All Star Panelist Clint Brewer Weighs in on the Poor Public Relations Strategy for Both Southwest Airlines and the White House


Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer in studio to discuss the poor communication and style coming from the White House and its Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

(Chris Butler clip plays)

Leahy: That’s Chris Butler with a report of State Representative Bruce Griffey. He’s always good for a very timely quote, shall we say?

Brewer: Sure. As a journalist, you got to have those guys.

Leahy: Got to have it. But this whole vaccine mandate thing that Biden has said he wants and large corporations around the country are just caving in left and right. Not all of them, but some of them are. And it’s causing all sorts of supply chain problems.

Southwest Airlines, as you know, I went up to D.C. on Tuesday. I came back on another flight on another airline Wednesday because the Southwest flight that I was coming back on got delayed, delayed, delayed.

Brewer: Yeah, they’re not really explaining why. And the airline won’t actually say why. There’s a lot of suspicion that it’s pilots who won’t do the mandate. That’s what I’ve read.

Leahy: As a public relations expert, Clint, this looks to me like a public relations and operational disaster in terms of the way Southwest Airlines is reporting on it.

Brewer: I don’t know why they wouldn’t just say what’s going on. If it’s an issue of well, we’ve got a large group of our pilots who simply refuse to comply and we can’t operate without them. I mean, that’s not a great thing to admit to, but it’s better than canceling three days worth of flights and not explaining it.

Leahy: And the CEO of Southwest Airlines, Gary Kelly blamed President Biden for this because Biden has said that anybody with federal business in a press release, I don’t think in an executive order, has said that everybody in your company has to have a vaccine by December 8 or you gonna lose federal contracts.

Brewer: With 100 employees or more. That is what I read.

Leahy: Yeah, but that was not an executive order. That was just a press statement.

Brewer: Right.

Leahy: And it wasn’t a law. As Jen Psaki said.

Brewer: I could go on about my exceptions to Ms. Psaki.

Leahy: Is she the biggest liar yet to serve as a press secretary?

Brewer: Here’s my thing. So here’s what I don’t appreciate. I take less exception to this most recent thing than I do. Her treatment of the reporter from the Catholic News Service.

Leahy: What happened there?

Brewer: Oh, she berated this guy. I mean, he works for the Catholic News Service. He was asking questions about abortion. And forget about whatever your views are on abortion. She represents the White House.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders never treated reporters that way. I mean, she just didn’t. You can go back and look, even the Obama press secretary’s didn’t treat reporters that way. Just keep going. You can push back, but you don’t have to be uncivil and ugly about it.

Leahy: Why is the Biden administration so uncivil and ugly to anybody that challenges their ridiculous policies?

Brewer: I mean, look, we’ve got an issue in this country with a sort of lack of civility in the public sphere. And what gets the most air time is people on the right who have sort of made a decision that the ends justify the means and civility and statesmanship.

And just being an American First kind of goes out the window second the agenda. But there’s also an element on the left that does the exact same thing. And I guess it’s probably a little bit much to get into on the radio. But you’ll appreciate this being a student of political history and political science, liberalism.

Leahy: Classic liberalism. You’re talking 19th century classic liberalism.

Brewer: I’m talking the actual foundation.

Leahy: John Stuart Mill.

Brewer: You got it. So it’s interesting. There are a couple of articles that people should read and they’re coming from traditionally left-wing publications. So The Economist and The Atlantic have both recently written stories, long essay-type stories on the rise of illiberal progressivism.

So it’s identity politics. It’s moral absolutism. It’s the same kind of stridency and lack of concern putting an agenda first and putting the country second. And so a lot of the things that the right are accused of, and I mean the very far right and in some cases very accurately so, are also happening on the left.

And so what I see in Psaki is someone who has sort of made up their mind that it’s more important to win the soundbite and win the point, than to represent the White House.

Leahy: Asterisk. Win the soundbite, win the point. She thinks she’s winning the sound bite.

Brewer: Well, yeah.

Leahy: She thinks she’s winning the point. But I think she’s just simply displaying her inner Robespierre.

Brewer: And this failing is on across the spectrum in politics. And it’s just not appropriate way to communicate on behalf of the country. I don’t know how we got off on that.

Leahy: What we’re getting on here is basically the disaster of the last ten months of the Biden maladministration. Have you ever seen has any president in American history that’s had a worse first ten months than Joe Biden?

Brewer: Yes. Bill Clinton.

Leahy: He had a worse first ten months?

Brewer: We didn’t have the Internet.

Leahy: His first ten months were worse? What military disaster did he have.

Brewer: Maybe first two years. (Leahy chuckles) The thing that gets me about Biden that I don’t understand is that, you know, normally what happens. And we’ve talked about this on this show before.

And this is some of what held President Trump back. Normally, what happens in an administration when a new President comes in and their party has been out of power in the White House, what you do is you go back and you hire people from the last administration of your party so that at least you know how to make the trains run on time.

At least you understand how to operate the building. At least you get how to run a West Wing because there are some basic things you have to be able to do, and they don’t seem to be able to do that.

Leahy: It’s so odd because there are so many Obama administration folks there.

Brewer: That’s where I was headed. I don’t get why it’s so dysfunctional. You would think they would at least show up on day one and understand the blocking.

Leahy: I think this is the intentional destruction of the country.

Brewer: I wouldn’t go that far. But I looked at one of the biggest things you do, whether it’s in business or life or politics, as you manage expectations. And really, what Biden’s getting dinged the most for right now is failing to do that.

He’s soft, particularly on two areas. One, Americans are just and not just Republicans. I mean, people across the border are universally unhappy with how we left Afghanistan. It’s a global embarrassment.

So Americans don’t like that. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are. People don’t like that. And then he put himself out there as I’m the guy who can get the pandemic under control.

Leahy: And how are we doing on that one.

Brewer: Well he hasn’t.

Leahy: We have more deaths in this 10 month period than in the 10 months that Trump was in charge.

Brewer: I will not debate the science of the vaccine because I am not a scientist. Let’s just say that the priority at the administration level is to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible. Okay, set aside your beliefs.

Let’s just do this as an intellectual exercise. If that were the case, Where’s the message? Where’s the message that reaches across the aisle? Where is the message as I’ve mentioned, that targets the middle? Where is it?

Leahy: If that’s what you wanted to do you wouldn’t be an authoritarian jerk. You would say hey, here are all the reasons to do it.

Brewer: I mean, use the massive entertainment apparatus in this country to do that.

Leahy: All good points.

Listen to the third hour:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio
















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