On Thursday’s Morning Joe, Willie Geist solo-hosted a segment where he and the rest of the panel supposedly got to the bottom of Trump’s NFL comments opposing football players protesting during the performance of the National Anthem: it was all a dastardly plot to appeal to Americans’ inherent racism and thereby distract them from the fact that Trump is trying to hurt them with terrible policies.
The segment started off with Geist introducing Time magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief Massimo Calabresi to talk about his publication’s latest cover story:
WILLIE GEIST: The controversy is the subject of this week’s Time magazine cover story, quote: “Why He Always Bounces Back.” That’s the headline. […] Massimo, good to have you with us this morning. What more did you find out in researching your cover piece about why President Trump is so deeply engaged and leaning in so hard to this NFL story?
MASSIMO CALABRESI: Well it’s really a case study in how Trump manages the multiple crises that come at any president. In this case he had North Korean nukes, he had the health care problems, he had the hurricane in Puerto Rico. And what does he choose to talk about? He’s talking about football players. But, it really is a model for how he has managed the Presidency. And in this case, he’s actually right to say that he’s winning. The polls show that people are supporting him on thisand he did manage to get away from subjects he didn’t want to be talking about.
It seems a bit odd to claim that Trump has been unwilling to talk about topics like North Korea, health care, and Puerto Rico, given that he has talked about all of them quite a bit over the past couple of weeks, but otherwise, Massimo’s analysis isn’t an unreasonable one. He does appear to be correct about polling generally supporting Trump’s stance on the NFL teams’ protests. Even a poll that Reuters touted as showing a majority of Americans disagreeing with Trump on firing athletes who kneel during the anthem still found that 58% of those polled agreed that “professional athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem at sporting events.” Other polls have found similar results.