During Tuesday’s The Lead, the CNN panel complained that President Trump did not act like a “Consoler-in-Chief” on the seventeenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, describing his behavior as “uber inappropriate” and suggested he may be “missing a human screw.”
The segment began with a package by senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny highlighting the President’s appearance at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. While it included a few clips from Trump’s remarks, it also focused on the President “pumping his fist in the air as he arrived to greet supporters” in addition to other Trump's tweets from the day that touched on other subjects
Afterward, the panel picked up on this discussion about Trump’s behavior. Host Jake Tapper quibbled with “some of the few tweets the President did send out about 9/11,” going through them one-by-one:
The first one is a retweet of his White House aide, Dan Scavino, it’s a photograph of the President himself, signing a proclamation in the Oval Office about 9/11. Next, it was praise of then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who of course is his attorney and represents him on cable TV. By about 8:30 a.m., the President tweeted a photo of himself and the White House staff. If you look closely, you can see Omarosa, this is a picture from a year ago. Finally, at around 9:00 a.m., President Trump tweeted, “17 years since September 11th.” That’s it? That’s all it said. Seventeen years since September 11th.
While conceding that the President “did a fairly nice job in Shanksville,” Tapper suggested that “left to his own devices, I don’t know, he just --- he doesn’t really seem to get what people are looking for.” Former Mitch McConnell aide Josh Holmes agreed that Trump “does other things, obviously, better than he does the Consoler-in-Chief role” before pointing out that Donald Trump Jr. slammed Joe Scarborough for “injecting politics today” with his deranged Washington Post column suggesting Trump as a greater threat than the 9/11 terrorists were.
Far-left political commentator Angela Rye accused Holmes of holding Scarborough to a higher standard than the President, whose behavior she described as “uber inappropriate.” Rye specificially took issue with his “fist-pumping” and his “thumbs-upping reporters getting ready to tour a national site.” Fellow lefty and former Obama official Jen Psaki also suggested: “It’s not even about like the Commander in Chief and what’s appropriate. It’s like he’s missing a human screw.”
Political commenator and anti-Trump Republican Amanda Carpenter interrupted Psaki by saying that “the speech was good.” Psaki admitted that it was “true,” but added that if Trump were “left to his own devices,” the speech would have been a disaster.
When Psaki praised statements made by some of Trump’s predecessors in honor of 9/11, Rye jumped in: “Maybe there’s something he can do. How about copy and paste? Maybe copy and paste Barack Obama’s tweet or George W. Bush’s...”
The American people, on the other hand, would like to see the media occassionally refrain from bashing the President. However, like Holmes, they have probably become “well-acquainted with the fact that that’s not going to happen.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of CNN's The Lead is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN's The Lead
JAKE TAPPER: Today, President Trump paid tribute to the victims and heroes lost on September 11th, 2001, as he spoke at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. But President Trump began this most solemn day in American history by sending quite a different message on law enforcement to his nearly 55 million Twitter followers, focused on his own concerns about the Russia probe instead of the nation’s pain, he seized on a new line of attack against the FBI and the Justice Department, featured on his favorite TV channel. CNN’s Jeff Zeleny has more from the White House.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We remember the moment when America fought back.
JEFF ZELENY (voice-over): President Trump paying tribute today to heroes of the 9/11 terror attacks. And that dark day, 17 years ago, forever etched in American history.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: This field is now a monument to American defiance. This memorial is now a message to the world. America will never, ever submit to tyranny.
ZELENY: The President and First Lady marking the day in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; where passengers brought down United Flight 93, whose hijackers were targeting the Nation’s Capital. But on the most solemn of days, the President’s mind seemed to be elsewhere, pumping his fist in the air as he arrived to greet supporters. After starting the morning, insisting, again on Twitter, there was no collusion between President Trump and Russia, absolutely zero. As Bob Woodward’s blistering book about White House dysfunction was officially released, two former top aides to the President adding new denials to the chorus from other officials. Gary Cohn, Trump’s former Chief Economic Adviser, who is portrayed snatching a letter from the President’s desk in the Oval Office to protect the country, saying today: “This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House.” But Cohn not saying what he claims the book got wrong. And Rob Porter, the former Staff Secretary who left the West Wing after a scandal of his own, saying in a statement: “The suggestion that materials were stolen from the President’s desk to prevent his signature misunderstands how the White House document review process works.” Woodward said he’s not surprised or bothered by the string of denials.
BOB WOODWARD: One key person who is in office called me and said, everyone knows what you’ve said here is true. It’s 1,000 percent correct. And then this person has said some public things that contradict that.
ZELENY: When asked about Porter and Cohn’s denials in the Oval Office today, the President said this.
TRUMP: I really appreciate their statement. Their statement was excellent. And they both said that beautiful, which shows that the book is just a piece of fiction.
ZELENY: But for a piece of supposed fiction, Jake, the President certainly still intent and focused on all of this; some aides even say consumed by this book. We should point out these denials come about a week after other denials and certainly these denials do not answer specific portrayals in the book, which can also say some of the instances in the book were reported by us and other news organizations at the time. So, to release these statements of denials, what Bob Woodward said is something that he has seen over the years. People say something privately to him and acknowledge in advance, will have to deny it later, Jake.
TAPPER: Sources have a way of denying that they’re sources.
ZELENY: They do.
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much. Appreciate it. So, Amanda, let me start with you. Donald Trump Jr. today slammed critics of the President. Specific critic of the President, tweeting “Injecting politics today is disgraceful.” But, of course, we have seen President Trump be political today and inject politics today, starting with his very first tweet about Peter Strzok and the FBI.
AMANDA CARPENTER: I mean, I guess I still resent the fact that I have to pay attention to what Donald Trump’s children say on Twitter, all of the time. I mean, seriously, why is this still happening? It’s a sad fact of his Presidency that he doesn’t inspire real leadership and he continues to rely on his children to conduct official work and be surrogates in the media. And that’s just gross.
TAPPER: Let’s just take a look at some of the few tweets that the President did send about 9/11. The first one is a retweet of his White House aide, Dan Scavino, it’s a photograph of the President himself, signing a proclamation in the Oval Office about 9/11. Next, it was praise of then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who of course is his attorney and represents him on cable TV. By about 8:30 a.m., the President tweeted a photo of himself and the White House staff. If you look closely, you can see Omarosa, this is a picture from a year ago. Finally, at around 9:00 a.m., President Trump tweeted, “17 years since September 11th.” That’s it? That’s all it said. Seventeen years since September 11th. There’s a certain Consoler-in-Chief that politicians, especially Presidents are called upon to do. He…I thought he did a fairly nice job in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, but left to his own devices, I don’t know, he just, he doesn’t really seem to get what people are looking for.
JOSH HOLMES: Yeah, well, I mean I think on, he does other things, obviously, better than he does the Consoler-in-Chief role. But I, you know, I think, what Donald Trump Jr. was actually talking about was taking on Joe Scarborough for an op-ed that he wrote in The Washington Post that basically said what Donald Trump is doing to this country is worse than terrorism. To have that hit on 9/11…I mean, I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat or what have you. I don’t care if you share every single view that he espoused in that op-ed, it’s totally inappropriate. And you know, whether you love Donald Trump Jr., you hate Donald Trump Jr., you hate this administration, I would hope we can all agree, that that is sort of an inappropriate time to start invoking terrorism.
TAPPER: Go ahead.
ANGELA RYE: The thing that’s really interesting to me is we hold everyone to a higher standard than we do the Commander-in-Chief. So 9/11, Donald Trump, is as inappropriate as he is…on any, not any given Sunday, any given day, right? Like, he started with fast tweeting about Russia collusion. He is fist-pumping going to Shanksville, and he’s thumbs-upping reporters getting ready to tour a memorial site. Like he’s uber inappropriate…
TAPPER: You’re saying that Josh is holding Joe Scarborough to a higher standard than the President?
RYE: That’s what it sounded like. That’s what it sounded like a little bit.
HOLMES: Listen, all I’m saying is that it was the wrong time for Joe Scarborough to publish an op-ed on 9/11.
RYE: And it’s just not, it’s not just you, it’s everyone. It’s like, he can get away with, it’s like, oh, he behaved himself. He was quiet in this meeting. And it’s like, kudos to Donald…like, are you all kidding me? This is insane.
PSAKI: Ultimately, it’s not even about like the Commander-in-Chief and what’s appropriate. It’s like he’s missing a human screw. I mean, how do people react on a day like 9/11?
CARPENTER: The speech was good.
PSAKI: You’re talking about the people…that’s true. But when left to his own devices, which I think is the important point here. I looked back at what President Clinton, what President Obama, what President Bush said on Twitter today. They were all very similar. They were all about the lives lost, their families left behind, the brave men and women who served. This is not rocket science.
RYE: Maybe there’s…maybe there’s something he can do. How about copy and paste? Maybe copy and paste Barack Obama’s tweet or George W. Bush’s like…anybody.
CARPENTER: Only Melania plagiarizes.
RYE: Yes that, but you know what, but he can give credit, maybe if he feels it.
RYE: Anything better than this on 9/11.
TAPPER: But I mean he…you say he does something…things better than others. And the consoling is not one of the things he does best.
RYE: What does he do?
TAPPER: Is he, I mean, don’t you think he should be working a little bit harder? I mean, somebody…when you wake up tomorrow, remember, it’s 9/11. Don’t tweet anything about anything other than…
HOLMES: Yeah, I mean, of course. Look, my preference would be that he spent absolutely nothing else other than remembering the people that were lost on 9/11.
HOLMES: That we do something for the firefighters. That we do something for the policemen. We do something for everybody lost. Yes, that would be my preference.
HOLMES: I think after a year-and-a-half, I am well-acquainted with the fact that that’s not going to happen.
TAPPER: It’s just not going to happen.