In a bizarre defense of President Donald Trump’s lack of grasp of public policy, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) suggested on Thursday that it does not matter if the president of the United States has any understanding at all of major legislation. His reasoning: a biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that he is reading currently noted that the 32nd president did not have a deep understanding of fiat money.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski asked the Republican senator about conservative columnist and National Review editor Rich Lowry’s accusation that Trump has “protean policy views” and absolutely no idea how he wants to govern. Rather than admit that Trump’s lack of interest in legislative specifics is a problem, Cassidy first attacked Barack Obama, then noted that Dwight Eisenhower delegated policy details to his staff, and finally pointed out that a book he is reading about FDR suggested that he made a policy change once without being deeply involved.
“FDR, as best as I can tell, had no kind of involvement at all in our conversion to the paper currency. You know, we’re going away from the gold standard and we’re now gonna do the do the ‘full faith and credit’ of the Federal Reserve behind a paper bill. As best I can tell, it was brought to him fait accompli and he signed off. That’s a pretty significant change in our economic history, which as best as I understand was not anything he was intimately involved with. It was some fellow playing the guitar at home and the thought occurred to him. And I don’t mean to minimize it. That’s just the way the guy unwound. I think different presidents have different ways of governing. We just have to respect that.”
A stunned Brzezinski then pressed Cassidy on Trump’s repeated failure to tell the truth, but again Cassidy defended the president by suggesting that since the president speaks in hyperbole, it is impossible to judge whether he lies. “‘The most beautiful in the world.’ Well, what’s the most beautiful in the world? That’s in the eye of the beholder. So the president has a manner of speaking which is easily taken as a lie, and the president would refute that. I frankly don’t focus on that, Mika.”
The hosts then noted that Trump would probably sign smeared spaghetti sauce by children if he was told it was a healthcare bill, and mockingly calling Cassidy’s interview a “profile in courage.”