UPDATE, 2:55 p.m. Eastern: A few hours after Hall furthered the falsehood about Clinton’s martial infidelity, afternoon MSNBC Live host Thomas Roberts followed suit while speaking Trump campaign correspondent Katy Tur. This post has been updated to reflect this second occurance.
In an utterance that could only be described as outrageous and irresponsible, MSNBC hosts Tamron Hall and Thomas Roberts went unchallenged by their combined four guests Monday morning and afternoon as they claimed that Bill Clinton’s voluminous instances of marital infidelity were just “alleged affairs” or “alleged misconduct” in context of Donald Trump invoking them over the weekend
Hall first played soundbites from Trump’s interview the day before on NBC’s Meet the Press and after mentioning that “Trump and Speaker Ryan scheduled to meet in Washington this Thursday,” she stated that she and her three guests have everything 2016 related to cover in the segment.
After mentioning that she’ll go to former RNC chairman Michael Steele and Mother Jones Washington bureau chief David Corn, Hall turned to CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood and dropped the negligent statement in question:
John, before this morning, the lead was probably these vicious attacks that Trump has leveled against Hillary Clinton, her husband's affair or affairs, alleged affairs. Now it's his flip-flop on taxes and the problems this presents again with his own party.
She played a clip from Trump’s now-famous Today town hall from April 21 and a portion on tax increases before she asked Harwood a question about the billionaire’s never-ending policy flip-flops with the latest being on taxes.
Harwood behaved like a good liberal journalist and did nothing to rebut Hall’s fib by sticking to Trump’s ever-changing policy stance on tax cuts versus tax increases. From there, Steele and Corn similarly went along and stuck to the topic of taxes, ignoring the opportunity to provide viewers with an instant fact-check (by citing, say, this video).
Just under 10 minutes later upon returning from a commercial break, a clip was shown of Trump calling out the Clintons for how they treated women who accused Bill of inappropriate sexual contact:
She was a total enabler. She would go after these women and destroy their lives. I mean have you ever read what Hillary Clinton did to the women that Bill Clinton had affairs with? And they're going after me with women? Give me a break, folks. Give me a break.
Again, Hall made no attempt to write her wrong and instead suggested to correspondent Kristen Welker Trump is a hypocrite on this issue for having previously opined that the then-President should not have been impeached.
Two and a half hours later, afternoon MSNBC Live host Thomas Roberts carried the water for Bill Clinton as he seemed puzzled that Trump was “going right for the jugular when it comes to Hillary Clinton and going after Bill Clinton and alleged misconduct with women.”
Just as Hall’s guests did in the morning, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur did nothing to set Roberts straight on how Clinton has long admitted to at least one affair (see Lewinsky, Monica).
Not surprisingly, this inability to speak the truth on this topic is not new to the peacock network. Back on December 29, 2015, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie tried to tell Trump that Clinton’s affairs were only “alleged,” but Trump made sure to push back on this falsehood immediately and Guthrie owned up to her erroneous discription.
The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall on May 9 can be found below.
MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall
May 9, 2016
11:06 a.m. Eastern
TAMRON HALL: Trump and Speaker Ryan scheduled to meet in Washington this Thursday. Right now, we have all of this covered with our correspondents and analysts standing by. Let's start things off with CNBC's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood. We'll also bring in, as you see there, Michael Steele and David Korn, but listen, John, before this morning, the lead was probably these vicious attacks that Trump has leveled against Hillary Clinton, her husband's affair or affairs, alleged affairs. Now it's his flip-flop on taxes and the problems this presents again with his own party. Let me play a little bit of what Trump said this morning trying to clarify where he stands on raising taxes for the wealthiest people in this country.
NBC’s SAVANNAH GUTHRIE [on NBC’s Today, 04/21/16]: Do you believe in raising taxes on the wealthy?
DONALD TRUMP: I do. I do. Including myself. I do.
HALL: Okay. That was his original statement with Savannah Guthrie a few weeks ago on the Today show. This morning, he's trying to clarify this comment, John.
JOHN HARWOOD: That's right and, you know, Donald Trump over the weekend in the interview with Chuck Todd talked about negotiating his tax plan and how the rate would go up. What he's saying this morning is that what he meant was that the rate would go up from the 25 percent that he's proposed in his plan, not would go up from the 39.6 percent that's in current law. Now, only Donald Trump knows what he meant. To be honest, when he did the interview with Chuck, that's what I thought he meant, coming up from 25, but Donald Trump — it's the responsibility of the candidate to speak more clearly about exactly what he is articulating and the fact that Donald Trump doesn't have a deep attachment to policies or specific public policy goals makes it subject to misinterpretation and creates the kind of box that he found himself trying to get out of this morning.
11:25 a.m. Eastern
TRUMP: She was a total enabler. She would go after these women and destroy their lives. I mean have you ever read what Hillary Clinton did to the women that Bill Clinton had affairs with? And they're going after me with women? Give me a break, folks. Give me a break.
HALL: That was Donald Trump getting personal, unleashing a series of attacks this weekend on Hillary and Bill Clinton. NBC’s Kristen Welker is covering the Clinton campaign and she joins us with the Clinton reaction which interestingly enough, it does not include and I guess they can’t do it at this point, Donald Trump's own words at the time were that Bill Clinton shouldn't be impeached, he did not see it as this big problem, and now, again, this might count as another flip-flop without Hillary Clinton ever needing to respond.
MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts
May 9, 2016
1:30 p.m. Eastern
THOMAS ROBERTS [TO KATY TUR]: Although he's going right for the jugular when it comes to Hillary Clinton and going after Bill Clinton and alleged misconduct with women. Is that going to build his numbers with American female voters?