Notable Quotables Special Edition: Trashing Trump’s Cabinet

So far, the liberal media have trashed Donald Trump’s cabinet choices as a “racially insensitive” group of “hard-line” “radicals” and “ignoramuses” who will bring about “environmental disaster” and “calamity to the poor.” This is a far cry from the treatment Barack Obama’s cabinet picks were given in 2008. His appointments were hailed as a diverse “mosaic,” an “all-star” team of “superstar” “geniuses” full of “brain power.” 

Obama’s picks were praised by the likes of Chris Matthews who cooed: “It’s an astounding gesture of magnanimity to take on the person [Hillary Clinton] you beat in a very tough, really eight-year fight....It’s a magnanimous gesture. It’s astounding to everyone involved.” ABC’s Robin Roberts wondered if Obama’s selections were “a team of rivals, a la President Lincoln, or is a better comparison a team of geniuses as FDR did?” And NBC’s Andrea Mitchell hyped Obama’s team as a collection of “superstars...with so much brain power.” 

But in 2016, Team Trump’s members, one-by-one, have been condemned by the liberal press. Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, national security advisor Michael Flynn and senior adviser Stephen Bannon were attacked by Bloomberg Politics editor John Heilemann as having “a history of....racially insensitive endeavors.” NBC Today host Matt Lauer questioned if Trump’s EPA pick of Scott Pruitt was an “environmental disaster?” Dr. Ben Carson’s nomination to HUD was welcomed by a New York Times headline: “How Ben Carson Could Undo a Desegregation Effort,” while a tweet by one of its writers predicted “Carson will spell calamity for poor.” 

The following is a collection the worst of the liberal media’s vicious attacks on Trump’s cabinet picks, so far and a look back at some of the effusive praise for Obama’s nominations: 

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Trump Assembling “Hard-Line” Team of “Radicals” and “Ignoramuses”...

“I wish I could say that Ben Carson was the only person who didn’t have experience in his area....What we have are ignoramuses, billionaires and a few generals....This is pretty frightful stuff. You have loads of people who have never been in government who don’t understand the difference between business and government.”
— Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin on MSNBC’s AM Joy, December 11.

“President-elect Donald J. Trump moved quickly on Friday to begin filling national security posts at the top echelons of his administration, selecting a group of hawks and campaign loyalists who reflect the hard-line views that defined his run for president.”
New York Times article by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, November 18.

“So you have people who I would say don’t fit into exactly a team of rivals, but to many people a team of radicals.”
— Commentator Juan Williams on Fox News Sunday, November 20. 

 

...But Obama Appointed a “Hard-Headed Realist” Team of “Moderates” and “Geniuses”

Co-host Robin Roberts: “Some would say it’s a team of rivals, a la President Lincoln, or is a better comparison a team of geniuses as FDR did?”
Co-host George Stephanopoulos: “Well, one Obama advisor told me what they like is a combination of ‘Team of Rivals’ and ‘The Best and the Brightest,’ which was the David Halberstam book about the incoming Kennedy administration...We have not seen this kind of combination of star power and brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes.”
— Exchange on ABC’s Good Morning America, November 24, 2008.

“It’s also a meritocracy. These are superstars, not afraid of strong personalities — Larry Summers inside the White House — but people with so much brain power and so much education, and a combination of, of talents here.”
— Andrea Mitchell on NBC’s Meet the Press, December 21, 2008.

“Although some critics say that his all-star cabinet might be difficult to manage, Obama is determined to pick the strongest, smartest people he can find.”
— Andrea Mitchell on NBC Nightly News, November 21, 2008. 

“I think this is one of the better transitions that we’ve had....A lot of people said this is going to be a very extremist president and all that, that he’s a very liberal Democrat, but as we have seen in appointment after appointment, he’s hewing to the center. He’s picking a bunch of flaming moderates here.” 
Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer to CBSs Early Show host Harry Smith on December 4, 2008.

 

Trump Appointing Only Racist White Guys...    

“There are millions and millions of non-white Americans, who are looking at the group — not because it’s so white — but also because if you take those people together — Bannon, Flynn and Sessions — all three of them have a history of being involved at a minimum racially insensitive endeavors. Having said racially insensitive things, and to some people worse than that. So part of the thing here is that I think that’s unsettling to a large number of people....That’s a hardline group, on immigration, on foreign policy, on politics....that’s an ideological group and that’s a hardline group.”
— Bloomberg Politics editor John Heilemann on Sunday Today with Willie Geist, November 20.

 

...While Obama Created a Diverse “Mosaic” 

And what Barack Obama said, I think, was very powerful — that we’re interested in experience and in diversity and it is a mix of goals here....what this seems to be is effortless. They’re creating a mosaic, but they’re not doing it by self-consciously creating that mosaic.”
— NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Live, December 3, 2008.

“[Barack Obama] has signaled that in the cabinet, there will be diversity, diversity of political party, of gender, of geography and of race. Today, ABC News has learned he will turn to one of his close associates to be the new attorney general. If confirmed, Eric Holder would be the first African-American to hold that post.”
— ABC’s Charles Gibson on World News, November 18, 2008.

Trump’s EPA Will Endanger Environment

Anchor Scott Pelley: “The President-elect filled more administration posts today, putting a global warming skeptic in charge of protecting the environment.”...
Nancy Cordes: “The Sierra Club said today, ‘Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires.’” 
CBS Evening News, December 7.

“Environmental disaster? Controversy sparked by President-elect Trump’s pick to run the EPA....The ongoing lawsuit against the very agency he’s tapped to lead. And his position on climate change putting a dark cloud over his nomination....”
— Co-host Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today, December 8. 

“He’s [Scott Pruitt] not accepting the science....Either you accept the science or you don’t....Ninety nine percent of the scientific community says that global warming is impacted by man....People thought the world was flat....People thought blacks and whites shouldn’t marry. People thought blacks shouldn’t be equal. That doesn’t mean you accept it as fact as a leader.” 
— Host Chris Cuomo on CNN’s New Day, December 8. 

“In terms of the recent EPA [Scott Pruitt] pick, the concern is that the attorney general from Oklahoma is a denier of some of the science behind global warming....Can you be for clean air and water if you do not believe that man has a hand in global warming?”
— Host Chris Cuomo’s questions to Rep. Marsha Blackburn on CNN’s New Day, December 9. 

“Why don’t they just call it the ‘Environmental Pollution Agency’ instead of the Environmental Protection Agency, because he is going to dismantle everything in place — the air you breathe, the water you drink. I mean, what he’s done in Oklahoma is not that great either....There were 907 earthquakes in Oklahoma last year and they say they were caused by the oil and gas production. How is he helping Oklahoma?”
— Co-host Joy Behar on ABC’s The View, December 8. 

 

Trump Filling Cabinet With Wall Street Pirates 

“[Trump’s] top cabinet picks come under fire for ties to bailouts and Wall Street. Critics saying this is not how you drain the swamp....”
— Co-host Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s Today, December 1.

“You know, before the election was over before election night and right after I described the Trump group as a pirate ship. Well, some of these nominees it looks like it’s a pirate yacht...”
— Political analyst Matthew Dowd on ABC’s Good Morning America, December 1. 

“Mr. Trump’s choice of Mnuchin for Treasury and billionaire businessman Wilbur Ross for Commerce signals a turning away from candidate Trump’s attacks on Wall Street corruption....”
— Correspondent Major Garrett on CBS This Morning, December 1

                vs.

“If one wants to bring new people, if one wants to bring new bodies, new blood, a kind of best and brightest, Tim Geithner, head of the New York Fed, really at the center of this Wall Street meltdown we’ve seen, someone with lots of experience in this particular morass, someone might be able to bring more confidence, restore confidence in the markets.” 
New York Times editor Marcus Mabry on CBS’s Early Show, November 20, 2008.

 

Slamming Sessions

“The Transition; Trump Atty General Pick Dogged by Racism Allegations”
— Graphic on screen during CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, November 18.

“Consider the fact that you had Eric Holder, the first African-American attorney general, then follow that up with Loretta Lynch. Eric Holder making civil rights a priority, tried to rebuild the civil rights division there. Now you’ll have Jeff Sessions....he referred to organizations like the NAACP and some other civil rights groups as being, quote, ‘un-American and Communist-inspired.’ Back then, an individual said that he said that the KKK was fine until he learned that they smoked pot.”
— NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, November 18.

Co-host Paula Faris: “One thing, we looked at the hiring of Jeff Sessions for attorney general. And these were unfounded accusations from 30 years ago. That he-”
Co-host Sunny Hostin: “He’s a bigot...Somebody testified under oath that he called an African-American man a boy. He’s a bigot.”
— ABC’s The View, December 2.  

   

Flaying Flynn 

“Look, Michael Flynn — General Flynn — has made fair criticisms of how this administration dealt with the rising threat that became ISIS. But then, you jump the shark into this kind of Islamophobia — to indict — to say that Islam is a political ideology — what he has said — and not a religion; to indict four billion Muslims around the globe — I mean, that’s just — that’s just short-sighted, ignorant thinking.”
— Ex-NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory on CNN’s New Day, November 18. 

“Democrats — they’re worried that Mr. Trump has picked so many generals....Some, though, say a militarized view of America got us into — you know, the Iraq War. It created problems at Abu Ghraib. It created the mess that is now Guantanamo Bay. So, do they have a point?”
— Anchor Carol Costello to former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on CNN Newsroom, December 8. 

 

Pouncing on Puzder

“Fast-food billionaire Andrew Puzder is Trump’s pick for labor secretary, and another potentially problematic confirmation. The CEO of Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s, Puzder said raising the federal minimum wage means cutting jobs....Some Democrats called it a war on labor.”
—  Correspondent Katy Tur on NBC Nightly News, December 8. 

                
Bashing Ben

“Ben Carson, with zero housing experience, named head of HUD. Another day in the kakistocracy.”
— December 5 tweet by NBC News legal analyst Lisa Bloom. (“Kakistocracy” is a term meaning a state or country run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens.)

   “Yet another calamity — contemptuous choice for critical dept. Wonder if Carson would like a housing expert to perform brain surgery on him.”...
   “Trump choice of Carson will spell calamity for poor but not just poor. It betrays utter ignorance about cities and economic development.”...
   “Those Rust Belt Trump voters who depend on depts like HUD are about to find out why they sold themselves out and their souls to the devil.”
— December 5 tweets by New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman. 

“How Ben Carson Could Undo a Desegregation Effort”
New York Times headline, November 23. 

“Carson has also complained that low-income families are too dependent on government aid. He said that it’s the American people’s job, not the government’s, to care for the needy. It’s not clear what this would mean for HUD, but advocates fear the worst — that it will lead to deep cuts in programs to reduce homelessness, and to subsidize affordable housing.”
— Correspondent Pam Fessler on National Public Radio, December 6. 

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.