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WATCH LIVE: GEORGE FLOYD MEMORIAL SERVICE

Mika Brzezinski Tries to Bait Morning Joe Panel Into Saying Trump Ruined Memorial Day, Flops

Memorial Day always results in awkward cable news segments as the shows try to balance talking about the day but also serve the audience their usual fare and ratings-plays without it seeming like a cheap ploy. And in politics, partisans can have a tough time trying to balance talking about Memorial Day and veterans issues as it relates to their opponents while not coming off disrespecting the day or the fallen in a cheap shot. Frequently this doesn’t come off great.

So the fact that Mika Brzezinski tried to get the first Morning Joe segment yesterday, a reflection on the day, to turn into a Trump-bash isn’t surprising in the sense of new or different, it’s was still notable for the clumsiness of her effort and the unwillingness of the two anti-Trump commentators to whom she directed her advances to cooperate.

In fact, their answers were pretty remarkably not what she was looking for, but right on the mark for what they should have been.

First, Morning Mika went to MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle. “I want to ask you what your reflections are during this time in terms of our attitudes in America, our knowledge and our understanding of people who serve in the military, who serve multiple tours of duty, who have taken part in wars on behalf of this country, and also, are being deployed by this President by–let’s say maybe perhaps controversial means in terms of their deployments at the southern border for caravans that are coming in. It’s a convoluting time, is it not?”

It was a “convoluting” question, that’s for sure. But Barnicle’s answer blew the question out of the water. “There’s a certain sadness with me, about Memorial Day, because you think of the word memorial, and part of that word incorporates memory,” he began. He talked about the tendency to forget on a day dedicated to remembrance, about the cultural steps backward of technological steps forward like Twitter, how it used to be there was almost no one in America whose life hadn’t been touched by the loss of an American servicemember.

It was a terrific comment, better watched above than transcribed here below. It was not a hyper-partisan, bitterly ironic rant about how Trump ruined honoring the dead, though Brzezinski was definitely seeking one.

She next turned to Paul Rieckhoff, a combat veteran and advocate for fellow veterans, as opposed to Trump and Trump policy, who served in the Iraq war and has known the loss of fellow soldiers.

“And Paul, I would love for you to reflect on what Mike Barnicle just said,” she said. “And also, given the work that you have done, how you’re feeling about the way the military perhaps is beings used by this presidency? Does it really match their role in history?”

Rieckhoff began with a brief acknowledgment of that framing, saying “sadly I think that’s right,” but then he, too, failed to deliver the screed of Desperately Seeking Mika.

“Memorial Day still can be a time where we come together as a nation,” he said. He talked about observing the moment of silence, honoring and talking about the specific people who one has lost. He was able to touch on issues, like authorizations for war and Iran, without bashing or ranting. Again foiling the plan.

As the segment continued the panel talked of course and inevitably about Trump in particular (one guest calling him “a man who never served his country”) and the administration’s policies. But nobody gave Brzezinski her sought after rant.

But that’s okay, because it’s Memorial Day, and it’s likely people will remember what she tried to get.

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