Just as the earliest reports started to come in about Iran’s ballistic missile strike on a U.S. military base in Iraq, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow sat down with Seth Meyers to help explain the fast-moving news story that has dominated 2020.
Maddow called the latest developments a “really big deal,” adding “The U.S. really started something here and maybe that was strategically wise, but you have to hope that the people in charge really, really thought this through.”
The Late Night host, who took President Trump and his media defenders to task the night before, wasn’t so sure. He wanted to get Maddow’s take on the reports that Trump’s military advisers gave him a list of options on how to deal with Iran and included the killing of General Qassem Soleimani as a deliberately “extreme” choice in the hopes that he would pick something more reasonable. “Do you think it’s foolhardy for his advisers to ever give him an option that is so extreme that they think he won’t take it?” he asked.
“Your take on this on your show last night I thought was actually perfect,” Maddow replied, paraphrasing Meyers as asking, “Has anybody ever briefed these advisers on Donald Trump? Because if you offer him a bunch of kind of normal ideas and one cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs idea, there’s no reason to believe that cuckoo for cocoa puffs will seem at all different or less palatable for him.”
“Especially because he wants to be the guy who did the thing that nobody has done before right?” Meyers asked. “And so you don’t want to be like, ‘And this one’s too crazy, no one’s ever done it, you’d have to be like a super kick-ass guy to even think about it’ and he’d go, ‘Hold on, go back to that one.’”
Before Trump decided to kill the top Iranian military commander, Maddow pointed out that no U.S. president thought it was a “good idea” to go hang out with the “dictatorial, messianic, cuckoo leader of North Korea,” which may have been exactly why he did it.
“There isn’t any part of his head that thinks, no other president has wanted to do this probably for a reason,” she added. “And so something like this, that other administrations had considered and rejected as being too risky for American national security, we haven’t had an explanation as to why he thought this was worth it and why he did it now.”