An NBC reporter horrified MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on Friday by failing to sufficiently condemn President Trump's handling of the North Korea summit. The Deadline: White House host's mouth hung agape and she stared on in disbelief while foreign correspondent Keir Simmons meekly suggested that perhaps the President had not completely doomed both the U.S. and North Korea to nuclear hellfire.
Wallace's exchange with Simmons took an ugly turn when she requested he respond to part of a Washington Post article, which she read aloud:
Critics said Trump’s hasty jump into a poorly thought-out summit process had left the United States in a weakened position and Trump’s personal daliance with Kim elevated the stature of a brutal, authoritarian regime on the global stage.
"I want you to try to land there and let us know if that's the impression that world leaders have," she asked in a tone which indicated she expected an affirmative reply. Alas, Simmons failed to deliver.
Perhaps aware that he was about to disappoint Wallace, Simmons prefaced his reply with an anxious-sounding caveat: “I think we have to remember how very dangerous it appeared to be getting, how dangerous the conflict in North Korea is.”
He filibustered for a time, listing various international leaders who had expressed hope that the President’s diplomatic efforts would succeed, before finally getting to the meat of his point: “In that sense, I guess, we need to give President Trump a little bit of generosity in terms of how we assess how this is being tackled, being played.”
Wallace’s countenance darkened as he went on and especially with her non-verbal cues. Her evident disappointment appeared to fluster Simmons, and he began to trip over his own words as he soldiered through the rest of his analysis.
Unsatisfied, Wallace turned instead to anti-Trump Republican and New York Times columnist Bret Stephens to inquire whether he felt Trump was “sufficiently steeped in the substance of what is in the region’s national security interest.” Stephens indulged her with a firm, “[n]o,” and offered an armchair psychoanalysis of the President’s motivations in first seeking and then backing out of the summit.
As Stephens saw it, Trump had sprung into action after hearing on Fox News that he might win a Nobel Peace Prize for a successful summit – only to buckle at the fear of “being humiliated and unmanned,” by the North Korean leader. “So we’re not really dealing with an analysis of the situation. We’re dealing with a question of what is the outcome likeliest to flatter Trump’s vanity at any particular moment in time,” he concluded confidently.
This response sufficiently pleased Wallace, and the segment continued apace – albeit with no further questions fielded to the hapless Keir Simmons.