Kristen Welker, this column will soldier on indefinitely, assuming it doesn’t get pulled immediately after its first installment, like whatever this thing is.
That said, it would be weirdly brash—and wildly premature—to say, “If it’s Sunday, it’s Sunday-Four Play.” But I hope you’ll make this humble column a regular part of your Sunday routine nonetheless. Every weekend I’ll share four notable Sunday show clips, festoon them with snark, and send you off into the coming week either slightly more enlightened or very much more bewildered.
I doubt I can keep it up for 75 big ones, as I plan on spending my golden years attaining Howard Hughes levels of reclusion, regularly walking to Fred Meyer in Kleenex-box slippers and sucking the entrails out of eyeless fish in subterranean caves like Gollum. But I can assure you none of that will happen until I’m through making fun of Ted Cruz.
So what do you say? Let’s get this show on the road.
Vivek Ramaswamy is a … guy. Who’s running for president. As a Republican.
Can you feel the Ramaswamy-mania? I sure can. Sort of.
Indeed, the closest relatable experience is when you walk into a spider web and spend the next 20 minutes pawing at your face to clear away the oddly irksome strands of nothing, while emotionally coping with the seemingly metaphysical certitude that there’s now a spider in your hair.
Ramaswamy no doubt knows he’s a long-shot candidate, so he’s trying to dominate the “promise to pardon the unrepentant insurrectionist/secret documents thief who’s running against you instead of criticizing him for being a multiply indicted proto-felon” lane in the crowded GOP primary field.
Of course, sucking up to Donald Trump—who, again, is directly competing against all these jabronis—hardly sets Ramaswamy apart from the rest of his primary opponents, so his strategy is to suck up harder and longer and with ever-more alacrity until he basically looks like Lindsey Graham fucked a tub of Tang.
On Sunday, he joined Kasie Hunt on CNN’s “State of the Union” to insist he will be president one day and will totally pardon Trump when that happens.
HUNT: “Let’s move on now to, federal prosecutors added new obstruction of justice charges against former President Donald Trump on Thursday. The superseding indictment says that after Trump learned that the Justice Department wanted to subpoena security footage from Mar-a-Lago, Trump talked with an aide who later told the IT director at Mar-a-Lago that, quote, the boss, end quote, wanted the footage deleted. Now I know you’ve said repeatedly that you would pardon Trump in this documents case, but this is significant new information. So given this new information, would you still pardon him if you were president?”
RAMASWAMY: “The standard I use as our next president is, what moves our country forward? What is the right thing for the United States of America ...”
HUNT: “Right, and would having a president like this move it forward?”
RAMASWAMY: “… the right answer is to move on and I would pardon him. I intend to be our next president, and yes I do believe I will move us forward, and yes I think one of the right ways to do that is to pardon the former president of the United States from what is clearly a politicized prosecution. And I’ll share a view with you, Kasie. This is not specific to Trump. This is part of my broader view on justice system in our country. I think that our general norm in our Justice Department is that you should not convict somebody of a process crime when there was no actual underlying crime. I think that’s a major problem ...”
HUNT: “So you think destroying evidence is a process crime?”
RAMASWAMY: “I think it is by definition a process crime. Nobody, left, right, any legal scholar will agree with me on that statement. That is by definition a process crime—a crime that would not have existed but for the existence of an investigation. And if we look ourselves in the mirror over the last several years—even look at the acquittal in the [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer case, the fact that two people were acquitted of entrapment. I think it’s a bad habit that our FBI and DOJ have gotten into—creating crimes that would not have existed but for their actions. And I think as it relates to moving forward as a country, I absolutely think that the right answer for the country is to put the grievances of the past behind us, to pardon President Trump, so we can move forward as one nation rather than marching toward a national divorce.”
So stealing highly sensitive government documents and showing them to the person ghostwriting Mark Meadows’ pop-up book is a “process crime” now?
Republicans! Please! Wean yourself off Trump. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the only GOPster actually running for president right now. Look at what he’s doing. Take notes. Hoping Trump will choke to death reenacting the “Lady and the Tramp” noodle scene with Vladimir Putin and a half-baked spiral ham is not a real strategy. It’s just wishful thinking.
Speaking of Christie, more than anyone else these days, he embodies the old adage that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” He may be just as awful as your typical Republican when it comes to policy—and his candidacy may be a bridge too far—but goddamn if he isn’t entertaining these days. As the only GOP candidate truly running against Trump, he’s free to say whatever he wants. And that’s exactly what he’s doing.
He also joined Hunt on “State of the Union” and immediately turned the spotlight on Ramaswamy, et al.’s, craven nonsense.
HUNT: “I’d like to know, when you look at this new evidence, is there a clearcut case of obstruction of justice here?”
CHRISTIE: “It appears that way, Kasie. You look at it, it’s pretty brazen. These guys were acting like the Corleones with no experience. The day after a grand jury subpoena is served, which includes the surveillance tapes, they go down to Mar-a-Lago, and Walt Nauta appears to be the Fredo of this family—they sent him to go down there, and they sent him to go and delete it. This is bad stuff, and you can’t say there was no underlying potential crime here. This was the withholding of confidential, classified information from the government, after 18 months of asking Donald Trump to return it voluntarily. Not only did he not return it, he lied about having it. this is not the kind of thing we can do. I want you to think, Kasie, for a second about the potential effect on our troops and our intelligence officers by having this stuff just laying around and him just willy-nilly showing it to whoever he feels like to be a showoff on the back deck at Mar-a-Lago. This is not what a former president should be doing, and it’s certainly not something that someone who wants to be president should be doing.”
And now for something completely different … and far weirder.
Every major network has its own Sunday show these days, including right-wing propaganda outlets that have paid for their brazen and knowing lies to the tune of $787 million.
Trump legal spokesperson Alina Habba joined Fox News Sunday host Shannon Bream to discuss Donald Trump’s balls and the increasingly baroque series of vises they find themselves in. Let’s join the convo at 1:30 in the clip:
BREAM: “Okay, let’s talk about another poll. This one comes out this week showing a majority of Americans, 51%, now do believe that President Trump did something illegal. Another 27% think he did something at least unethical, so how do you overcome that perception with jurors, that’s the first step, and also with voters?”
HABBA: “I think with the facts. So let’s talk about the facts, which the American people need to know. In that indictment, the new superseding indictment that came out, in which they tried to get another headline for President Trump, was facts that said President Trump what, did what? What was the obstruction of justice? Because no tapes were deleted, he turned them over. He cooperated as he always does. But they would like the American public to believe in these bogus indictments, that there are some facts that say that President Trump was obstructing justice. When he has his turn in court, and when we get to file our papers, you will see that every single video, every single surveillance tape that was requested, was turned over. If President Trump didn’t want something turned over, I assure you, that is something that could have been done. But he never would act like that. He is the most ethical American I know.”
Hope you weren’t sipping your Sanka when you read that last line. If so, sorry for not warning you. Of course, if Trump is the most ethical American Habba knows, I shudder to think who she’s been hanging out with.
Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s rude to offer a palate cleanser after loading a T-shirt cannon with a pailful of psychedelic toads and firing it point-blank into your perpetually gobsmacked face, but this will help, I swear.
The vice president of the United States, everyone! Why has our country abandoned sensible immigration reform? Republicans, that’s why. But it hasn’t always been this way.
Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on “ABC This Week” with Linsey Davis and scolded today’s GOP for its wide-ranging awfulness on this issue.
DAVIS: “Busloads of migrants have been dropped off right at your doorstep by some GOP-led states. Despite those tactics, you do have Republicans who are largely making inroads with Latino voters, and there are many critics, some within your own party, who say that there’s more that your administration should be doing on the migration front. Do they have a point?”
HARRIS: “So, first of all, let’s agree that people should not be the pawns in a political game. Human beings should not be treated as pawns in a political game. What is happening in terms of sending these migrants, most of whom have fled great harm, and sending them across the country for the sake of some political showmanship is just irresponsible. If you want to deal with the problem, then do it, if you are a leader, by participating in the solution. And one very clear solution, very significant solution, has been in front of us for years now. We need to pass immigration reform. You know, there was a time where George Bush, John McCain, others who, people who differed on many other issues, agree—let’s be sensible and solution-oriented on this issue.”
Wait, you mean building walls that you can saw through in minutes with a $100 saw you can find at Home Depot isn’t a sensible solution? Preventing willing workers from moving here when they would go a long way toward addressing a serious short- and long-term domestic labor shortage isn’t sensible?
But wait! There’s more!
Here are some more noteworthy Sunday clips to help ease you into your week:
See you next week—unless I see you in the comments.
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.