Background Briefing: April 21, 2020


Having the Toddler-in-Chief in Charge During a Real Crisis

We begin with the toddler-in-chief on display at Monday’s White House briefing whose reaction to a question from a female reporter revealed his sociopathic lack of empathy and pathological narcissism when he responded to whether he feels any responsibility for the loss of 40,000 plus American lives by congratulating himself on how many people all over the country love him. Daniel Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University whose latest book is The Toddler in Chief: What Donald Trump Teaches us About the Modern Presidency joins us to discuss his latest article at The Washington Post “Am I in Denial About November?” in which he argues the mainstream media is going out of its way to give Trump’s campaign the benefit of the doubt about his chances for reelection in November, although campaign tactics are meaningless when the administration has bungled its pandemic response and the economy is cratering. In his book Drezner predicted months ago that the idea of the toddler “coping with a true crisis – a terrorist attack, a global pandemic, or a great power clash with China – is truly frightening”. But while the toddler throws tantrums all the time inside the confines of the White House, Drezner concludes that although Trump comes close to meltdowns in public when challenged by female reporters, if he were to have a tantrum on camera, it would not hurt him any more than the “Access Hollywood” tape did.

Is North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in Grave Condition?

Then we look into reports from North Korean defectors and other sources that the reclusive dictator Kim Jong-un underwent a cardiovascular procedure on April 12 and has not been seen since, missing an important national event on April 15, the birthday of his grandfather the eternal leader of North Korea. Sue Mi Terry, a senior Fellow at the Center for International and Strategic Studies who served as deputy national intelligence officer for East Asia and Director of Japan, Korea and Oceanic Affairs at the National Security Council, joins us to discuss the possibility that this obese chain-smoking diabetic with hypertension who drinks a lot, could either be recovering from surgery or be in a grave condition.

Trump’s Plans to Bailout Oil Industry Executives and Shareholders

Then finally we speak with Tyson Slocum, the Director of the Energy Program at Public Citizen about Trump’s tweet today in response to the crash of the oil market that “we will never let the great U.S. Oil and Gas Industry down”. Slocum argues that instead of bailing out executives and shareholders of a polluting industry that has made repeated bad bets, the federal government should extend a lifeline to oil workers while using this opportunity to invest in green energy production, jobs and infrastructure.