Video Mash-Up: CNN Hated Trump's ‘Dark,’ ‘Frightening,’ ‘Incoherent’ ‘Sermon’ to U.N.

From the moment President Trump’s Tuesday speech to the United Nations General Assembly ended, CNN made clear that they would be providing the liberal, pro-Obama response, lambasting his remarks as contradictory, “dark,” “frightening,” “incoherent,” and even weak.

Now, if you’re skeptical that this video supercut included only partisan commentators, that sadly did not happen as the same rhetoric was espoused by supposedly neutral analysts, anchors, and reporters. 

Former Obama administration official and CNN senior diplomatic and military analyst John Kirby stepped up moments after the speech concluded, whining that “this wasn’t a speech” but instead “a sermon and he wasn't a president, he was a preacher up there giving his dark world view about threats and conflict.”

“This was a speech about conflict around the world, not a speech about cooperation and that's a real shame because of all the places you can give a speech about collective security and mutual cooperation and respect, it's at the U.N. and I think he missed a huge opportunity,” he added.

Senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson agreed and offered an utterly absurd comparison that Obama would be proud of. Just as Obama knocked American exceptionalism, she equated patriotism in various countries:

I think there is a bit of contradiction in his presentation today talking about sovereignty, a renewal of spirit for all these nations, nations needing to be patriotic. I imagine if you talk to folks in Venezuela, you talk to folks in North Korea, they imagine that they are being patriotic, right.

Just past the 11:00 a.m. Eastern mark, Dana Bash also took issue with the speech, complaining that Trump didn’t seem to show concern for global human rights:

It was probably the most clear about his world view and not just America First, but about what he expects and it's a lot like who he is and was as a President and as a person. It's transactional. It's not about human rights. It’s not about, you know, kind of American values, the Republicans that we covered about American exceptionalism and even Democrats[.]

Kirby wanted a second bite at the apple, mocking Trump’s speech as being “like he’s lecturing himself, almost trying to teach himself at an eighth grade level about basic sovereignty, multinational issues....this was...very absent of any of the normal universal values and mutual cooperation that we try to seek in these international bodies.”

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Perhaps the most deranged reaction came from CNN political commentator Brian Fallon, who’s still licking his wounds from being a part of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Speaking to host Wolf Blitzer, Fallon bemoaned how Trump’s strong stance against North Korea marked “one of many examples of how intellectually confused, if not outright incoherent, the speech was.”

“If you just think about it, in one breath, he was urging the world to come together and collectively confront the threat of North Korea and then in the next breath, he is chiding the world....He's gone around criticizing the United Nations as a body. So, this is a guy who goes around thumbing his nose at international entities and international attempts to confront global challenges,” Fallon added.

Again, the meltdowns featured traditional CNN reporters. Naturally, Jeff Zeleny harkened back to the days of Barack Obama, whom he asked what enchanted him most about the presidency.

Referring to Trump’s tough talk, Zeleny smirked that “[p]erhaps not surprisingly, it's difficult to align that parts of the world are going to hell” before going on as if he’s trying out for a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate:

This was a very somber, dark speech if you will, and I remember thinking back to the first appearance that President Obama made here in 2009, as President, of course a far different reception. Of course, he had a booming, enthusiastic applause. 

CNN’s Inside Politics saw the same behavior as host John King seemed scared with Trump’s acknowledgement that North Korea may have to be wiped out: “It was remarkable to see a leader of any country, but the President of the United States, standing in the well of the United National General Assembly, threatening to totally destroy, not retaliate, not hurt, not, isolate, not prove a point, totally destroy a country.”

It wouldn’t be an anti-Trump mash-up without correspondent former Obama administration official Jim Sciutto taking a swing. Paraphrasing “a senior U.N. diplomat,” Sciutto revealed in the next hour that Trump’s North Korea threat “sparked an enormous reaction”:

[H]e, diplomats around him were taken aback. He described it to me like a wind had gone through the room when the President uttered those words we will totally destroy North Korea, said, it was an emotional reaction. There were rumblings to hear an American President threaten, in so many words, to obliterate another country. Truly remarkable and with the Iran threat somewhat different, a sense in the room that this is an American President who may very well withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, but I’ll tell you. It’s those words about North Korea particularly sparked a reaction in that room. Audible gasps, I'm told. Extremely unusual, an emotional reaction, as this diplomat said.

CNN political analyst David Gregory went back to the George W. Bush years in order to bash both of them for “frightening” rhetoric: “[I]t's really frightening to hear an American president talk about obliterating any other country. The Axis of Evil speech that George W. Bush was certainly frightening and got controversial to a lot of people, but he didn't go that far.”

“My concern about the broader tone of the speech is that it really did push aside the idea of collective action and America as the leader of that collective action internationally and seemed to fortify the people who said, look. I will look after the interests of my own, whatever country that is from America to Russia,” Gregory stated.

Here’s the relevant transcript from CNN on September 19:

CNN’s Wolf
September 19, 2017
10:55 a.m. Eastern

JOHN KIRBY: Look, this wasn't a speech. This was a sermon and he wasn't a president, he was a preacher up there giving his dark world view about threats and conflict. This was a speech about conflict around the world, not a speech about cooperation and that's a real shame because of all the places you can give a speech about collective security and mutual cooperation and respect, it's at the U.N. and I think he missed a huge opportunity. 

(....)

10:57 a.m. Eastern

NIA-MALKINA HENDERSON: I think there is a bit of contradiction in his presentation today talking about sovereignty, a renewal of spirit for all these nations, nations needing to be patriotic. I imagine if you talk to folks in Venezuela, you talk to folks in North Korea, they imagine that they are being patriotic, right. I mean, and I think the North Korean leader also thinks he is trying to protect his own sovereignty by developing nuclear weapons. So, there is something I thought throughout that whole speech — you called it a sermon. I think if it — he obviously has to work on his delivery a little bit. It’s a little stilted, but I do think there is that contradiction that was really throughout the speech and throughout this whole idea of America First, but also of a U.N. has to help and nations should come together.

(....)

10:59 a.m. Eastern

DANA BASH: But this is a speech that we've not heard from Donald Trump at all during the whole campaign and even during his presidency, this kind of speech. It was probably the most clear about his world view and not just America First, but about what he expects and it's a lot like who he is and was as a President and as a person. It's transactional. It's not about human rights. It’s not about, you know, kind of American values, the Republicans that we covered about American exceptionalism and even Democrats, it's not about that. It’s you do your thing, you be — you do it as well as you can, don't bother other people until you get to the point where you are a threat then we're going to talk. 

(....)

11:00 a.m. Eastern

GLORIA BORGER: He is guided by outcomes, winning -- not ideology. 

KIRBY: It almost seemed like a lecture to himself, at least almost the first two thirds of it to me, almost seemed like he’s lecturing himself, almost trying to teach himself at an eighth grade level about basic sovereignty, multinational issues. But I agree completely, this was — this was absolutely very stark, very absent of any of the normal universal values and mutual cooperation that we try to seek in these international bodies. 

BORGER: Well, and the language to me was so, you know, outspoken, clear. I mean talking about the regime in North Korea as a band of criminals. I mean that's — you know, and Iran, a murderous regime he called them and this is, you know, this is his so-called principled realism that he talks about. Whether you agree or disagree with him — and there are a lot of people in that audience that didn't like being lectured to and disagreed with every word he said — but there was no confusion where he stands, absolutely not. 

(....)

11:04 a.m. Eastern

BRIAN FALLON: Well, Wolf, thought that was one of many examples of how intellectually confused, if not outright incoherent, the speech was. If you just think about it, in one breath, he was urging the world to come together and collectively confront the threat of North Korea and then in the next breath, he is chiding the world over the last time it came together and did rally as an international community to stop a nuclear Iran. He's also withdrawn from the Paris agreement. He's gone around criticizing the United Nations as a body. So, this is a guy who goes around thumbing his nose at international entities and international attempts to confront global challenges, and so what moral standing does he have to call on the world to act collectively against North Korea?

(....)

11:08 a.m. Eastern

BLITZER: The speech — I sense and you may have a better appreciation of this than I did, got sort of polite applause from the international delegations, but certainly not enthusiastic applause. 

JEFF ZELENY: Wolf, certainly that is true. Polite applause in a couple areas, but not much applause throughout the course of the 41-minute speech. Perhaps not surprisingly, it's difficult to align that parts of the world are going to hell. This was a very somber, dark speech if you will, and I remember thinking back to the first appearance that President Obama made here in 2009, as President, of course a far different reception. Of course, he had a booming, enthusiastic applause. The world views these two leaders differently, no question, but as we sort of process and tick through other elements of the speech, I do think one headline as well is refugees. He talked specifically about that and said the cost of resettling one refugee in the U.S., we can assist more than ten in their home region. So, again, that is his view. The nationalist view of the Trump side of the White House there, really speaking out against what many in his base, many evangelical actually support refugee resettlement. That is another issue we would be talking about a lot more but not for North Korea and Iran.

(....)

CNN’s Inside Politics
12:04 pm. Eastern

JOHN KING: What do we hear from President that matters most? It was remarkable to see a leader of any country, but the President of the United States, standing in the well of the United National General Assembly, threatening to totally destroy, not retaliate, not hurt, not, isolate, not prove a point, totally destroy a country.

(....)

CNN’s Wolf
1:02 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: This was a no holds barred speech. How did it play among the gathering of world leaders? 

JIM SCIUTTO: Wolf, I’ll tell you that comment, that threat to North Korea sparked an enormous reaction. I spoke a short time ago to a senior U.N. diplomat who described it to me this way, saying that he, diplomats around him were taken aback. He described it to me like a wind had gone through the room when the President uttered those words we will totally destroy North Korea, said, it was an emotional reaction. There were rumblings to hear an American President threaten, in so many words, to obliterate another country. Truly remarkable and with the Iran threat somewhat different, a sense in the room that this is an American President who may very well withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, but I’ll tell you. It’s those words about North Korea particularly sparked a reaction in that room. Audible gasps, I'm told. Extremely unusual, an emotional reaction, as this diplomat said.

(....)

1:08 a.m. Eastern

DAVID GREGORY: I mean, it's really frightening to hear an American president talk about obliterating any other country. The Axis of Evil speech that George W. Bush was certainly frightening and got controversial to a lot of people, but he didn't go that far. I think the audience was who was in the room, namely Russia, namely China, those people who could influence the North to say we don't want to do this, but we’re going to do something differently than successive administrations have done and we have not been able to deter North Korea. We’ve got to do something differently, whether it's some kind of preemptive attack. You’ve got to step up and really make it painful for North Korea or you’re forcing us, the United States, into a corner.

(....)

1:10 p.m. Eastern

GREGORY: This was very much Trump as a strong man, which I think he fashions himself as. My concern about the broader tone of the speech is that it really did push aside the idea of collective action and America as the leader of that collective action internationally and seemed to fortify the people who said, look. I will look after the interests of my own, whatever country that is from America to Russia.  


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