On Friday night, Bill Maher welcomed blonde right wing firebrand Tomi Lahren as one of the guest panelists on his HBO program Real Time, thanking her for entering the hornet’s nest as a Trump apologist.
Maher began by listing a few of the executive orders Donald Trump has signed in his first two weeks in office, including: selling guns to “the severely mentally ill,” allowing mining companies to “dump their toxic waste into a stream,” letting oil companies no longer “report the bribes they get anymore from third-world dictators,” and stripping a “fiduciary rule that prevented financial advisors from ripping off their clients” by acting in the customer’s best interest.
Then he posed a question to Lahren: “I guess my question is, Trump was all about helping the little guy. This looks like special interest stuff. How does letting a coal company dump the sludge in the river help the little guy?”
“The forgotten American,” rambled Lahren. “The coal industry has been attacked. Obama went to war against the coal industry and they saw massive declines, and they were on their way out the door. Look at the American worker. We need to take a minute, take a step back and realize…”
“Even if we allowed coal,” interrupted Maher, “why allow the company to dump the sludge in the river?”
“It’s a more complex issue than that though, and some of this regulation was doubled-up upon as well,” mumbled Lahren, clearly having no idea what she was talking about.
Later on in the program, the panel debated Trump’s first military operation as Commander-in-Chief: a failed Yemen mission that resulted in one dead American soldier, a dead 8-year-old girl, and countless other civilian casualties. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed that the raid was planned on the evening of Jan. 25 during dinner with his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, and security and intelligence officials.
“US military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations,” reported Reuters. “As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced Al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger-than-expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.
“It was a huge fuck up,” said Maher of the op. “Now, I’m not saying that was all Donald Trump’s fault—although it doesn’t look good. But if it was Hillary Clinton, this would be the new Benghazi. This would be Benghazi times ten.”
Lahren seemed to half-heartedly agree. “So we shouldn’t talk about intentions. You’re right—on the left, and the right. We shouldn’t,” she muttered incoherently. “I would also agree that if Hillary did this, there would be a backlash from those on the right and they would say it was the second coming of Benghazi, and I agree with you.”
“So you’re saying Benghazi was bullshit? That they blamed it on Hillary?” asked Maher.
“No. I’m saying it would have been unfair to peg this on Hillary,” Lahren replied.
Then Jason Kander, a Democratic Senate candidate from Missouri and former Army intelligence officer in Afghanistan under George W. Bush, chimed in.
“No, I mean, you know pretty well y’all used the people who died [in Benghazi] as political chess pieces for quite a few years. And you’re absolutely right. I agree with you that, if five days into her presidency, Hillary Clinton had made a decision over dinner with her son-in-law [Jared Kushner] and Steve Bannon to conduct a raid—forget the fact that he didn’t go through the regular interagency processes. I’m a former Army intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan, and I just think about—what if when I were in Afghanistan you had President Bush saying he wasn’t interested in receiving intelligence briefings [like Trump]. It just didn’t interest him that much. I’d feel terrible for the guys on the ground.”
“But you also realize the president is not in charge of actually making military operations? It’s brought to him,” offered Lahren, again making little to no sense.
“I’m sorry… what?” said a confused Kander.