President Barack Obama may need to accept the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder as part of a plan to “get control” of the three scandals hounding the administration, historian Douglas Brinkley advised Tuesday.
Action is more important than rhetoric in times like these, Brinkley told “Hardball” host Chris Matthews on MSNBC.
“I think immediately he’s got to get control over these three issues,” Brinkley said. “I think he might have to look at accepting a resignation from Eric Holder possibly. I think in Benghazi — it’s drug on too long. Just come clean, talk straight about the talking points, what happened and move on. Look, it’s the cover-up that always gets you in problems, and you just don’t need this. It’s not been a good season for Barack Obama, and I think he has an opportunity to just — I’m sure his poll numbers are going to still stay high. People trust him. But he can’t let his integrity get dented and then do some big things. Don’t just talk about it. If you’re going to close Guantanamo, close it. If you want the Keystone pipeline to happen, then say it’s going to happen. There have been too many trial balloons.”
Even Matthews, a longtime supporter of Obama, agreed and pointed to how former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Franklin Delano Roosevelt handled crises.
“What I sense is a lack of action — talk,” Matthews said. “His words don’t — Nia [Malika Henderson], you know this covering him all the time. He’s good at words. And action, I go back to Reagan and the PATCO strike, I go through all the history of Iran-Contra. Reagan didn’t put that behind him till Nancy, his wife, got him to admit he did do it — he did trade arms for hostages. And until he did that it wasn’t over with. What’s his name — Roosevelt tried to pack the court until he pulled back on that. That was the only issue. I just don’t know whether you can get away with the issue that’s thrown in his face right now.”
Matthews then asked Brinkley if Obama is in real trouble.
“Not yet,” Brinkley replied. “But as you said, he’s got to talk directly to the American people on all three of these. He’s got to push for immigration reform. If he doesn’t get it, he’s going to have to cut out on his own, use executive power and find ways to lead without worrying about Congress. But I think the gun control failure really did some damage to him this spring. If he had won that, this would seem much smaller right now.”