On Thursday, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace delivered another hour of breathless panic about Trump’s America, including a segment in which she repeatedly tried and failed to bait former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice into disparaging the President.
Rice appeared on Wallace’s show, Deadline: White House, to discuss the current state of the Trump Administration. Throughout the interview, she poured cold water on Wallace’s exaggerated portrayals of the White House as a maelstrom of confusion, rebuking speculative reports that National Security Advisor McMaster would resign and defending the President’s firing of career State Department officials.
Wallace changed her strategy, thus far having been unsuccessful in eliciting an attack on the President from her guest. With reference their time together under President Bush, she asked:
Our boss spent eight years of the Obama Presidency painting, hanging out with you, hanging out with his family. He didn’t speak out very much. In his first eight months of the Trump Presidency, he gave a speech that was largely viewed – it wasn’t his intention, but drawing a lot of attention to what he described as, “Bigotry has been emboldened.” Do you worry, do you agree with George W. Bush that bigotry has been emboldened?
Rice agreed in general terms: “I do think we are going through a period of time where we are labeling each other and calling each other names.”
Wallace interrupted, “Well, are we doing that, or is the President doing that?”
“Nicolle,” Rice intoned, “this started a long time before this President,”
Frustrated, Wallace continued to focus on Trump. “Do you think the President is making it worse calling out 'good people on both sides' of a KKK rally?” she prodded.
Rice capitulated to a degree, insofar as admitting that she had said during the 2016 election that she “would prefer” a President who had never worked in government before. However, she rejected Wallace’s implied premise that the President was to blame for the aforementioned bigotry.
“I think we have to look at this broadly,” she insisted, claiming that the United States had become “a country of grievance... of ‘my grievance is bigger than your grievance.'” She went on to suggest that many of those contributing to the growing divisions in the country may not even be aware of their role. “We need to focus on these broader trends that are tearing us apart, not just what the President says on any given day,” she concluded.
Wallace would not be satisfied until she had her sound byte. Ignoring the points Rice had made, she instead challenged her to explain a recent AP poll, in which 57 percent of respondents had identified President Trump as racist.
“Well, because I think, you hear this in the press over and over and over again,” Rice sighed.
This answer did not please Wallace. “You think it’s just the press?” she snapped. “You don’t think it’s what he says?”
Her dogged insistence finally paid slight dividends, and Rice admitted that some of the President's past comments had included language which she "would rather not see reemerge in our country." However, she prefaced her answer with the a caveat: “I will tell you something, all right? I have met the President. And I can’t know his heart, but I do know this is somebody who treated me very well when we met. And I think he believes he’s doing what’s right for the country.”
Ms. Wallace changed the topic shortly thereafter.