David French of National Review and talk show host Greg Knapp reflect on the Mueller report 24 hours after its release to the public. They feel good that Trump is not guilty of a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government but David is struck by the vivid and deeply disturbing picture the report creates of a president who is not only an absolute, relentless serial liar surrounded in turn by thoroughly untruthful people, but also a president who is highly disorganized and profoundly weak. They are also perplexed that the Washington Post continues to malign Ben Shapiro.

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There are 42 comments.

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  1. Member

    The episode description tells me I don’t need to listen. Unfortunately for David French, no one is as interested in David French’s unending moral outrage of Trump as David French is. If I wanted a legalistic Calvinist (redundant I know) sermon, I’d move to 16th century Geneva.

    • #1
    • April 19, 2019, at 10:44 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Coolidge

    The more David French attacks Trump, the lower my opinion of him — French! — becomes.*

    “Trump lies all the time.“

    Obviously that is not literally true. If Trump said something like that, would French call it a lie?

    Hard to tell, because after saying that, with all these plentiful Trump lies around, French doesn’t give us a single one as an example of what he is thinking of. (Are they more than the usual hyperbole, exaggerations, boasting, needling of opponents, etc.? Does Trump differ from other politicians?) 

    At least, not in the first half of the program. I will grimly continue to listen, and report back later. 

    *Should I continue supporting National Review if French is there? Not sure how much more aid and comfort to the enemy I can take! [;)] On the positive side, he does at least accept that collusion and obstruction are not real. Let me take one more shot at getting my NR Plus subscription to work before I cancel it. (So far, I’ve been unable to leave comments.) Actually, I tried to cancel it once already, but it didn’t take. I may have to tell the credit card company to reject the charge going forward. 

    • #2
    • April 19, 2019, at 11:04 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Member

    This was a better podcast than yesterday’s. The Bad Martini was, in fact, fair. Trump’s failings are obvious. His lying unquestionable. In a lot of ways Trump is what the left claimed that Bush was, a puppet run by his underlings. Unquestionably Trump has some ideas of the way he wants the major things to go, but he is anything but a detail man. French does concede that a great deal of good has happened under Trump that would not have happened under Hillary. His concerns in today’s podcast are much more credible, and far less Calvinistic. 

    Having said all of that, it will be nice to have Jim and Greg back onboard on Monday.

    • #3
    • April 19, 2019, at 11:11 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Member

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    This was a better podcast than yesterday’s. The Bad Martini was, in fact, fair. Trump’s failings are obvious. His lying unquestionable. In a lot of ways Trump is what the left claimed that Bush was, a puppet run by his underlings. Unquestionably Trump has some ideas of the way he wants the major things to go, but he is anything but a detail man. French does concede that a great deal of good has happened under Trump that would not have happened under Hillary. His concerns in today’s podcast are much more credible, and far less Calvinistic.

    Having said all of that, it will be nice to have Jim and Greg back onboard on Monday.

    I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to French today. Thanks for doing the yeoman’s work that I could not.

    • #4
    • April 19, 2019, at 11:19 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Member

    I voted for Trump. I live in CA so it didn’t matter. I know all about his personal failings. I regret that the administration often looks like a clown show. I appreciate the good things that he’s done.

    Having said that (to use a phrase Jim uses at least once an episode), I am tired of David French’s relentless haranguing about Trump. We get it, he doesn’t like Trump AT ALL. But you get the impression David would literally choke if he had to concede anything even slightly positive. Even the judges he explains away by saying Trump outsourced that. Well, that shows some sense, right?

    And the thing is, I am generally a fan of David French. But on this topic I want him to just stop talking.

    • #5
    • April 19, 2019, at 11:21 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Member

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    This was a better podcast than yesterday’s. The Bad Martini was, in fact, fair. Trump’s failings are obvious. His lying unquestionable. In a lot of ways Trump is what the left claimed that Bush was, a puppet run by his underlings. Unquestionably Trump has some ideas of the way he wants the major things to go, but he is anything but a detail man. French does concede that a great deal of good has happened under Trump that would not have happened under Hillary. His concerns in today’s podcast are much more credible, and far less Calvinistic.

    Having said all of that, it will be nice to have Jim and Greg back onboard on Monday.

    Amen to that, but I believe Greg won’t be back until Wednesday. Hearing Greg giggle about something Jim says makes me happy!

    • #6
    • April 19, 2019, at 11:23 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Coolidge

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    This was a better podcast than yesterday’s. The Bad Martini was, in fact, fair. Trump’s failings are obvious. His lying unquestionable. In a lot of ways Trump is what the left claimed that Bush was, a puppet run by his underlings. Unquestionably Trump has some ideas of the way he wants the major things to go, but he is anything but a detail man. French does concede that a great deal of good has happened under Trump that would not have happened under Hillary. His concerns in today’s podcast are much more credible, and far less Calvinistic.

    Having said all of that, it will be nice to have Jim and Greg back onboard on Monday.

    French is completely oblivious to the fact that the Mueller Report was written by partisan Democrats who hate Trump and want to make him look as bad as they can, so he will lose the 2020 election. 

    Even if they couldn’t get him on collusion (because it was a complete fantasy), they tried to leave obstruction as an open question by interpreting his actions as malevolently as possible. 

    For example, Trump’s desire to replace Mueller with somebody who isn’t Jim Comey‘s best friend was entirely reasonable. McGann had a good point, that it would look like obstruction; but I think that problem would have gone away if they found somebody really good to take Mueller’s place. 

    • #7
    • April 19, 2019, at 11:23 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Member

    Can’t believe all the vitriol against French here. You half expect his critics to start calling him “David Freedom.”

    French is no Max Boot or Jennifer Rubin. He has no love for Leftism and indeed castigates it a lot — several times a week, in fact. And it is very difficult to quibble with his general thesis, which goes something like this:

    1) The Left is out of control and toxic.

    2) Trump is unfit for office.

    3) An honest journalist — that is, someone who is not just a party flack — will write fearlessly about 1 and 2.

    • #8
    • April 19, 2019, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Member

    I think that these days, the term “whiteness” is being used by the left as shorthand for “the West” and “Judeo-Christian culture” and “European culture” and most especially “majority culture that we have to run down to look virtuous to our peers.”

    So it’s not exactly a racial term (though they’re happy to use it thusly when it suits them), making it useless to point out that there are scads of Christian Africans — they don’t care. They have identified “whiteness” as whatever it is they’re fighting against, and so they use the term liberally to ensure that everyone knows that Ben Shapiro is radioactive. That he’s an enemy of the alt-right is irrelevant to the left, because Ben is “not of the body” and the alt-right is “not of the body” and who cares what distinctions the enemies of the left make among themselves?

    • #9
    • April 19, 2019, at 12:23 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Member

    Taras (View Comment):
    *Should I continue supporting National Review if French is there? Not sure how much more aid and comfort to the enemy I can take!

    They also employ Andrew McCarthy and Victor Davis Hanson. And even though he is hard on Trump, Kevin D. Williamson is an astonishly good writer.

    • #10
    • April 19, 2019, at 12:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Member

    French claims that Trump might have committed Obstruction of Justice if not that his staff would not carry out his orders. This presumes that one believes, as many do not, that Trump is not permitted to exercise fully his Article 2 powers to decide which cases will be prosecuted and which will not.

    • #11
    • April 19, 2019, at 1:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Member

    We who believe that Trump is a straight shooter are wrong, according to French, because he knows better than we do. He lives, eats, breathes politics, therefore he is in a better position to judge. Frankly, that’s baloney.

    • #12
    • April 19, 2019, at 1:21 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Member

    French believes that Trump does not “tell it like it is”. When I say that Trump tells it like it is, I mean that he is way more straightforward about what he wants and what he believes than most politicians. Most politicians say what they think people want to hear and then proceed to act on the opposite impulse. Trump is pretty transparent about his intentions – to an extent that I am often astonished. He is the anti-Obama in that regard.

    I am not suggesting that Trump does not exaggerate or misstate, but he rarely practices outright deception as Obama and clinton did.

     

    • #13
    • April 19, 2019, at 1:32 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Can’t believe all the vitriol against French here. You half expect his critics to start calling him “David Freedom.”

    French is no Max Boot or Jennifer Rubin. He has no love for Leftism and indeed castigates it a lot — several times a week, in fact. And it is very difficult to quibble with his general thesis, which goes something like this:

    1) The Left is out of control and toxic.

    2) Trump is unfit for office.

    3) An honest journalist — that is, someone who is not just a party flack — will write fearlessly about 1 and 2.

    I really like David French as a writer and political commentator. What I find somewhat difficult to deal with is his puritanical hatred of Trump. I don’t like Trump. I didn’t like him 60 years ago when we were in school together. However, even I can get beyond my personal dislike for the man in light of what his administration and a somewhat consenting congress have accomplished in the last couple of years. I also believe that it is absurd to ignore the reality of a binary choice that existed in 2016. Unquestionably, the American people and the Electoral College made the right choice. Trump was unfit for office. He still is, but he is the one currently holding that position, and so far he hasn’t started any wars, hasn’t tried to take over as a dictator, and, despite his ignorance which is abundant and his somewhat limited moral compass he hasn’t done nearly the damage the country that his predecessor did in his apology tour. Trump has strengthened our relationship with Israel which Obama did a good deal of damage to. The fact is that compared to some of his more competent and moral predecessors his administration has accomplished some remarkable feats. However, David French nearly chokes on the words when he tries to say something nice about Trump. David is a true conservative, but he is also a puritan with all of the intolerance that that title entails. I think Charlie Cooke who certainly is no fan of Trump gave a much better accounting and disputed French’s assertions quite well in the most recent Editors Podcast on NRO which for some reason hasn’t shown up on the Ricochet network.

    • #14
    • April 19, 2019, at 1:32 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Member

    Sadly, French’s overstatement of Trump’s lying is itself a profound lie.

    • #15
    • April 19, 2019, at 1:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Member

    milkchaser (View Comment):

    Sadly, French’s overstatement of Trump’s lying is itself a profound lie.

    I don’t think he is overstating the case. Trump is a classic salesman. He will say anything without regard to its truthfulness. He lies all of time, or, perhaps, simply exaggerates. The question might be, is he consciously lying? I sometimes think that he believes what he is saying in the moment. He gets carried away with the impulse. He isn’t formulating a lie and then stating it. He is just saying what he believes or wants to believe in the moment. It doesn’t say much for his integrity, but listening to the Democrats, Nancy and Chuckie, and Schiff and the rest, I truly wonder if Trump’s lies are nearly as bad as theirs are. In his lying he is often trying to make things seem better. They, on the other hand, are doing all they can to denigrate and belittle Trump and the country.

    • #16
    • April 19, 2019, at 1:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Coolidge

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Can’t believe all the vitriol against French here. You half expect his critics to start calling him “David Freedom.”

    French is no Max Boot or Jennifer Rubin. He has no love for Leftism and indeed castigates it a lot — several times a week, in fact. And it is very difficult to quibble with his general thesis, which goes something like this:

    1) The Left is out of control and toxic.

    2) Trump is unfit for office.

    3) An honest journalist — that is, someone who is not just a party flack — will write fearlessly about 1 and 2.

    An honest journalist who has the emotional fortitude to admit he was wrong will write Trump is fit for office after all.

    To his credit, French now admits collusion and obstruction were bogus — but that just leads him to dig for other reasons to be anti-Trump.

    Foolishly, he takes the malicious selection of anecdotes in the Mueller Report as representative of the Trump Presidency. I’m old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan, one of our greatest Presidents, was subjected to the same kind of attack.

     

    • #17
    • April 19, 2019, at 1:42 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Coolidge

    milkchaser (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):
    *Should I continue supporting National Review if French is there? Not sure how much more aid and comfort to the enemy I can take!

    They also employ Andrew McCarthy and Victor Davis Hanson. And even though he is hard on Trump, Kevin D. Williamson is an astonishly good writer.

    I know, I know. That’s why I followed that comment with a wink!

    I really did cancel my subscription to Commentary, but that was because they quoted Trump out of context to make a sensible comment sound nutty, and refused to print a correction.

    • #18
    • April 19, 2019, at 1:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Coolidge

    dicentra (View Comment):

    I think that these days, the term “whiteness” is being used by the left as shorthand for “the West” and “Judeo-Christian culture” and “European culture” and most especially “majority culture that we have to run down to look virtuous to our peers.”

    So it’s not exactly a racial term (though they’re happy to use it thusly when it suits them), making it useless to point out that there are scads of Christian Africans — they don’t care. They have identified “whiteness” as whatever it is they’re fighting against, and so they use the term liberally to ensure that everyone knows that Ben Shapiro is radioactive. That he’s an enemy of the alt-right is irrelevant to the left, because Ben is “not of the body” and the alt-right is “not of the body” and who cares what distinctions the enemies of the left make among themselves?

     I think you underestimate the ignorance of people on the left. They don’t know Asian Americans are richer than whites.* They don’t know most interracial violence is black on white. They don’t know most interreligious violence is Muslim on Christian. 

     The reason they don’t know is that their leaders and the media — who often know the truth — present them with carefully curated anecdotes instead of the actual statistics. 

    *I like to say, if there is such a thing as “white privilege”, then Asians have more of it than whites do!

    • #19
    • April 19, 2019, at 2:19 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Member

    “He’s so thoroughly and completely untruthful…” French is delusional. I notice he did not give examples. “When he said this or that about X or Y…” That kind of thing does not work in my line of work. But then French is a lawyer.

    • #20
    • April 19, 2019, at 2:29 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Member

    Trump tells it like it is. It is just that folks outside flyover country – including David French – lack the filters to understand when Trump is telling it like it is.

    And French repeats the canard that Trump’s people ignore Trump’s orders. The only source for that is “unnamed sources” from the mainstream media. (For example French repeats the silly claim that people remove documents from Trump’s desk. That is another unsourced claim from the same media caught lying about Trump’s collusion. That is credulity on the level of a grown man believing in the literal existence of the Tooth Fairy.)

    How about maintaining the credibility of Three-Martini Lunch by choosing less credulous hosts?

    • #21
    • April 19, 2019, at 3:44 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Member

    milkchaser (View Comment):

    We who believe that Trump is a straight shooter are wrong, according to French, because he knows better than we do. He lives, eats, breathes politics, therefore he is in a better position to judge. Frankly, that’s baloney.

    And you’re claiming that you (and those who agree with you) know better than David French.

    Yet every disagreement, by definition, consists of two parties who each think they know better than the other.

    Right?

    So I’m not sure what your insight is.

     

     

    • #22
    • April 19, 2019, at 4:03 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Trump tells it like it is. It is just that folks outside flyover country – including David French – lack the filters to understand when Trump is telling it like it is.

    And French repeats the canard that Trump’s people ignore Trump’s orders. The only source for that is “unnamed sources” from the mainstream media. (For example French repeats the silly claim that people remove documents from Trump’s desk. That is another unsourced claim from the same media caught lying about Trump’s collusion. That is credulity on the level of a grown man believing in the literal existence of the Tooth Fairy.)

    How about maintaining the credibility of Three-Martini Lunch by choosing less credulous hosts?

    Tell the truth — is this satire? Did you deliberately set out to craft a perfect simulation of how the Left believes people on the Right think and behave?

    • #23
    • April 19, 2019, at 4:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Trump tells it like it is. It is just that folks outside flyover country – including David French – lack the filters to understand when Trump is telling it like it is.

    And French repeats the canard that Trump’s people ignore Trump’s orders. The only source for that is “unnamed sources” from the mainstream media. (For example French repeats the silly claim that people remove documents from Trump’s desk. That is another unsourced claim from the same media caught lying about Trump’s collusion. That is credulity on the level of a grown man believing in the literal existence of the Tooth Fairy.)

    How about maintaining the credibility of Three-Martini Lunch by choosing less credulous hosts?

    Tell the truth — is this satire? Did you deliberately set out to craft a perfect simulation of how the Left believes people on the Right think and behave?

    Do you believe all the anti-Trump stuff the press has been pushing for the last two years? If you do, how strange. 

    • #24
    • April 19, 2019, at 5:05 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Trump tells it like it is. It is just that folks outside flyover country – including David French – lack the filters to understand when Trump is telling it like it is.

    And French repeats the canard that Trump’s people ignore Trump’s orders. The only source for that is “unnamed sources” from the mainstream media. (For example French repeats the silly claim that people remove documents from Trump’s desk. That is another unsourced claim from the same media caught lying about Trump’s collusion. That is credulity on the level of a grown man believing in the literal existence of the Tooth Fairy.)

    How about maintaining the credibility of Three-Martini Lunch by choosing less credulous hosts?

    Tell the truth — is this satire? Did you deliberately set out to craft a perfect simulation of how the Left believes people on the Right think and behave?

    Do you believe all the anti-Trump stuff the press has been pushing for the last two years? If you do, how strange.

    What’s strange is your inclusion of the word “all” in your question.

    I’m not kidding. Why would you include it? Surely you must know how disingenuous that is. It’s a rhetorical device I first noticed by the Left (e.g., “Oh, so you’re saying that all racism has been eradicated in this country?! That there are no racists left?! LOL!!!”) but it has been increasingly co-opted by the Right as well. Which rankles me even more.

    Because, as Dennis Prager is fond of saying, “Nothing is all.”

    What’s more, I guarantee you that David French (the object of this exercise) doesn’t believe “all” of the anti-Trump propaganda, either.

    • #25
    • April 20, 2019, at 3:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):
    What’s more, I guarantee you that David French (the object of this exercise) doesn’t believe “all” of the anti-Trump propaganda, either.

    Only that which fits his prejudices. Which seems to be quite a bit since he freely quoted several dodgy and debunked media ploys as evidence of Trump’s unfitness. The man is either a gudgeon who would get cleaned out by a carney barker or disingenuous. I have not decided which. Given his intelligence you would think he is being disingenuous, but I have met many “smartest men in the room” who have been fleeced by con artists. So I am undecided.

    And for you denunciations of absolutism, you seem to practice the habit yourself. So, I will take your statements for what they are worth.

    • #26
    • April 20, 2019, at 5:16 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I will take your statements for what they are worth.

    I hope so. 

     

    • #27
    • April 20, 2019, at 5:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. Member

    filmklassik (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I will take your statements for what they are worth.

    I hope so.

    Have no fear. I will respect your pronouncements every bit as much I do David French’s.

    • #28
    • April 20, 2019, at 7:09 AM PDT
    • Like
  29. Member

    Gentlemen, David French has clearly stated elsewhere why he detests Trump. French is an absolutist in terms of his moral judgments. He believes that nothing Trump does can undo what he has done in his life, his affairs, his business practices, his fairly constant lying and exaggerations. His view, a man so lacking in a moral compass is not fit for the presidency. Every other judgment he makes about Trump is based on these premises. It is a very puritanical view, but I believe that French is completely honest and has total integrity in his beliefs, even if I disagree with them.

    • #29
    • April 20, 2019, at 7:18 AM PDT
    • Like
  30. Member

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    Gentlemen, David French has clearly stated elsewhere why he detests Trump. French is an absolutist in terms of his moral judgments. He believes that nothing Trump does can undo what he has done in his life, his affairs, his business practices, his fairly constant lying and exaggerations. His view, a man so lacking in a moral compass is not fit for the presidency. Every other judgment he makes about Trump is based on these premises. It is a very puritanical view, but I believe that French is completely honest and has total integrity in his beliefs, even if I disagree with them.

    That’s why Monday’s episode was interesting. Mr. French started out talking about the Masters and Tiger’s redemption. Tiger is allowed to change but not Trump. No second chance for the Orange Menace. 

    • #30
    • April 20, 2019, at 7:28 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
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