Just like their cable news peers, ABC chose to complain about President Trump’s State of the Union address last night, instead of celebrate it. On Good Morning America Wednesday, anchor George Stephanopoulos and chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl recounted the national address entirely from the perspective of the Democrats, serving up judgement only for President Trump and Republicans while seeming to justify Democrats' rude outburts and showboating.
The report began with Stephanopoulos griping to Karl that Trump “delivered division,” blaming the president for the “electric and raw” tension with Democrats. Karl agreed with that assessment, blaming President Trump for “setting the tone” of division by not shaking Nancy Pelosi’s hand:
The scene inside the House chamber for the president’s speech was a reflection of a deeply divided America. It began with the president declining to shake the outstretched hand of the speaker of the house and ended with her dramatically ripping up his speech right behind him.
The tone was set even before the president started speaking. As he handed copies of his speech to the vice president and the speaker, the president rejected Nancy Pelosi's outstretched hand. And from the Republican side, chants of four more years.
While calling Republicans divisive, Karl justified Democrat outbursts by touting how Trump “attacked” California and socialism:
... But this was Trumpian optimism. Boasting of his success while offering a dark view of his political opponents
…. The speaker's jaw dropping as Trump attacked the state of California
... The President attacked a Democratic health care proposal, championed by some of the presidential candidates and a label [Socialist] embraced by Bernie Sanders.
Towards the end of his report, Karl complained that Democrats were “horrified” by Trump picking “controversial radio host” Rush Limbaugh for the Presidential Medal of Freedom honor.
Stephanopoulos again harped on how divisive it was in the room, to end the report. Karl agreed it was unprecedented, and somehow Republicans started it by chanting “four more years.”
Karl did end his report describing how Democrats booed, groaned and ran out of the room, however, he didn’t attack them over this, like the media did with vastly milder displays by Republicans in past addresses. Instead, Karl sympathized that Democrats “looked like they were being held hostage.”
Read the full transcript, below:
Good Morning America
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Another big day in Washington and we begin with the president's state of the union. He touted the economy, called it America's comeback. Delivered emotion and optimism but also division in this election year. The tension with Democrats electric and raw ahead of President Trump's expected acquittal in the impeachment trial this afternoon. Our chief white house correspondent Jon Karl was in that house chamber and starts us off this morning. Good morning, Jon.
JON KARL: Good morning George. The scene inside the House chamber for the President’s speech was a reflection of a deeply divided America. It began with the president declining to shake the outstretched hand of the speaker of the house and ended with her dramatically ripping up his speech right behind him.
The tone was set even before the president started speaking. As he handed copies of his speech to the vice president and the speaker, the president rejected Nancy Pelosi's outstretched hand. And from the Republican side, chants of four more years. [ Crowd chanting "Four more years" ]
KARL: The president began on an optimistic note touting his first three years and the strong economy.
TRUMP: The state of our union is stronger than ever before.
KARL: But this was Trumpian optimism. Boasting of his success while offering a dark view of his political opponents.
TRUMP: If we hadn't reversed the failed economic policies of the previous administration, the world would not now be witnessing this great economic success.
KARL The speaker's jaw dropping as Trump attacked the state of California.
TRUMP: The state of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole state to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants. A very terrible sanctuary with catastrophic results.
KARL: Democrats jeered when the president asked for a bill to lower drug prices. They chanted the name of a bill they had already passed but it's been so far ignored by the Republican controlled Senate. [ Crowd chanting ] Hr. 3" ]
KARL: The President attacked a Democratic healthcare proposal, championed by some of the presidential candidates and a label embraced by Bernie Sanders.
TRUMP: To those watching at home tonight I want you to know we will never let socialism destroy American health care.
KARL: There were moments of uplifting unity tailor made for prime time television.
A 100-year-old Tuskegee airman who flew combat migs in World War II and his great grandson were cheered. A Pennsylvania girl was given a scholarship to go to the school of her choice, and the family of a soldier deployed in Afghanistan reunited.
TRUMP: Tonight we have a very special surprise. I am thrilled to inform you that your husband is back from deployment. He is here with us tonight and we couldn't keep him waiting any longer. [ Applause ]
KARL: And In a first, this moment which energized Republicans and horrified Democrats in the hall. A medal of freedom for controversial radio host Rush Limbaugh who announced this week he is battling late stage lung cancer. And when it was over, speaker Pelosi dramatically ripped up the pages of the president's speech. The president did not mention impeachment but he will undoubtedly, George, have more to say about that after the senate votes to acquit him this afternoon.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jon, you've been in that chamber for States of the Union going back some 20 years, democratic and Republican presidents. There's always a divide in the chamber but nothing like last night.
KARL: There's always a divide. The speeches are always political. Nothing like this, George. You had a situation where it begins with those chants of four more years, boos and groans throughout the speech from the democratic side. I saw several democratic members get up and leave during the speech. Others ran for the exits as soon as it was over. For half of that hall it looked like they were in a political convention, for the other half it looked like they were being held hostage.