On the Commander-in-Chief Forum

Last night, MSNBC hosted a "Commander-in-Chief Forum," which consisted of Matt Lauer questioning Hillary Clinton for a half hour, then questioning Donald Trump for a half hour, in front of an audience of servicemembers and vets, some of whom also got to ask questions, on the subject of their fitness to serve as commander-in-chief.

I live-tweeted the event and made some additional commentary this morning, and I have Storified those tweets for anyone who would like to read them.

My primary takeaways:

Matt Lauer was unfathomably rude to Hillary Clinton, constantly interrupting her. His half-hour with her looked like an antagonistic debate, while his half-hour with Trump looked like a conversation.

Hillary Clinton sounded like a president. She was prepared and knowledgeable and took seriously the questions that were asked, even when they didn't deserve to be taken seriously (see: emails).

Donald Trump sounded like an asshole. He praised Putin and demeaned Obama, repeating his line about how Putin is a better leader than the President.

I honestly can't imagine what it must feel like for an active servicemember to hear Trump denigrate the current commander-in-chief they serve and praise Vladimir Putin. It is upsetting to me, and I feel like it would be even more viscerally, personally, intimately troubling to me if I were in the military.

(Which is not to suggest every member of the military feels the same, of course.)

I spoke to a number of servicemembers and vets and military spouses who were indeed upset about that last night, and I expressed my sympathies to them, which were and are genuine and profound. I feel terrible that they had to listen to that shit. It isn't right.

Nothing about Trump is right. He is just a deeply indecent person, and he is catastrophically unfit to be the nation's commander-in-chief.

On another note, although the organizers of the event have supposedly been trying to make a commander-in-chief forum happen for some time, I find it interesting that it is only when a woman is, for the first time, a serious contender for the presidency that we have an unprecedented forum in which the candidates are asked to convince us of their fitness to lead the military.

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