Over the past two weeks, it seems that media has increasingly leaned into a degree of frankness when it comes to issues related to Donald Trump. Fox News has been forced to confront and call out outright lies as well as dangerous rhetoric, the New York Times ran a headline calling Trump a liar, and anchors have been cutting into Trump's press conferences to fact check him in real-time. But Saturday Rachel Maddow had another level of bluntness to step into.
With the election having been called by multiple news outlets, Maddow, who was broadcasting from home as she's been in quarantine due to having been exposed to the virus at the center of the ongoing pandemic, reflected on her expectations.
"There's a large distance between all discussion in advance of the election about what would inevitably happen if Joe Biden won and Donald Trump would inevitably say 'oh no he didn't I won. It was stolen from me and everybody should riot' or whatever it is he was going to say," Maddow said in the segment. "There was all that discussion in advance and we're now seeing the president saying that Biden hasn't won, and he secretly won by a lot by some magic means that we can't understand.
"But there's a great distance, for me, between what I expected to be the impact of those words from the president, and what they feel like today," Maddow continued. "I think I thought it would be scary or at least it would feel like it was sort of shaking the foundations of the republic a little bit for the incumbent president — who is still the commander in chief of the military, who still commands the executive branch of the United States government — for him to defy the election result and say 'no, no, no, I'm still president.' I thought that would be big and ominous. And now Trump is in fact doing it, with Biden as president-elect, and it just feels laughable. It just feels small and pitiful and irrelevant."
And Maddow is right. There was a bit of handwringing before the election about what might happen if Trump did not accept the election results, and he still has not. As of yet, he has not given any sort of concession speech or statement that is publicly known about. And yet, though there have been a few meek cries from the right, and unsubstantiated accusations of fraud or election tampering, things have proceeded along, relatively unimpacted.
"There's no bite behind the bark from the president here," Maddow continued. "And it doesn't seem like there's anybody other than Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, and Kevin McCarthy, god bless 'em, who appear to be going down this rabbit hole with the president of defying the results of what appears to be a lawful and orderly election.
"I don't know what price those guys are going to have to pay for having jumped in there with the president but they're still in office and he's not and something should trail them home about that," she closed.