The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast & Rick Wilson
The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast & Rick Wilson
The Daily Beast
Blunt truth and dark humor for a world in chaos. A Daily Beast podcast hosted by Rick Wilson and Molly Jong-Fast. Tune in every Tuesday and Friday
Alec Baldwin: Here’s Why I Won’t Run for Office (Yet)
Alec Baldwin has given serious thought about running for office. He already knows what it’s like for people to hate his guts (Like for things like playing the president on Saturday Night Live—“They say things like, ‘I don't know who we want to get rid of first Alec Baldwin or Trump.’”) But seriously, he has considered diving head-first into the political world, and there is a chance he still might, but there’s a few things he’d need to take care of first—and someone he’d have to convince. In this episode of The New Abnormal, the 30 Rock actor tells Molly-Jong about his wife’s opinion on the matter, and why he credits his dad for standing “on the right side” of politics these days, according to Molly. After all, out of all the Baldwins in the family, there is only one Trump supporter. “[My dad] was a very progressive guy. He was very, very humanistic, very, and he would always say things to me,” he said. “My father was somebody that kind of understood that if we give people equal rights, it's going to, I don't want to say infiltrate, but pervade through every part of our society. And that's the change.” Baldwin was actually planning on leaving the country if Trump won re-election, but now he’s thinking about still going anyway. (“We still think it's a great time to get the hell out of here.”) In the meantime, he has all eyes on 2022—and a fantasy about being appointed the ambassador to Spain. Baldwin also reveals how much he prepared for impersonating Trump on SNL, and the reason Donald rants for so long at rallies. Plus! Listen closely, there’s a moment when he and Molly are almost the victims of a horror movie that only parents would find scary. Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now. 
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Nov 28
20 min
TEASER: Who Will Trump Pardon Before He Leaves Office?
The end of the Trump administration is like the end of a season finale of the most batshit Netflix show. Everyone has questions of how it will finally end, including one big one: Will Trump pardon himself before leaving office? Some theories predict VP Mike Pence could assume the presidency for just enough time to pardon Trump. But, Rick Wilson doesn’t see that happening. In this members-only bonus episode of The New Abnormal, Rick and co-host Molly Jong-Fast do a Q&A with producer Jesse Cannon to answer some of these burning questions about the Trump administration and their performance as political commentators (“I got wrong a lot,” says Molly. Rick also has three major predictions he got wrong during the election cycle.) But one thing they’re sure of, is that the chances of Pence pardoning the president are extremely unlikely. The two think Trump pardoning himself is more likely, but there’s a big caveat to that. “The essential thing of a pardon is it involves the admission of a crime. And so he has to admit that he violated the law,” says Rick. Rick and Molly also discuss why Biden’s ‘“boring” Cabinet picks (unlike Trump’s) will piss off Mitch McConnell: “He's picking people who are not these enormously, you know, controversial or dramatic figures. And that's okay.” Plus! The hosts talk about their favorite crimes of the Trump administration, and speaking of crime, “I think we're going to hear about Jared for a long time.” And will there be a President Dan Bongino in 2024?? Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now. 
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Nov 26
3 min
Ivanka’s BFF: Trump Gave Kids’ Friends Supermodel Nicknames
If you thought Ivanka Trump’s childhood best friend, Lysandra Ohrstrom, had enough to say about the First Daughter in her scathing Vanity Fair article, you’d be mistaken. Oh no, Lysandra isn’t finished yet. She came on the latest episode of The New Abnormal to talk about the president’s favorite kid and the offensive and crude things Ivanka and her dad would say or do when the two were growing up—and what finally made Lysandra become the “class traitor” many have been quick to call her on Twitter. “I have really been grappling with whether to do this for so long since Trump announced that he was running,” she told Molly Jong-Fast. In fact, “Ly” (as Ivanka called her) had been loyal to Ivanka over the last four years to the point where she forwarded her press requests as a heads up. But standing in line to vote early this fall, enough was enough. (“I just went home. I sat at my computer and I started writing a long essay about why her dad shouldn't be president. And it was very much pegged to my recollections of growing up with him.”) Some of the “recollections” include Trump calling out Lysandra’s looks and nicknaming Ivanka’s young friends after models like Cindy Crawford, behavior that she found “shocking as a kid.” (“Most dads didn't make comments about your weight. Most dads didn't kind of call all of my young friends after different models.”) She also addresses that necklace incident mentioned in the article, all of their friends who called to thank her for writing the article, and if Ivanka will ever be welcomed back in New York City. Plus! New York Times National Politics Reporter Astead Wesley joins to talk about an interesting call he had with AOC and the prediction about QAnon Queen and Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene that made Molly sick. And! Rick Wilson and Molly talk about “Coup-anon” and the ways Trump is basically “Kim Jong Un without the good hair.” Oh, and why Sidney Powell is “a complete whackadoodle,” in case it isn’t obvious. Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now. 
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Nov 23
56 min
TEASER: Biden Doesn’t Want to Prosecute Trumpland. But His AG Still Might.
Team Biden has made his incoming style of presidency very clear: Keep the peace. Or in his aides’ words, “move the country forward.” Unfortunately, moving forward doesn’t include prosecuting Trump and his band of thieves, er, White House staffers and campaign confidants. In this bonus episode of The New Abnormal, which happened LIVE on Zoom, The Daily Beast’s DC Bureau Chief Jackie Kucinich confirms this to co-hosts Rick WIlson and Molly Jong-Fast: “Where we’re at in the process, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen.” BUT. And this is a big BUT: Biden’s Attorney General still could go after Trump, points out Beast Trumpworld Reporter Asawin “Swin” Suebsaeng (“It will be interesting to see how that particular pick moves forward.”) Speaking of “what ifs,” the quad also muse about what the political world will look like without Trump as president, and sorry to say, not too much different. “One of the worst liberal fantasies is that he’s going to go to Mar-a-Lago and not come back,” Molly says, but that ain’t gonna happen. “Biden will be president January 20. But the Trump presidency as it is a state of mind is going to continue. Anyone who thinks the Republican party is going to go back to how they were before Trump is living in a fantasy land,” says Jackie. Rick and Swin have even more sinister predictions: “I don’t want to jump the gun here, but we should see if he tries to run some shadow foreign relations [scheme] from Mar-a-Lago or the Trump organization,” says Swin. Don’t forget the rallies, either! According to Rick, they’ll continue, but “they’ll be ticketed. He’ll use them as a revenue source.” Then! Jackie talks about the chances of Biden’s ole buddy Mitch McConnell coming around and the group makes their pick for which MAGA bot will make the best bachelor or bachelorette. Plus! Will Democrats have to drag GSA official Emily Murphy out of her post? And what the hell is happening in Georgia!? 
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Nov 22
6 min
Amy Klobuchar: Forget Trump’s Election Rants. Biden Has This
“It's so funny,” Molly Jong-Fast tells Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “There's been so much sexist talk about women [in politics] being too emotional and being too sensitive. And then we have an entire party held hostage by the president's moods.”  Klobuchar laughs in response: “Exactly. I think it was John Bolton that said that we just don't have time to live through seven stages of the president's grief. That is exactly what's happening.” “Even when presidents have lost elections,” the senator adds, “they have led, they have had to deal with last-minute crises. And this guy is not doing it. I don't think we should be surprised, but the fact that he is not leading and trying to demolish our democracy at the same time and tarnish the reputation of good people like [Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency] Chris Krebs is just an unbelievable trio of evil.”  But don’t worry, the senator says on the latest edition of The New Abnormal. Despite all the histrionics and the wackadoodle press conferences and the late-night tweets, this presidency is over. “It is getting more and more clear that there's no other paths. And at some point [the Republicans] are going to have to allow for this transition.” It’s not even like the goal of the Trumpists is to win, despite all their quasi-fascist, overturn-the-election talk, says Rick Wilson. “The goal is to sow dissension, the goal is to build chaos. The goal is to ensure that the Trump brand for the next four years still is able to grift off of their email list and suck down rube dollars: ‘they can steal our election, but they can't steal our pride.’”  And what should Biden do, once he’s in the Oval and Trump is still doing his authoritarian wannabe thing? And his enablers are back in the senate? There have been some leaks out of Bidenworld that Joe is disinclined towards retribution. “I think they need to recognize that playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules and playing nice” won’t work, Rick says. “I think Lindsey Graham needs to be under investigation by the ethics committee. The guy’s involved in outright attempts to fraudulently manipulate the election. It’s just crazy.”  Molly isn’t so sure. Quoting Masha Gessen, she says: “it's really important that the president doesn't look like he's doing that [taking retribution against Trump], because democratic norms are so important. Instead, we have to narrate the experience of the people who've gone through Trumpism.”  Which is another way of saying this is—hopefully, please God—almost over. Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now. 
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Nov 19
39 min
My Twitter War With the Congresswoman from QAnon
Molly Jong-Fast explains to Rick Wilson why she got into a brouhaha with the Congresswoman from the First District of QAnon in the latest episode of The New Abnormal, which features presidential transition veteran Neera Tanden of The Center For American Progress and Carl Zimmer of The New York Times, who gets us up to speed on the latest vaccine breakthroughs.   Molly and Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, an avowed QAnon supporter, fell out on Twitter over different interpretations of government interference in a woman’s health.   “I did make fun of her because she used the phrase ‘My body, my choice,’ when referring to not wanting to wear a mask, which is of course an expression that is used by the pro-choice community,” Molly said. “So, I may have suggested that she might also be pro-choice, which got her just enraged because while she won’t wear a mask, she does not want anyone to have control over their own uterus.”   Rick said Greene will continue to court the vote of conspiracy theorists who believed President Trump went to Washington to fight a cabal of elite pedophiles even though he was now on the way out. “She’s a weaponized money suck for crazy people. And so that’s why she’s going to flirt with Q and all this other bullshit.”   Rick said he had been following one other Twitterstorm this week, over the blossoming friendship between forgotten Trump child Tiffany and another fringe Republican congressman Matt Gaetz. “It's someday going to grace, the pages of TMZ, and perhaps even be the subject of a Netflix show called ‘The Orange Crown.’”   Molly agreed this one has legs: “I feel like it's so stupid. They're probably going to get married.”   Neera Tanden, who worked on the 2008 Obama transition, said Trump’s “temper tantrum” over the election, which he lost, would have real terms consequences. “You may face unnecessary deaths because of their slow walking transition, which has nothing to do with anything other than feeding the defeated president’s ego,” she said.   In most departments, Tanden says the challenge for Biden is not understanding how the agencies work as they have ample experience of that, it’s trying to work out just how much damage has been done. “I imagine there’s a fair amount of trying to bury the bodies,” she said. Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now. 
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Nov 16
57 min
TEASER: Masha Gessen: The Problem Is Not Russian Interference. It’s That We Let It In.
President Donald Trump may be following Vladimir Putin’s Autocratic playbook closer than we all realize—and the Russian interference was just the tip of the iceberg. In this bonus members-only episode of The New Abnormal, the New Yorker staff writer and Surviving Autocracy author Masha Gessen joins co-host Molly Jong-Fast to talk about this phenomenon. They explain that leaders like Trump and Putin put a system in place to hold power, and if you’re wondering how a man like Trump could do something so seemingly elaborate, it makes sense. “The destruction they wreak is all the more effective because of the incompetence,” Gessen explains. “They thrive on instability. The more anxious people are the less likely they are to opt for change ” Biden, they say, will have to dismantle this system (though they wish the president-elect would ditch the “Build Back Better” campaign). Why? For the same reason they dislike when people solely focus on Russian interference. “We've been very stupid to focus on it as much as we have,” Gessen explains. “The problem is not Russian interference, the problem is we sank so low to where Russian interference sank in.” Plus! Hear why they compare Trump to a ‘witch afraid of water’ when it comes to lawmakers of color like AOC and the late John Lewis. Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now. 
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Nov 15
4 min
Trump’s Election ‘Coup’ Is More Like a Fake Orgasm
Does Donald Trump even know what a coup is? Doubtful, which is one of the reasons, in this episode of The New Abnormal, that co-hosts Rick Wilson and Molly Jong-Fast don’t believe whatever nonsense the president is pulling counts as one. That, and the fact that the military needs to support said coup and they won’t. “They may be telling him that [they are], but it is the fake orgasm of coups. They're making noises that sound real, but it's not real,” says Rick. Still, the scammer-in-chief and his GOP minions are persistent, and asking for money to help fund these state lawsuits. (“If you wrote this in a Hollywood script about a family of presidential grifters, it would be too on the nose,” adds Rick.) The Beast’s National Security reporter Spencer Ackerman makes his TNA debut to explain the lead up to Mark Esper’s departure and how the Pentagon is basically planning to f*ck Joe Biden. “I'm not the guy who does the comforting stories,” he laughs. Then, columnist and Veep producer Frank Rich tells the crew the ways Trump is much more incompetent than Selina Meyer and Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman makes a very strong case against there being voter fraud in the state. Plus! Rick explains how Trump’s presidency is like a robot floating through space and Molly gives a new name to his followers. Hint: It has the word cult in it. 
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Nov 12
59 min
Ivanka Trump Is Never, Ever Going To Be Forgiven
She may have been hoping to spend her days jet-setting between Davos and Aspen—when she wasn’t mingling with Manhattan’s gentry. But only the super rich get those kinds of second chances. And that ain’t Ivanka. “They get forgiven because they have billions of dollars—they can float a charity. Someone like [New York Jets owner and ambassador to the UK] Woody Johnson, who's given millions and millions of dollars to Trump and who has been a real Republican piece of shit, will get forgiven because he can donate and donate, right? Someone like Ivanka, who is so clearly an eyesore—and isn't so rich—ultimately, she’s not going to get forgiven,” Molly says on the latest episode of The New Abnormal. The best Ivanka Trump can hope for, Molly Jong-Fast says, is a scuzzy reality show, like her dad. Speaking of the Trump family, Mary Trump joins the crew to discuss her uncle’s electoral loss. “It's amazing. On the one hand, losing is the thing that is the worst thing to do [in his mind]. But he's never won anything ever… never won anything legitimately. Legitimacy means nothing to him because his ego is such that if he gets the win, just by virtue of cheating, lying, stealing, he knows he deserves to win. So it's okay for him to cheat, lie, and steal.” In happier news, famed scientist and physician Eric Topol says the early results about the new COVID vaccine really are a ray of hope. He believes it might even be a so-called “superhuman vaccine… meaning it’s even more powerful than the typical human response,” he tells Molly. “We could see the virus having a hard time finding people to infect by mid-year… This virus will probably be endemic. It'll be here for years. But it's just going to have a harder time finding people.” But don’t throw out your masks or anything, he warns. “They're going to be really important in 2021… First of all, the vaccines, when we talk about 90% efficacy, that's against pneumonia or getting your body infected with illness, it doesn't sterilize the upper respiratory tract. That is the nose. And so you could be a carrier of the virus. You’re going to have to wear a mask because you won't know if the virus is sitting” in your nose. So, not back to normal any time soon. But we’ll take it. Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now. 
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Nov 9
1 hr 1 min
Can Dems Keep It Together Long Enough to Beat McConnell?
Joe Biden is asking Americans to turn down the heat. Some of his strongest supporters are busy lighting one another on fire. Biden and Kamala Harris hadn’t even been declared the winners of the election when members of their far-flung coalition began attacking one another: Blue Dog versus Democratic Socialist, the Squad versus Abigail Spanberger and other purple-district Dems. “You would think that they would want to enjoy their victory for, like, 30 seconds. You would think that after toppling a sitting president, they would want a high five once,” Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Noah Shachtman tells Molly Jong-Fast and Rick Wilson on a special edition of The New Abnormal. Especially because there are two big run-off elections in Georgia this January—races that will determine whether Mitch McConnell runs the Senate or not. Rick, for one, smells blood: “There may be some Republicans who now look at McConnell as the Alamo,, but no one has ever like gotten up on a rainy January morning and thought, ‘My God, I must defend Mitch. McConnell's honor! He is one last knight standing on the hill!’” Plus! Molly talks about the deeply weird dynamic of cable news hosts trying to get Trump to GTFO. Then she gets Rick to admit that Americans love a bit of socialism—when it’s called something else. The gang ponders what constitutes a giant raft of horseshit. Rick addresses his GOP past. And Trumpists scramble to find new jobs. (“My favorite piece of intel from election day was from one sources in the campaign. I said, ‘What you doing?’ And the response was: ‘LinkedIn.’”) Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now. 
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Nov 8
33 min
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