MSNBC Trashes Trump’s ‘Awkward’ Syria Speech; Compassion ‘Hard to Square’ Considering Travel Ban

Following President Trump’s Thursday night address to the nation about the U.S. military’s air strikes against the Syrian military, MSNBC breaking news co-anchors Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow slammed Trump ad-libbing on a speech like this, knocked his “awkward” delivery, and questioned whether his compassion for the Syrian people was genuine.

“Because that was a rather striking visual, we should probably talk about that in addition to the substance, a lot of which was anticipatable. When words count in this White House, they keep the president on a two-screen teleprompter. Words really count tonight. We could see still his ad-libs between panes of glass, between lines of copy,” Williams ruled after it ended.

Williams took note of the less-than-ideal audio quality, apologizing and quipping to Maddow that “[i]t sounded like a radio broadcast from Berlin.”

Maddow replied that “it’s a little — that was awkward” before soon after agreeing with Williams about the ad-libs and mocked him over one of them:

But you pointed out what were sort of obvious ad-libs. “Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria.” We had that as an advance quote from the remarks before we actually got the tape. He appears to have added to that “and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.” Obviously, kinds and types are synonyms so I don't know why you would use both unless you were ad-libbing. 

“And also good night and God bless America and the entire world is a sign-off I haven't heard him before or any president use before,” she added.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Before she left Williams to hold his own for The 11th Hour, she concluded that “as a matter of political stage craft it was strange, which is I suppose not to be — not that unusual give that he's operating from this resort and this was produced by White House staff.”

Noting how Trump hasn’t dealt with a crisis like this before, she griped that “[h]e’s awkward on teleprompter” and questioned his sympathy for those Syrians gassed by dictator Bashar al-Assad: “I think his remarks about his sympathy for the Amer — for the Syria people will be hard to square in the days ahead in terms of his ban on Syrian refugees taking refuge in this country.”

Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript from the MSNBC Special on April 6:

MSNBC Special
April 6, 2017
10:04:14 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Because that was a rather striking visual, we should probably talk about that in addition to the substance, a lot of which was anticipatable. When words count in this White House, they keep the president on a two-screen teleprompter. Words really count tonight. We could see still his ad-libs between panes of glass, between lines of copy. I wrote a couple down. “Failed” and “failed very dramatically.” And also “to end terrorism” was another one. But a very short statement. We're sorry about the audio. Everyone got the same copy. It sounded like a radio broadcast from Berlin. 

RACHEL MADDOW: Yeah, it’s a little — it was awkward. I mean this is — as you mentioned, this is tape turnaround from the President's golf resort in South Florida. 

WILLIAMS: A press room that they've built there. 

MADDOW: A press room that they set up. Obviously, this isn't something that they have planned for in any permanent way. But if he continues to spend this much time there during his presidency, there will be other events from which we see him there, and maybe that setting will evolve. But you pointed out what were sort of obvious ad-libs. “Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria.” We had that as an advance quote from the remarks before we actually got the tape. He appears to have added to that “and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.” Obviously, kinds and types are synonyms so I don't know why you would use both unless you were ad-libbing. And also good night and God bless America and the entire world is a sign-off I haven't heard him before or any president use before.

(....)

10:59 pm. Eastern

WILLIAMS: Before we lose you, what did you make of the President's appearance tonight? 

MADDOW: I thought that as a matter of political stage craft it was strange, which is I suppose not to be — not that unusual give that he's operating from this resort and this was produced by White House staff, presumably in terms of feeding this out to us rather than this being the president speaking from a more typical location. He’s never done anything like this before. He’s awkward on teleprompter. As an artifact, an audio visual fact, this was very awkward. I think his remarks about his sympathy for the Amer — for the Syria people will be hard to square in the days ahead in terms of his ban on Syrian refugees taking refuge in this country. 

NB Daily Foreign Policy Middle East Syria Military War on Terrorism Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Other MSNBC Video Government & Press Brian Williams Rachel Maddow Donald Trump Bashar al-Assad
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links