The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush joined me Wednesday morning to discuss the John Kerry speech and President Obama’s claim of “I would have beat Donald Trump”:
HH: Sure, now he shows up. The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush a late show. Glenn, there is a penalty for this. There is a penalty box.
GT: Oh, I have to give back my check?
HH: No, no, no, not that. It’s the ten tweet rule. When you’re late for a segment, you have to do ten tweets about my new book, the Fourth Way. Are you ready for that?
GT: Okay, let me see if I can do that.
GT: Can each one be as a letter?
HH: No, no, you just have to link it 10 times. The Fourth Way has to be linked ten times in a tweet by Glenn Thrush. You can praise it if you want, but it basically I just want the link.
GT: I’ll figure out some workaround.
HH: And we also have to have you record a chapter in the audio book of The Fourth Way.
HH: If you’re going to miss a show…
GT: In Yiddish.
HH: In Yiddish. All right, Glenn, John Kerry is talking today. And I have tried to define, this whole new book is about defining the Obama presidency and the Trump presidency as being leading from behind, red line, and jayvees. Now, I’m adding anti-Israel. What do you make of this controversy, and do you think anyone at all cares what John Kerry has to say today?
GT: I don’t think anyone really cares what John Kerry has to say today. I thought it was very interesting when you have Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, the guy who was a big proponent of settlements, and as you recall, the guy who kind of snubbed Joe Biden when he visited in 2011, feeling a little, trying to push back a little bit on the notion that there would be an immediate moving of the embassy to Jerusalem, which the potential Israeli ambassador, the new Israeli ambassador as posited. I think it’s a very, beyond Kerry, because Kerry has obviously been a failure in terms of this diplomacy, and the administration has really, really dropped the ball on this, and this was never really a priority. But I think the question going forward is how do these chess pieces get moved around? I think one of the problems here is going to be that you’ve had a Palestinian, and I’m not just talking about Hamas, I’m talking about Abbas’ people, a Palestinian population that has remained relatively, relatively peaceful in the last three or four years because they’ve been fed the notion that something was in the works. If that is off the table, that could change the political dynamic on the ground there, and we could see more agitation.
HH: I had Deputy Minister Michael Oren on yesterday, and Ambassador Dermer, and they both said move the embassy. Michael Oren said it’s 68 years late. And I asked him about what about a new intifada, people are worried about that, and they said no, we don’t live that way. If we lived that way, we wouldn’t have a state. We want the embassy in Jerusalem, and we’re going to go forward. And I think, actually, President Obama, Ben Rhodes and John Kerry have made this whole situation worse. And I think it’s because they just don’t like Bibi. It’s a personal deal. Tell me if I’m wrong.
GT: I think they don’t like Bibi. I think Netanyahu made some strategic miscalculations of his own. I also think this settlement issue is very controversial on both levels. This has clearly been fairly provocative on the Israeli side. There was an opportunity to sort of discuss this. This is a big wedge between the Obama White House and these guys. And frankly, I think it was disgracefully handled on both sides. I mean, there was never really any relationship between these two leaders, and it was incumbent on both of them to get over their personal differences. And by the way, I don’t know if you recall, I was covering the White House at this point in time, the ridiculous back and forth over these visits, when Netanyahu visited the Hill and didn’t visit the White House, the protocol snubs at the White House where they did not allow an official photographer into one of the bi-lats in the White House, really, really kind of small time stuff, exacerbated. But I have to say…
HH: I agree. Agree.
GT: I mean, but I don’t know if we’re going to have an intifada, but again, the question gets into whether or not we are going to be putting Prince Abdullah, King Abdullah of Jordan in a difficult situation. This is a guy who has been enormously helpful, enormously helpful in terms of his intelligence service helping the United States and coordinating quietly with Israel to deal with the ISIS threat and other issues in the area. This puts, remember, this is a Jordanian issue. This puts Jordan…
HH: But I also think, what Obama did was he put Sisi in a terrible position. Sisi’s been working very closely with the Israelis. I’ve got to get to a different question before we run out of time.
GT: Yeah, yeah, sorry.
HH: President Obama said he was going to win a third term. Now I look at this, when he came into power, there were 257 Democrats in the House. There are now 193. When he came into power, there were 59 Democrats, 60 Democrats, actually, Ted Kennedy died. And now, they’re down to 48. Republicans have 33 governorships, all time high. They have 32 legislatures combined. I don’t think he would have won a third term. I know he’s personally popular. I like him. I think he’s a nice guy. I just think that he’s whistling past what happened in the country. One minute to you, Glenn Thrush. Do you think President Obama would have won a third term against Donald Trump?
GT: I think it’s a dumb, it’s like a, I just think it’s a dumb exercise. First of all, no one would win a third term in anything, because no one wants, even with a 54% approval rating, the dynamic of somebody running for a third term is ridiculous.
HH: Yup. Exactly.
GT: People don’t want that.
GT: So you know, and this was a change election. They still like him. I don’t think they would have liked him as much as if he was running for president. For God’s sake, Hillary Clinton had a 62-63% approval rating when it looked like she was going to go off into the sunset. So A) I think it’s ridiculous, but final point, the point that you make about him decimating the Democratic Party by creating the fake Organizing For America as opposed to working through the DNC or building any party structures, that’s a legacy that’s going to screw Democrats for years.
HH: I agree, Glenn, you’ve got to come back next week on time. But remember, ten tweets, the Fourth Way. That’s the penalty box. We need ten tweets from Glenn Thrush promoting my new book, America. We’ve all got that on account now. That’s the penalty box.
End of interview.