Good luck, President-elect Biden. You’ll need it.

Biden

This piece was originally published in the Los Angeles Times on November 10, 2020 The careful observer will notice that Joe Biden’s approach to leadership is very different from Donald Trump’s. While Trump has sought to exploit divisions along racial, religious and philosophical lines — stoking grievances, suspicion and sometimes violence — Biden keeps telling us he wants to bring Americans together. Good! Also, good luck! If you’re reading this, chances are very good that on election night you were shocked and depressed at how close the race was. If you’re among those who believe that the election has been stolen from … Read More…

Interview with Christiane Amanpour

I did a nice interview with the great Christiane Amanpour earlier this week. See if you agree with me that I come off as extremely personable and insightful.  Subscribe to The Al Franken Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google Play, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. Signup for the Al Franken Newsletter here.

A Quick Lesson in Math for Donald Trump

Trump

Now caught on tape telling Bob Woodward that he knew how deadly serious the Coronavirus was all along, President Trump is telling the American people that he misled us for our own good.  You know, so that we wouldn’t panic. We can only imagine what would have happened had we, the American people, panicked. You think the toilet paper shortage was bad in March?! Oh my God!!! Fortunately, for all of us, Trump played it all perfectly!  Yesterday, he reminded us once again, that because of his actions “we saved millions of U.S. lives.” Millions! I just hope Americans can … Read More…

What’s Really Going On

Arlington

A lot of people think they understand why Donald Trump asked John Kelly what could possibly have been “in it” for his son and the other tens of thousands of fallen servicemen and women buried at Arlington Cemetery. It’s simple, right? Donald Trump just cannot grasp why anyone would ever do something that didn’t redound to his own personal benefit.  Well, yeah. I’m sure that’s part of it. That is exactly the kind of transactional thinking that you’d expect from a malignant narcissist like him. But it goes deeper than that. Because what was also happening is that Donald Trump, … Read More…

How a Malignant Narcissist Could Successfully Handle the Coronavirus

Donald Trump

It should be of no surprise that a great majority of the men who have sought and successfully attained the office of president have been narcissists. What most Americans would be surprised to learn is that a number of even our most successful and admired presidents like Teddy Roosevelt, for example, were themselves archetypal malignant narcissists. It is said that it was impossible to get through a dinner party without TR somehow working the conversation to the number of Spaniards he slaughtered “leading” the charge up San Juan Hill. And yet Teddy Roosevelt was an enormously successful and consequential president … Read More…

Facebook Does it Again

Mark Zuckerberg

After it came out that, during the 2016 campaign, Facebook had carried pro-Trump and anti-Hillary ads paid for by the GRU Russian intelligence agency, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing with top executives from Google, Twitter, and Facebook. It is against the law for foreigners to contribute to an American political campaign, and creating ads and buying ad space is, of course, considered a campaign contribution. In his opening testimony, Facebook’s general counsel testified that Facebook had not been aware that the Russians had bought ads. When it came my turn to question, I turned my focus on him, … Read More…

Regular Folks

Mitch McConnell

This past quarter the American economy fell at an annualized rate of 32.9%, the most precipitous drop in the 75-years that data have been recorded – the single biggest loss in any quarter in the history of the United States. In all, 22 million Americans lost their jobs because of the coronavirus – through no fault of their own. This Friday provisions protecting those Americans from hunger and homelessness expired. Millions of our fellow Americans now live in abject fear of being evicted from their apartments or losing their homes. Millions face the terrifying anxiety of not knowing whether they … Read More…

Me on The Reid Out with Joy Reid

Joy Reid and Al Franken

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Tom Cotton – The Holocaust “A Necessary Evil”*

Tom Cotton

Only days ago, after asserting that “slavery was a necessary evil,” Tom Cotton was defending himself against charges of being anti-Semitic.  Now, the Arkansas senator has found himself embroiled in yet another controversy after telling The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that “the Holocaust was also a necessary evil.” Appearing earlier today on the Fox News Channel’s morning show Fox and Friends, Cotton justified his remarks, arguing that “absent the Holocaust, Israel would not be a country today.” Claiming that the editors of the newspaper had “taken my words out of context,” Cotton pointed out that “Israel is the only democracy in the … Read More…

Trump Will Eventually Disappear

Donald Trump

Until the coronavirus hit, Trump had not faced a real crisis in the Oval Office. A global pandemic is a doozy of a crisis. Still, it is inconceivable that anyone could possibly have handled the coronavirus any worse.   The fact is that no matter who was president (Hillary Clinton comes to mind) we still would have faced a pandemic in the United States. What we did not have to do is face a completely out-of-control pandemic.  There were the six weeks to two months that Trump assured us that everything was “totally under control.” That our cases would soon … Read More…

Me on Brian Williams

Brian Williams and Al Franken

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Carl Reiner

Al and Carl

I’m less sad than moved today. From everything I know, Carl Reiner lived an exemplary life, loved by pretty much everyone who knew him, and was an indisputable giant of comedy who leaves behind an astounding body of work. I first met Carl decades ago when he was spending a lot of time with Steve Martin. Carl, had just directed Steve in The Jerk, giving the hit movie its shape and heart. Steve and Carl had come to see Franken and Davis at the Improv in Hollywood. Tom Davis and I had been a comedy team since high school, and … Read More…