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CNN’s Stelter Asks Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley: Doesn’t Saying ‘Wheels are Off’ Trump Admin ‘Imply There Were Wheels?’

On CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, host Brian Stelter spoke with presidential historian Douglas Brinkley about the week that President Trump just had and how it stacks up against history. Brinkley said not so good, and agreed with the premise of the segment, that the “right wing media’ is “pulling Trump’s strings.”

First Stelter asked the historian about historic parallels for Trump. Brinkley drew one to Richard Nixon, and turned to the power of conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to manipulate Trump.

“Well, one [historic parallel] is that Donald Trump keeps enemies list of the press and he has press friends. I mean, it’s very Nixonian in how he scapegoats and beats up on reporters all the times,” said Brinkley, “and then he has the amen choir which, coming out of mainly Fox News and as we’ve mentioned Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh.”

“There’s been a kind of weird rule about Donald Trump, anytime Ann Coulter criticizes him he withers. And she has his number. It’s like, kind of knows what– she challenges his manhood, calls him gutless, other words that I won’t say on the air, and he folds.”

“He folded the tents and we’re shut — we have a government shutdown right now,” he said and listed details of the closing. “All because of Ann Coulter as a voice of the hard right, and he immediately got Rush on the air to say, look, you know, don’t worry, the border wall is still the main thing.”

“So we’re at the end of the year with the stock markets tanking and we are talking about putting up a medieval wall along the border and the president is being basically run by a kind of alt-right press machine,” he concluded.

“They’ll take exception to you calling them alt-right,” said Stelter, “but they would certainly embrace the term ‘right’ or ‘right wing’.”

“What about this narrative, Douglas, that the ‘wheels are coming off’ the Trump administration,” Stelter asked, “doesn’t it imply that there were wheels?”

“There were wheels for a while,” said Brinkley. He brought up some of the staff such as now out Chief of Staff John Kelly, and General James Mattis was a “rock of Gibraltar” at the Pentagon, and that they gave the impression that Trump at least wasn’t at war with the Armed Forces. “Mattis’ departure I think is stark,” he said, and causing some like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wondering if “the country can survive more years of Trumpism.”

Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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