Following Friday’s joint press conference in Chequers, England between President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, NBC rushed to its safe space amongst their pals in the anti-Trump, far-left protesters marching the streets of London and fretting that the President tussled with reporters.
Chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson spoke first with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt and she concluded her analysis with this note of collective yet personal displeasure with Trump: “[A]nd Lester, again on the world stage, the President went after members of the free press. It's worth noting as he has done this before.”
Holt then tossed to chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel “out in the crowd” and Engel seemed as though he was right at home, proclaiming that “while you just heard President Trump stop any criticism on him as fake news, he can't dismiss this as fake news” because “[t]hese are real protesters.”
Engel continued, showing a glowing affinity for the protesters:
There are tens of thousands of people in the streets. These are the biggest demonstrations London has seen in years and they’re from many different communities. People are here, young, old, ethnically diverse, LGBTQ and they are all here to say that President Trump is not welcome in this country. There are now just starting to march. The delay — the protest in this march is somewhat delayed because the crowds have been so big.
He observed that there’s “a lot of anger here that they say President Trump is trying to interfere in British politics, embarrassing the British government, bullying the British government” and that the feeling on the streets of London is that the “special relationship” with the U.K. and the U.S. is anything but that “where we’re seeing the biggest protests against the U.S. President — biggest protests in this city in years.”
One other point worth mentioning from the network special reports was on CBS, in which Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan ruled that, when the President talked about immigration, it will “ignite some stories in the U.K.” and “many heard a dog whistle here that immigration is ruining Europe.”
“He said you’re losing your culture and standing beside her today at Checkers, he said the same thing, that he thinks immigration is damaging to the United Kingdom. He linked it there to terrorism and so these are very controversial things that will get picked up in the European press,” she added.
Moments later, she reiterated that Trump “links immigrants to terrorism, specifically, rather than employment.”
To see the relevant transcript from NBC News Special Report on July 13, click “expand.”
NBC News Special Report
July 13, 2018
9:43 a.m. Eastern
LESTER HOLT: A wide ranging news conference. President Trump, Prime Minister Teresa May after their lunch at Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence. Taking a number of questions. Much of the questioning and the discussion really against the backdrop of this article in The Sun newspaper here in the U.K. It was an exclusive interview with President Trump in which he was critical of the Prime Minister, her dealings with the E.U. as they enter the last part of the Brexit phase. The President suggesting that it could ruin any trade deal with the U.S. He also talked in that article about offering advice on Brexit to the Prime Minister that she rejected. The President rejecting that article, essentially calling his own words fake news. The other notable thing here? The amount of daylight between the two of them on the issue of immigration. President Trump noting that, in his view immigration, has badly damaged Europe. The Prime Minister suggesting that, in many ways, it’s been good for Europe. She also defended their ability to guard and control their own borders. I want to go to our chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson. She is with the President in Checkers. What stood out to you, Hallie?
HALLIE JACKSON: Lester, the two points you mentioned and then two more that I'll mention briefly here. You talked about the interview, that explosive interview that people in Britain woke up to. The front page of The Sun in which the President did go after Theresa May's policies. There is an audio recording of it that has been posted by The Sun. But what you heard the President today try to draw distinction between going after May personally and going after her policies and this has been part of the damage control that we have seen from the White House almost since the minute this newspaper posted the new interview with Donald Trump. The President praised May in person. He praised the relationship between the two and he turned the question back on the reporters who were asking it. Again, the President did go after the way that Theresa May is handling Brexit. The split from the European Union. She wants to keep some closer ties with the E.U. than some Brexit supporters had originally wanted and that is what the President is zeroing in on. You also talked about the daylight between these two on immigration. Very stark between the President talking about Europe essentially losing its culture as he phrased it and Theresa may coming out with a vigorous defense of policy. Two other quick notes, Lester. On Russia, President Trump said he will bring up Russia’s election interference when he meets with Vladimir Putin one-on-one, but he also said he believes the Special Counsel back home into that interference is hurting the relationship with Russia and Lester, again on the world stage, the President went after members of the free press. It's worth noting as he has done this before.
HOLT: Alright. Hallie Jackson, thank you very much. Meantime here in central London, protesters are heading to our location here at Trafalgar Square. Our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is out in the crowd. Richard, what are we looking at here?
RICHARD ENGEL: So, while you just heard President Trump stop any criticism on him as fake news, he can't dismiss this as fake news. These are real protesters. There are tens of thousands of people in the streets. These are the biggest demonstrations London has seen in years and they’re from many different communities. People are here, young, old, ethnically diverse, LGBTQ and they are all here to say that President Trump is not welcome in this country. There are now just starting to march. The delay — the protest in this march is somewhat delayed because the crowds have been so big. There's also a lot of anger here that they say President Trump is trying to interfere in British politics, embarrassing the British government, bullying the British government. So while he says that the problem in the most special relationship between the United States and the U.K, it is a very different feeling here on the streets of London, where we’re seeing the biggest protests against the U.S. President — biggest protests in this city in years.
HOLT: Alright. Richard Engel, thank you and again, that protest will move to where we are at Trafalgar Square. The President will be meeting with the Queen a little bit later on today. We'll be back on the air for that. He’ll spend the weekend in Scotland and then, of course, all this leading up to his summit meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. We’ll, of course, have full coverage of the protests here, the remarks we hear from that news conference when we see you on NBC Nightly News live from London. For now, I'm Lester Holt, NBC News, London.