Monday, August 01, 2022

Motive Misunderstood

There has been considerable speculation that two Americans, Paul Whelan and Britney Griner, will be swapped for convicted Russian Viktor Bout, serving a 25-year sentence for arms dealing. Whelan has been incarcerated in Russia for over three years years and Griner has been detained there after she entered the nation at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport with vape cartridges containing hashish oil.

On the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show Friday, former President Donald J. Trump remarked of Griner

She knew you don't go in there loaded up with drugs and she admitted it. I assume she admitted it without too much force because it is what it is. And it certainly doesn't seem like a very good trade, does it? He is an absolute one of the worst in the world and he is going to be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person went to Russia loaded up with drugs."

The vape cartridges containing hashish oil seized by authorities when Britney Griner entered Russia evidently contained only a small amount of the prohibited substance. So Messrs. Scarborough and Sharpton were correct that the WNBA star wasn't "loaded up with drugs." But their central point is invalid.

With Sharpton as a guest, as he frequently is on "Morning Joe," Scarborough went on full pander mode, remarking of Trump "and you cannot help but wonder if he's saying that because she's a black basketball player." 

Scarborough and Sharpton have made a cottage industry of pandering to one another on the show. And of course the charge that Trump wouldn't have made the comment if Griner weren't a black basketball player met with Sharpton's approval because "RevAl"- as the cool cat, disrespectful host typically calls the minister- has always been about race. He was a race hustler in his early days in New York City, and still is.

When a young man is shot and killed by police, Al Sharpton will be practically the first on the scene. However, not always: his outrage is reserved for black victims of police violence while the others are invisible to him.

You cannot help but wonder- as Scarborough would put it- that after more than six years as a congressman and 16 years as a news show host, if one could be so naive as to believe that Donald Trump is criticizing a possible deal for Britney Griner primarily because she is a black basketball player.

On CNN's "New Day" Monday morning, Bout attorney Steve Zissou strongly implied that a deal releasing his client will be consummated. Donald Trump agrees. The ex-President is anticipating running a presidential campaign asserting that the Biden Administration is characterized by weakness.  He will charge, as he did in the 2016 campaign, that America's enemies are taking advantage of the nation and making us a laughingstock around the world.

As luck (for him) would have it, the clusterf_ _ _ that is the threatened visit of the Democratic Speaker of the House to Taiwan fits into this narrative. The USA military, the State Department, and the President of the United States of America all are displeased that Nancy Pelosi has suggested that she will visit Taipei. The speculation has angered mainland China, but the trip may accomplish..... we don't know. Whatever the response- now or delayed, overt or covert- from Beijing, it's not a good look for the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives to defy the wishes of the President from the same party.


Donald Trump is complaining about Britney Griner because he will present any agreement as proof of the weakness of Washington Democrats. Sure, the ex-President could complain about the white guy, Paul Whelan- but practically no one knows who Paul Whelan is. The media, traditional and social, including Scarborough's show itself  have made sure of that as they have repeatedly invoked Griner's name, emphasized the plight of the basketball star, and virtually ignored Whelan.

Nonetheless, Scarborough will attribute Trump's attack to race because that's how Al Sharpton wants to frame it. Returning the favor, Sharpton actually referred to Joe's assistant and sort-of co-host as "Mika Brzezinski, our civil rights leader in that area."  Mika Brzezinski, Mrs. Joe Scarborough: our new civil rights hero!

It's no surprise that Donald Trump is taking the side of the Russian government over the American government and lying about the amount of drugs involved. It should be no surprise, also, that lifetime right-winger Joe Scarborough continues to evoke race to establish liberal bona fides.


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