ABC, NBC Return to the Well to Urge on Dems Against Trump’s ‘Racist Tweets’

Bowing to pressure from the likes of CNN’s Brian Stelter, NBC Nightly News pivoted on Tuesday to condemn the President’s behavior toward Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) as “racist” and, along with ABC’s World News Tonight, shame Republicans for not being as anti-Trump as Democrats.

ABC senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce was on the Trump beat Tuesday, reporting that “the firestorm over” the President’s “racist tweets” about “four congresswomen of color” “is only growing” as evidenced by the House resolution condemning him.

 

 

As an example of Republican “leaders falling in line” and/or “trying to avoid the issue entirely,” Bruce scolded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and played a back-and-forth she had with Republican Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) (click “expand”):

BRUCE [TO INHOFE]: Are these attacks good politics? Are they good for Republicans? 

INHOFE: Let's find out. No, I don't think they are. I don’t — first of all, I don't think they're attacks. 

BRUCE: They're not attacks? To say you should go back to your country is not an attack? 

INHOFE: No.

BRUCE: Only a handful have been willing to criticize the President. 

SENATOR MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): It's dangerous. It's demeaning to our fellow Americans and that's simply wrong. 

BRUCE: Republican leader Mitch McConnell is now calling on everyone to tone it down, but he's declining to address the President's comments directly or to say if they were racist. 

With NBC Nightly News airing in the Washington D.C. market at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, anchor Lester Holt and chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson provided an updated story about the resolution’s passage (click “expand”):

HOLT: We start with breaking news tonight. The House of Representatives voted tonight to officially condemn President Trump for his racist tweets. Several Republicans joining Democrats in voting for the resolution. The vote forced members to take a public position on the President's demeaning call for a group of liberal congresswomen to go back and fix the places they came from. All of the women are of color and most born in the U.S. But the vote unlikely to shame Mr. Trump, who called on Republicans to not show weakness. Our Hallie Jackson has late details. 

JACKSON: Drama as Democrats tonight work to put the President's racist attack into the congressional record, voting to approve a resolution that, “strongly condemns President Donald Trump's racist comments that have legitimatized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

To Jackson’s credit, she was the lone network correspondent to not only note that Republicans had “successfully argu[ed]” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “broke the rules” by attacking Trump personally, but also that the hubbub over Pelosi led Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) to abandon his post presiding over the House.

A third tidbit that only Jackson picked up on was the squabble on the White House grounds between Kellyanne Conway and Breakfast Media’s Andrew Feinberg, which Jackson asserted was an example of how the President’s comments have “fuel[ed] already bitter partisan divisions from the Capitol to the White House.”

“The President has rarely shied away from explosive racial politics, dating back to his days plugging the birtherism conspiracy theory And while fanning those flames may have helped him in 2016, it wasn't all beneficial in the midterms and may not be effective come 2020,” Jackson concluded.

To see the relevant transcript from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on July 16, click “expand.”

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
July 16, 2019
6:30 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News]

DAVID MUIR: Tonight, the firestorm. President Trump and race. The President declaring today “I don't have a Racist bone in my body.” The effort to condemn the President in Congress. How far will it go? And our correspondent tonight asking lawmakers on the Hill to go on the record about what the President tweeted about those four congresswomen and you'll see as many try to avoid the question.

(....)

6:31 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Racial Firestorm]

MUIR: And we begin tonight with the firestorm over President Trump and race, after the President told four Democratic congresswomen to go back to the countries where they came from. Today, the President saying he doesn't “have a Racist bone in [his] body.” Democrats moving to condemn the President's remarks in Congress. The President urging his party not to show weakness, but Republicans avoiding the issue as our correspondent tried to ask them to weigh in. Mary Bruce leads us off tonight from the Hill. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Racial Firestorm; Trump: I Don’t Have a Racist Bone in My Body”] 

MARY BRUCE: President Trump today declared, “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body.” But the firestorm over his racist tweets is only growing. The President telling four congresswomen of color to go back to the countries they came from. At the White House, our Karen Travers pressing him, since all four congresswomen are citizens and three of them were born in the U.S. 

KAREN TRAVERS [TO TRUMP]: When you say that the Democrat congresswomen should leave if they're not happy, where should they go? 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's up to them. Go wherever they want or they can stay, but they should love our country. They shouldn’t hate our country.

TRUMP: Tonight, the House is voting on a resolution to condemn Trump's comments. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Racial Firestorm; Lawmakers Holding Vote to Condemn Racist Tweets]

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the President's racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people. 

BRUCE: That statement igniting chaos on the floor. 

CONGRESSMAN DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): Request they be taken down. 

BRUCE: Republicans objecting to the Speaker even using the word racist to describe the President's tweets, saying it breaks the rules. The President had urged his party not to, “show weakness.” Its leaders falling in line. 

KASIE HUNT [TO MCCARTHY] Were the President's tweets that said “go back” racist? 

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): No. [SCREEN WIPE] I believe this is about ideology. This is about socialism versus freedom. 

CONGRESSMAN ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Frankly, the Majority Leader is complicit in advancing racism in America if he doesn't even have the backbone to speak out against the most basic, basic line. 

BRUCE: Most Republicans have been trying to avoid the issue entirely. [TO INHOFE] Are these attacks good politics? Are they good for Republicans? 

SENATOR JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): Let's find out. No, I don't think they are. I don’t — first of all, I don't think they're attacks. 

BRUCE: They're not attacks? To say you should go back to your country is not an attack? 

INHOFE: No.

BRUCE: Only a handful have been willing to criticize the President. 

SENATOR MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): It's dangerous. It's demeaning to our fellow Americans and that's simply wrong. 

BRUCE: Republican leader Mitch McConnell is now calling on everyone to tone it down, but he's declining to address the President's comments directly or to say if they were racist. 

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The President's not a racist and I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country. 

MUIR: Mary Bruce is live on the Hill tonight and Mary, the House voting tonight on that resolution to condemn the President's tweets and Nancy Pelosi essentially trying to force Republicans to go on the record? 

BRUCE: Well, David, it is clear that Republicans here on the Hill simply do not want to be talking about the President's tweets and recent comments, but House Democrats are giving them no choice. That vote is now under way, and House Republicans are going to have to say where they stand. David? 

MUIR: Mary, thank you.

To see the relevant transcript from July 16's NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, click “expand.”

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
July 16, 2019
7:00 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: War of Words Over Trump’s Remarks]

LESTER HOLT: Tonight, the escalating war of words and the uproar in congress over President Trump's comments. The president says his remarks about four Democratic congresswomen were not racist, as the House erupts over a resolution to condemn his suggestion that they should go back to the countries they came from. 

(....)

7:01 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Condemning Trump’s Attacks]

HOLT: We start with breaking news tonight. The House of Representatives voted tonight to officially condemn President Trump for his racist tweets. Several Republicans joining Democrats in voting for the resolution. The vote forced members to take a public position on the President's demeaning call for a group of liberal congresswomen to go back and fix the places they came from. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; House Passes Measure Condemning Trump’s Remarks]

HOLT: All of the women are of color and most born in the U.S. But the vote unlikely to shame Mr. Trump, who called on Republicans to not show weakness. Our Hallie Jackson has late details. 

HALLIE JACKSON: Drama as Democrats tonight work to put the President's racist attack into the congressional record, voting to approve a resolution that, “strongly condemns President Donald Trump's racist comments that have legitimatized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Join us in condemning the President's racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office. 

JACKSON: That comment triggering a rare and remarkable House floor fight. Republicans successfully arguing the Speaker broke the rules with a personal attack. 

CONGRESSMAN DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): I request the gentlewoman's words are unparliamentary and request that they be taken down. 

JACKSON: One Democrat leaving in disgust. 

CONGRESSMAN EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): Because we want to just fight, I abandon the chair. 

JACKSON: The resolution symbolic, meant to put Republicans under pressure to vote on the President's tweet Sunday suggesting four freshmen progressives “go back” to their home countries. All four lawmakers are women of color and U.S. citizens. Only one was not born in the U.S. Top Republicans, mostly deflecting and defending President Trump. 

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): This is about socialism versus freedom. 

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The President is not a racist, and I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country. 

JACKSON: It's a moment fueling already bitter partisan divisions from the Capitol to the White House where top aide Kellyanne Conway had this combative exchange with reporter Andrew Feinberg.

ANDREW FEINBERG: To which countries was he referred? 

KELLYANNE CONWAY: What’s your ethnicity? 

FINEBERG: Ah, why is that relevant to this conversation?

CONWAY: No because I'm asking you a question. 

JACKSON: The President for his part tweeting today, “I don't have a Racist bone in my body.” And again attacking the four women lawmakers. 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They can leave. They can stay, but they should love our country and they should work for the good of our country. 

JACKSON: The President has rarely shied away from explosive racial politics, dating back to his days plugging the birtherism conspiracy theory And while fanning those flames may have helped him in 2016, it wasn't all beneficial in the midterms and may not be effective come 2020. Lester? 

HOLT: Alright, Hallie Jackson at the White House. Thank you. 

NB Daily Congress Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism ABC World News Tonight NBC NBC Nightly News Video Government & Press Mary Bruce Lester Holt Hallie Jackson Nancy Pelosi Donald Trump Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ilhan Omar Rashida Tlaib
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