MSNBC took their fear mongering of President-elect Donald Trump to new heights Tuesday night when All In host Chris Hayes reported that, “Trump’s comments about nuclear weapons have experts worried he could literally inadvertently trigger a catastrophe.” Hayes used two segments of his show to try to drive home his narrative and help spread his fear. He also brought on Esquire writer Charlie Pierce to aid him in his endeavor.
Reading from the liberal Washington Post, Hayes quoted a “nuclear nonproliferation expert” saying, “Imagine we’re in a crisis – if he recklessly tweets, people could read these things in the worst possible light … The North Koreans have a plan to use nuclear weapons very early in a conflict. They're not going to wait around.”
The MSNBC host told the real life story of a Soviet colonel who talked his government out of attacking the U.S. One day in 1983, a computer system falsely detected one and then five launch signatures being picked up coming from the U.S. The colonel argued that the launch was too small for it to be real, with no provocation on their end, and talked his government out of a perceived counter attack.
Hayes’ point was that Trump was so radically unhinged mentally that the colonel, or any nuclear power, couldn’t properly read him and possibly launch their stockpiles in error.
After introducing Pierce, Hayes vented, “And Charlie, you know, I have not thought as much about nuclear weapons in a long time as I have been thinking about them in the last few weeks.” Pierce explained that he grew up with an ever present fear of a nuclear attack, and warned that it still is a persistent threat:
We have what, I think the total is 7100, individual nuclear war heads. I don't even want to know what the destructive capabilities there. And we're about to hand the launch orders over to a guy who can't stay away from his phone for 15 minutes… So yeah, I think we're all good to need a refresher course in what nuclear weapons are all about.
“He's basically making this calculation about rational action,” Hayes argued, reiterating his point that Trump is too unhinged to be understandable:
But largely he’s thinking to myself, “This doesn’t make any sense. There's no reason the U.S. is starting a war right now.” And it made me think how important just a general assumption of predictability and rationality is in the kind of game theoretical decisions made around nuclear weapons.
Pierce recalled that the same fear was present when Ronald Reagan was elected president, but noted that nuclear reduction was started under his tenure. But Pierce didn’t extend the benefit of the doubt to Trump. He instead joked that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted a nuclear arms race because they seem, “To identify his national manhood with the number of war heads he has. Boy, there's Freudian levels of that I don't want to get into.”
The shear level of fear mongering conducted by Hayes and Pierce was absolutely ridiculous. If Hayes was so worried about a nuclear build up, where was this outrage when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved signing over U.S. uranium claims to Russia? Hayes’s matter-of-fact discussion of Trump triggering a nuclear armageddon was arguably fake news.