News In 5 Minutes

News When You Want It

NBC Exclusively Blames ‘Bully’ Trump for ‘Hot Mess,’ ‘Trainwreck’ Debate



After Tuesday’s exhausting and raucous presidential debate, NBC did its best to standup for fellow progressives and Joe Biden, exclusively blaming President Trump for having created the “brawl,” “crazy,” “hot mess,” and “trainwreck” of a debate that made for “a low point in American political discourse” that was inappropriate for children.

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt led off by admitting that “[i]f hearing that this debate is over was music to your ears, you may not be alone” after having witnessed “[w]hat could have been a low point in American political discourse” that went beyond “a food fight” into “a brawl.”

 

 

Today co-host Savannah Guthrie said this wasn’t “American democracy at work” and “a normal tussle between foes,” but instead a “crazy,” “cringeworthy,” “undignified,” and “all-out grudge match.”

Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd stepped up and said what NBCers were thinking, which was that “[i]t was a train wreck, but it was a train wreck of — the making of one person.”

He added that Trump should be to blame for Biden losing his cool:

We know who did it. President Trump did this and, in some ways, it’s the only way he knows what to do. He bulldozed over the moderator, bulldozed over Chris Wallace, bulldozed and at times flustered Joe Biden. But I don’t know if anybody wouldn’t have been flustered by the President’s behavior and the President’s performance. It — it — it is — it was a pure train wreck. I don’t know how that helped anybody. If you were watching this as an undecided voter, I don’t know if it helped at all. I don’t know what you learned.

When it came to who got an edge, Todd bragged: “Joe Biden’s campaign has been trying to make the case essentially that President Trump is a fraud, a bully, and has no plans. That was one thing that seemed to get through, I think at times, and certainly President Trump played the role of the bully quite well.”

Longtime NBC correspondent and Swamp resident Andrea Mitchell lamented the evening was “a hot mess” even though “you can fault Joe Biden perhaps for letting the President get him rattled and for not drilling down on the tax issue and other issues, but frankly, the format — and that, you have to fault the moderator and the way the questions were posed once President Trump was rolling over them and bulldozing them.”

“This was a disgrace, frankly and the President just did not observe any of the format that his own campaign had agreed to, so I’m not sure what Joe Biden could have done other than trying to get a word in and trying to answer the questions that were asked,” she groused.

White House correspondent Hallie Jackson provided her thoughts from inside the debate hall, noting how Biden was rattled by Trump while also attacking him for having supposedly failed to denounce hate groups (click “expand,” emphasis mine):

When you talk about the idea of the President’s strategy going into this and the idea of letting Trump be Trump, as is so often said, listen, the campaign, sources close to the preparations here, had said they wanted to see the President go on attack. That was part of what they were coming into this with. Obviously that happened. That was an incredibly aggressive Donald Trump on stage tonight. He went after, as expected, Hunter Biden multiple times. Of course the President’s son. You talk about, Savannah, Vice President Biden being on defense to that degree, because of the nature of the interruptions, frankly, from the President, it seemed like it was difficult for Joe Biden to be able to push backstantive way when the President was rat-a-tat-tat with these attacks on Biden repeatedly, over and over again, on Hunter Biden. I can tell you that there is already appreciation from people in trump world for those Hunter Biden attacks. That is something you’ll be hearing over the next 24, 48 hours and beyond. As Chuck points out, there are moments that people who support President Trump are seizing on to say, listen, he was on his game, he had energy, is sort of the thinking here, he came out and attacked. 

On the other hand, I think it is notable, when we talk about the substance of this debate, a couple of points, and things that the President simply did not say. It cannot go unnoticed that Joe Biden, the former vice president, directly called President Trump a racist. President Trump did not respond to that. The President was directly asked to denounce white supremacy and the Proud Boys. The President said “stand back and stand by” which is not a denunciation. The President was directly asked to urge calm to her supporters ahead of election day. President Trump did not do that. I think, substantively, those are some things you’ll be hearing over the next couple of days. And just to give you a sense, I have to tell you. Inside this debate hall, I’ve been to other debates, this is different for a lot of reasons, notably from some of the COVID precautions and much smaller audience. It was a more intimate hall feeling and that made it jarring, frankly, to see this chaos on this stage go down, just as somebody who was inside the room here. 

Before National Review’s Rich Lowry called the night “dispiriting” even though “Biden was evasive on some key questions,” former Senator and MSNBC/NBC pundit Claire McCaskill ruled that Biden showed “presidential self-control” as Trump “behaved like a 12th grader.”

After a commercial break, Guthrie fretted about what parents across the country were tasked with doing and saying if they allowed young children to watch the debate, to which Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt agreed that she’s “grateful my son was too young to watch that.”

Based on that conversation (which you can read at the bottom) and hadn’t watched the debate, you might have thought they spoke in sexually-graphic language and used expletives.

Despite Todd’s hot takes and blaming the debate’s atmosphere on Trump, he concluded seconds before NBC went off the air that “nothing else has changed the trajectory of this race and even though we’ll all hand-wring about this debate tonight, I doubt this will change things much either.” 

NBC’s post-debate analysis was brought to you by advertisers such as Progressive and Volkswagen. Follow the links to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant NBC transcript from September 29, click “expand.”

2020 Presidential Debate 1: NBC News Special
September 29, 2020
10:39 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: If hearing that this debate is over was music to your ears, you may not be alone. What could have been a low point in American political discourse, certainly in any modern debate we’ve seen, just took place over an hour and a half. If you showed up looking for a food fight, you got a brawl between these two men, language that we have rarely heard from candidates in a — in a political debate, name calling that went to a new level. Frankly, Savannah Guthrie, I’m at a bit of a loss for words here to describe what we’ve just witnessed. 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, maybe because I think like so many in this country just watching this, your jaw just drops, you can’t pretend that this was a normal debate, a normal example of American democracy at work, a normal tussle between foes. This was different. This was an all-out grudge match. It was undignified at many times. It was cringeworthy at many times and as I turn to Chuck, we can’t pretend — I go to you, Chuck, with my normal political analysis question — 

CHUCK TODD: No. 

GUTHRIE: — because I think we need to pause for a moment and say, that was crazy. What was that? 

TODD: It was a train wreck, but it was a train wreck of — the making of one person. We know who did it. President Trump did this and, in some ways, it’s the only way he knows what to do. He bulldozed over the moderator, bulldozed over Chris Wallace, bulldozed and at times flustered Joe Biden. But I don’t know if anybody wouldn’t have been flustered by the President’s behavior and the President’s performance. It — it — it is — it was a pure train wreck. I don’t know how that helped anybody. If you were watching this as an undecided voter, I don’t know if it helped at all. I don’t know what you learned. I mean, it was very —

GUTHRIE: Well, did you stay on the channel? I got a lot of texts —

TODD: — I don’t know how people —

GUTHRIE: — from people saying I turned it off. 

TODD: — yeah, I’ve gotten a lot of those comments too, from true outsiders and from friends and family, a lot of people seemed to turn this one off. Again, I’m trying to figure out, and I’m trying to find, okay, did this politically help anybody. I will say this. Joe Biden’s campaign has been trying to make the case essentially that President Trump is a fraud, a bully, and has no plans. That was one thing that seemed to get through, I think at times, and certainly President Trump played the role of the bully quite well. The Trump campaign has been trying to paint Joe Biden as out of it and captive of the left. I think his folks are going to think that the president scored some points here or there, but I — you know, I’m looking at it, I think a lot of people are going to look at this and feel perhaps a tad empathetic for anybody that had to participate in this. 

HOLT: Let me go to Andrea Mitchell right now. Andrea, many of the things that we talked about in the last couple of days came true in terms of the President’s strategy to try to get under Joe Biden’s skin. He went after his son Hunter on a number of occasions, including when Vice President Biden was talking about his son Beau, who had died honorably serving as a soldier. 

ANDREA MITCHELL: True. I mean, but this was such a hot mess. You can fault Joe Biden perhaps for letting the President get him rattled and for not drilling down on the tax issue and other issues. But frankly, the format — and that, you have to fault the moderator and the way the questions were posed once President Trump was rolling over them and bulldozing them, because they didn’t talk about COVID nearly as much as race and violence and protests. I mean, it was really, really in the ballpark of the President, because he kept bringing things back to that issue and not letting Joe Biden answer a question. So by blowing it all up and running roughshod over everyone else, he didn’t let Joe Biden make the points that he was prepared to make until perhaps the last half hour, last hour, perhaps, 45 minutes, where Biden seemed to regain his footing. And the contrast was clear, but I’ve been watching debates, covering debates since 1976, I have never seen anything like this. I don’t think any of us have. Compare it to any debate in presidential history. This was a disgrace, frankly and the President just did not observe any of the format that his own campaign had agreed to, so I’m not sure what Joe Biden could have done other than trying to get a word in and trying to answer the questions that were asked. 

GUTHRIE: Let me go to Hallie Jackson at the debate hall. A couple of things here. The famous maxim inside Trump World is let Trump be Trump. He definitely was trump but even kind of a super sized version of himself. So whether or not that was part of the strategy, I would like to hear you on whether or not the campaign was going in there with that motivation. And Biden, on the other hand, he did have his opportunities. Did he make the most of them or did he lose opportunities? 

HALLIE JACKSON: A couple of things on that, Savannah. When you talk about the idea of the President’s strategy going into this and the idea of letting Trump be Trump, as is so often said, listen, the campaign, sources close to the preparations here, had said they wanted to see the President go on attack. That was part of what they were coming into this with. Obviously that happened. That was an incredibly aggressive Donald Trump on stage tonight. He went after, as expected, Hunter Biden multiple times. Of course the President’s son. You talk about, Savannah, Vice President Biden being on defense to that degree, because of the nature of the interruptions, frankly, from the President, it seemed like it was difficult for Joe Biden to be able to push backstantive way when the President was rat-a-tat-tat with these attacks on Biden repeatedly, over and over again, on Hunter Biden. I can tell you that there is already appreciation from people in trump world for those Hunter Biden attacks. That is something you’ll be hearing over the next 24, 48 hours and beyond. As Chuck points out, there are moments that people who support President Trump are seizing on to say, listen, he was on his game, he had energy, is sort of the thinking here, he came out and attacked. On the other hand, I think it is notable, when we talk about the substance of this debate, a couple of points, and things that the President simply did not say. It cannot go unnoticed that Joe Biden, the former vice president, directly called President Trump a racist. President Trump did not respond to that. The President was directly asked to denounce white supremacy and the proud boys. The President said “stand back and stand by” which is not a denunciation. The President was directly asked to urge calm to her supporters ahead of election day. President Trump did not do that. I think, substantively, those are some things you’ll be hearing over the next couple of days. And just to give you a sense, I have to tell you. Inside this debate hall, I’ve been to other debates, this is different for a lot of reasons, notably from some of the COVID precautions and much smaller audience. It was a more intimate hall feeling and that made it jarring, frankly, to see this chaos on this stage go down, just as somebody who was inside the room here. 

HOLT: Alright, let’s bring in our guests. Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, also Claire McCaskill, former Democratic senator from Missouri, both are NBC News political contributors. Senator, let me first talk to you about —  there was a lot of focus, obviously, on what Donald Trump did and his performance. But isolate, if you can, Joe Biden, his reaction to it, his losing his temper at — at times. How much does that hurt him?

CLAIRE MCCASKILL: Listen, anybody who tries to characterize this debate as somehow equivalent in terms of the behavior of those two candidates is not being fair to Joe Biden. Donald Trump was a bully, he was nonpresidential, he was frankly outrageous. It was sad to watch it as an American. He’s the President of the United States and he behaved like a 12th grader. It was terrible. And Joe Biden, I think, showed presidential self-control. Now, did he tell him to be quiet a couple of times? Frankly, you know, I was watching, I would have throttled the guy. And Chris Wallace, I mean, I know it must be hard to control it, but he really got run over by Donald Trump’s outrageous behavior on that stage tonight. Now, will it hurt Donald Trump politically? I’m not sure it will, with his supporters. But I guarantee you it won’t help him with those women in the suburbs. It will not help him.

GUTHRIE: Well, that was the question I wanted to ask Rich Lowry, who, of course, is the editor of the conservative National Review. I mean, look, if you are a Donald Trump supporter, this was a great night for you, you loved this guy. But what about those undecided voters, what about suburban women, what about people who were on the fence? Do you feel that aggressive performance was a good look for Donald Trump? 

RICH LOWRY: Well, I think the whole night was dispiriting. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s not another debate in the presidential cycle and, at the very least, I think the presidential debate commission has to consider cutting off the mics of the people who aren’t supposed — of the person who’s not supposed to be speaking and whose time it isn’t. But look, this was Trump’s strategy and, even if it wasn’t his strategy, this is his nature. This is the way he is and I think, you know, he flustered Biden at times. The “shut up, man” wasn’t great at the beginning from — from Joe Biden. Biden was evasive on some key questions, but more importantly, he didn’t buckle, he stood there for 90 minutes and took it, and gave as good as he got. And with Trump, I think the problem is, especially with Hunter Biden, some of the points he was trying to make didn’t land that well because of his own jagged style and his own over-interrupting. So I agree with Claire, I’m not sure it hurts him, but if someone is unsettled by the way he’s conducted himself as President but is on the fence about him, are they going to look at this performance and say, that’s my guy? Unlikely. So it’s probably a status quo debate but it’s Trump that needs the trajectory of this race to change. 

(….)

10:53 p.m. Eastern

GUTHRIE: As I turn to Kasie Hunt, our Capitol Hill correspondent, I mean, debates are this kind of cherished ritual of our democracy. In presidential campaigns, a lot of folks remember watching them as little kids. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you were a mom or dad with your kids watching that debacle tonight? I’m wondering what you’re hearing from your sources on the Hill and in the campaigns. Do you think there’s a chance either one or both of the campaigns says, forget it, we’re not doing any more debates? There are two more debates scheduled, one vice presidential debate scheduled. 

KASIE HUNT: Well, Savannah, first of all, I’m grateful my son was too young to watch that. Very different from the ones I remember watching as a young child, part of which made me want to be involved in the political process in the first place. 

HOLT: Yeah, they might play a prominent role.

HUNT: There are certainly sources in both parties currently suggesting to me that perhaps it’s Joe Biden at this point who should not participate in future debates. As we were negotiating up to this process, there were a lot of concerns whether President Trump was going to be the one to show up and a lot of the ways this was negotiated, including moderator choices and some other things, seemed to suggest it was oriented at him. But now I’ve got more than one source who are saying, look, maybe Joe Biden doesn’t benefit very much from coming back out onto a stage like this, Savannah.

(….)

10:58 p.m. Eastern

GUTHRIE: Chuck Todd, final thought. 

TODD: Well, nothing else has changed the trajectory of this race and even though we’ll all hand-wring about this debate tonight, I doubt this will change things much either.



Source link