Juan Williams thinks that if he were playing poker with Donald Trump, he’d take the president’s money.
But Jesse Watters reminded him that, in November of 2016, Trump’s the one who took all of the chips.
Williams, the longtime NPR journalist, has been the resident liberal on Fox News’ “The Five” for some time now. During Tuesday’s show, Williams called Trump an “idiot” during a debate about Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who became the first Republican in Congress to call for Trump’s impeachment.
The fact that Trump was going after Amash — as well as early Democratic front-runner Joe Biden — proved to Williams that the sitting president is a simpleton.
“I think if we invited Donald Trump to the table to play poker with ‘The Five,’ I’d take his money big time,” Williams said.
“It’s like a poker player and he keeps blinking. He’s like, ‘I know what’s going on.’ He thinks Joe Biden is a threat in Pennsylvania. That’s why he’s attacking Joe Biden like that.
“He’s not attacking Kamala Harris. He’s not going after anybody else. He’s going after Joe Biden, he’s going after the media sometimes…”
“He’s going after Justin Amash. Why? There’s a Republican whose finally saying it’s time to impeach this idiot. Yes, this is no coincidence.”
This got a “whoa” from panelist Dana Perino and a more full-throated correction from Jesse Watters.
“He’s not an idiot, Juan,” Watters said. “He’s the president of the United States.”
Not only that, he’s a real-estate mogul who parlayed that into a place in the national culture as a media mogul, reinvented himself after a collapse in the 1990s, flirted with running for the presidency twice, finally ran for it to much derision in 2016 and, well, won.
One of the most persistent myths — particularly in politics — is that of the lucky idiot, the man who bounds from success to success while being a complete ignoramus, somewhat like Peter Sellers’ character in “Being There.”
This is generally untrue in most senses. There are politicians at the highest levels who say or do dumb things and may have fallen upwards. (See: O’Rourke, Beto.) If that’s true, their staying power is almost always limited.
Say what you will about Donald Trump’s policies or character, he was the first man to win the presidency without being either an elected official, a cabinet member or a general in the military. He did so with half the money Hillary Clinton had and with a relentless media opposition that painted him as an idiot, a xenophobe, a sexist and an all-around bounder.
Furthermore, he ascended to the presidency after a successful career in both business and media. He presided over an empire that was worth billions of dollars. Is this what one calls idiocy?
Juan Williams may not be interested in either elected office or the trappings of wealth, and that’s certainly his decision. However, the idea that he’s infinitely more capable in the mental department seems, well, farcical — and his response of “what?” here certainly speaks volumes.
While he might be the most serious journalist to put that sentiment so explicitly, at least in recent memory, he’s certainly not alone among media figures who believe themselves to be mentally superior to the president.
I don’t think Trump particularly minds, however.
The media and the Democrats entertained the same thoughts back in 2015 and 2016, and look how it turned out for him.