Imagine you’re a real reporter—not a thinly-disguised member of the Dem cheerleading squad—and you had the opportunity to question President Obama’s spokesman this morning. Wouldn’t you have wanted to know the degree to which President Obama and his minions were complicit in the fiasco of the redaction of the Omar Mateern tapes, removing most of his proclamations of allegiance to ISIS, Allah, etc?

But when the Morning Joe crew interviewed Josh Earnest, not a word about the Mateen tapes, or anything else that might have jostled Josh’s feathers. To the contrary, the interview was one long set-up, giving Earnest the chance to sanctimonously wring his hands over the rejection by the Republican Senate of various gun control measures. Most bathetic of all was Mike Barnicle. Barnicle prefaced his question by saying “I’m going to ask you to do something that’s probably difficult given your role as White House spokesperson.” For a fleeting second one imagined Barnicle was about to challenge Earnest with an uncomfortable question. Hah! “Give us a feel for the president as a human being, okay? As a father, as a parent, as a citizen because we all know what happened in Orlando.” Hard-hitting stuff, Mike!

Morning Joe Slings Gun-Control Softballs to WH Spox Earnest from Mark Finkelstein on Vimeo.

Morning Joe didn’t ask any challenging gun-control questions, along the lines “what good would any of the proposed measures have done given that Omar was not on any terror lists and had passed the background check?”

Earnest repeatedly called Republicans “cowards.” In contrast with brave Josh, who intrepidly faced Morning Joe‘s withering fire of down-filled softballs!

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Americans, according to a poll just out, want increased background checks for terrorists. They want increased background checks for people who are domestic abusers. They want increased background checks for Americans. Only 8% oppose. Preventing convicted felons or people with mental health problems. 87% favor those specific gun measures. And 85%, like you said, want to prevent people who are on the terrorist watch list from owning guns. This is surreal. 85% of Americans agree that people that the FBI suspect are going to commit acts of terrorism against Americans probably shouldn’t be able to walk into a store and get a gun.

JOSH EARNEST: Look, I think it’s common sense. If the government thinks it’s too dangerous for you to board an airplane, why do we think it’s okay for you to walk into a gun store and buy a gun? So it’s very disappointing that we haven’t seen Democrats and Republicans come together in commonsense fashion to support something like this. And the president has been pretty blunt about this. We’re only going to see the change that we need in our gun laws when we actually see the change that we need in congress and the president has made clear he’s going to be a single-issue voter on this and he believes that other people who share his passion for trying to reduce gun violence and passing commonsense gun-safety legislation that would reduce gun violence without undermining the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, they’re going to have to be single-issue voters on this issue too.

MIKE BARNICLE: Hey Josh, I’m going to ask you to do something that’s probably difficult given your role as White House spokesperson. And it is to give us a feel for the president as a human being, okay? As a father, as a parent, as a citizen because we all know what happened in Orlando. And yet before the burials even took place, we were told over the weekend there were going to be four bills presented in the United States Senate, gun measures, and that we were told also that all four were doomed to defeat. What’s his reaction as a human being knowing that this stuff is going to be on the floor of the Senate and knowing ahead of time that it’s all going to go down to defeat?

EARNEST: I think the president is profoundly frustrated. And the reason for that is simple. The president has a responsibility. As a symbol of the country, as a leader of the country to go down to Orlando, just as he did last week and meet in person with the families who have lost loved ones in these terrible incidents. And the president himself said the most common question that those family members who lost loved ones asked him was simple. Why does this keep happening? Why does this keep happening?


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