On the New Year's Day edition of MSNBC Live with Katy Tur, during a discussion of the government shutdown and debate over buildling a border wall, NBC White House correspondent Geoff Bennett suggested that a wall would be a "monument" to "Donald Trump's bigotry" as he quoted a "great piece" by Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, a Trump foe who was chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.
Nearing the end of the segment at 2:12 p.m. Eastern, host Tur turned to Bennett with a smug question: "Geoff, wrap it up for us. The President is in the White House, he's tweeting -- not sure if he's working, but he's tweeting. When do his advisers come back? And does that really matter, frankly?"
Bennett, who came to NBC last year from NPR, suggested that President Donald Trump is just playing politics with the border wall proposal as he began his response:
GEOFF BENNETT: On this issue, not really, because, as we've talked about before, this is all about the fight. You could make the argument, as we have, that this border wall is really about Donald Trump needing to have the optics -- needing to have the appearance of putting up a fight about something that his base cares about.
And the reason why this shutdown has stretched into it's what, tenth, going on eleventh day, is because this isn't about a substantive policy issue, as we've just mentioned. It's about politics. And the reward that Donald Trump wants in funding for this wall is just as intense as it is for Democrats to block it.
Bennett then brought up Gerson's article as he concluded:
Michael Gerson had a great piece in the Washington Post. He's the former Bush speech writer. And he said that this wall would really just be a monument to Donald Trump's bigotry and his vanity. And that is why Democrats are so intent on keeping him from having it.
The Post obviously loved the "monument to bigotry" line, since they made that the headline.
Just before Bennett wrapped up, Tur asked Jake Sherman of Politico if the Democrats had any reason to compromise with Trump, and he said "Zero." He touted a "huge" new group of progressives in the House providing "huge" pushback to Trump on immigration.
Tur concluded by bringing up whether Mexico would pay for the wall: "And, remember, he promised Mexico will pay for the wall, so it's not a campaign promise fulfillment unless Mexico is actually doing that."