CNN Likens 'Worst President' Trump to Benedict Arnold

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Friday's CNN Tonight, CNN liberals Don Lemon and Douglas Brinkley got too far ahead of themselves in predicting that Donald Trump would end up in the ash heap of history as the two seized on a poll finding that the President's approval rating had dropped to 29 percent after the Capitol Hill riots.

Lemon declared that Trump would be remembered as the "worst President in history," and Brinkley likened him to the infamous traitor Benedict Arnold and predicted that his name might be removed from some of his buildings because it will be seen as "hate speech."

But, just a couple of days later on Sunday's Meet the Press, NBC host Chuck Todd informed his viewers of an NBC News poll finding President Trump's approval rating holding steady at 43 percent, virtually where it has always been.

Lemon introduced the segment by recalling that President Trump is planning to hold festivities to mark his departure from the White House and celebrate his presidency, and then scoffed at the President's plans as he went to CNN presidential historian Brinkley and cracked: "I mean, y'all, can he embarrass himself any further? I mean, he just -- he's embarrassing. Cut it out. Douglas, come on, man."

After Brinkley likened Trump to a "tin pot dictator" and asserted that "rational" people are "scorning him right now," Lemon jumped back in to gloat over a set of poll numbers from Pew Research Center alleging bad news for the President: "Impeached for a second time. Instigating insurrection, as you said, to stay in power. 29 percent approval rating, the lowest of his presidency. And 68 percent don't want him to remain a national political figure. Terrible end."

Brinkley was negative in his predictions for Trump as he responded:

He could end up at 20 percent which means he's a fringe kind of weird third party figure. He's like Lyndon LaRouche in the end or perhaps George Wallace. He'll have his fan base but it's going to be hard for him to find a platform. i mean, any serious tech company is not going to touch him with a 10-foot pole, and he's not really going to be welcome in most countries places abroad except perhaps North Korea. And so he's in a bind. And it's just watching a career just go down like the Titanic sinking. And it will be a kind of feeling of good riddance when he leaves Washington.

A bit later, Lemon went out on a limb in making negative predictions about the President: "President Trump will go down as the worst President in U.S. history. Will it be all about insurrection? What else will be the legacy here?"

Invoking Benedict Arnold, Brinkley continued the Trump-bashing: "So he's an asterisk President. He's this weird one-offer. He's going to be remembered more in terms of, like, you know, Benedict Arnold and Jefferson Davis, figures like this."

He soon added: "And I wouldn't be surprised if in coming years the name Trump will be taken down at his buildings in Chicago and New York City because it'll be seen as a kind of hate speech, his very name. That's how bad things are because of what he did on January 6, 2021."

But, on Sunday's Meet the Press, Todd undermined the narrative as he reported on his network's poll showing a very different attitude toward President Trump with his approval rating showing little change.

This episode of CNN Tonight was sponsored in part by Carvana. Their contact information is linked.

Transcript follows:

CNN Tonight

January 15, 2021

10:40 p.m. Eastern

DON LEMON: So Donald Trump leaves office on Wednesday with a stain on his presidency that will never be erased -- the first President to be impeached twice. And then what? Trump says he won't attend Joe Biden's inauguration, ignoring the traditional peaceful transfer of power. Instead, sources saying that before Biden is sworn in, Trump may stage a grand departure ceremony for himself, possibly with a military band, a red carpet and a 21-gun salute. You can't make this stuff up. Almost. Let's discuss now with Anthony Scaramucci -- former White House communications director -- and Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian. Hello guys. I mean, y'all, can he embarrass himself any further? I mean, he just -- he's embarrassing. Cut it out. Douglas, come on, man.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it's -- you know, he's always looked up to dictators, and he's going out as a tin pot dictator where the whole country -- the people that are rational are scorning him right now. And he's going to fly to Mar-a-Lago --- they don't want him in West Palm Beach. The city doesn't want him around. The brand is going down the -- in the toilet.

LEMON: Let  me read his ratings for you. Okay. Let's see. So, impeached for a second time -- and then I'm going to let you finish your statement -- Impeached for a second time. Instigating insurrection, as you said, to stay in power. 29 percent approval rating, the lowest of his presidency. And 68 percent don't want him to remain a national political figure. Terrible end. Go on. I'm sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to put that out.

BRINKLEY: He could end up at 20 percent which means he's a fringe kind of weird third party figure. He's like Lyndon LaRouche in the end or perhaps George Wallace. He'll have his fan base but it's going to be hard for him to find a platform. i mean, any serious tech company is not going to touch him with a 10-foot pole, and he's not really going to be welcome in most countries places abroad except perhaps North Korea. And so he's in a bind. And it's just watching a career just go down like the Titanic sinking. And it will be a kind of feeling of good riddance when he leaves Washington. I think that's when the rebirth of American democracy starts taking hold.

(...)

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, EX-WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: But I do think he has a lot to answer for when he leaves office in four short days.

LEMON: Doug, you know, President Trump will go down as the worst President in U.S. history. Will it be all about insurrection? What else will be the legacy here?

BRINKLEY: Well, that there was a populist revolt in the United States and around the world, that there was a right-wing movement. We had one in the 1990s with the time of the Oklahoma City bombing when Bill Clinton was President. It got snuffed out. Trump restoked it -- was able to win in 2016 even though he lost by 3 million votes. So he's an asterisk President. He's this weird one-offer. He's going to be remembered more in terms of, like, you know, Benedict Arnold and Jefferson Davis, figures like this. 

But he has no idea when you have all that power that he's had and then you lose it, and then all the lawsuits that are going to come out of -- he's in deep trouble. And I wouldn't be surprised if in coming years the name Trump will be taken down at his buildings in Chicago and New York City because it'll be seen as a kind of hate speech, his very name. That's how bad things are because of what he did on January 6, 2021.

LEMON: Yeah, I'm not sure if in Chicago -- I think some of it in New York City -- most of his buildings or many of them, I should say the names will come down. Thank you, Douglas. Thanks Anthony. Did you want to say something quickly? You're good?

SCARAMUCCI: I was just saying everything Doug said is not enough for what he's done, Don. That's all.

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