Andrea Mitchell Sympathizes With ‘Protective’ Clinton Aides Blaming Media for Hillary’s Loss

Reporting on the contentious exchange between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s campaign aides at a Harvard University forum, on Friday’s NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell touted the defeated Democratic nominee’s team whining about media coverage of the presidential race.

Mitchell proclaimed: “What the campaign’s did agree on, resentment of the media.” She briefly noted “Trump’s team arguing the media were pro-Clinton,” but spent more time on “The Clinton team complaining far more attention was paid to her e-mails than to Trump’s failings.” A soundbite followed of Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook complaining: “Why wasn't there the same attention to Donald Trump's decision-making about his business? Why didn’t we look into his bankruptcies?”

Mitchell helpfully added: “In a biting final comment, longtime Clinton strategist Mandy Grunwald sarcastically said that the Trump team doesn't get nearly enough credit for waging a highly effective negative campaign with fake news, like portraying Clinton as fatally ill.”

Moments later, co-host Matt Lauer wondered: “Did anyone, Andrea, on the Clinton team talk about their failings, why they think they came up short?” Mitchell sympathetically declared: “They certainly were very protective, they’re not blaming Hillary Clinton at all. They reject the argument that she didn't go enough to the battleground states. They do blame the media, frankly, and they also feel that it's basically James Comey....they had some momentum, they think it stalled, they just couldn't – they couldn’t break through.”

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In reality, a Media Research Center study found that 91% of the network news coverage of Trump in the weeks leading up to the election was hostile and negative. In addition, Trump’s controversies received significantly more air time on NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts.

While Clinton’s campaign staff launched some of the nastiest attacks during the forum, Mitchell laid blame on both sides: “...it was unprecedented, devolving at times into a shouting match between the Trump and Clinton campaigns as they sat right across from each other.”

After a clip played of Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri accusing the Trump team of promoting white supremacy, Mitchell joined in: “At issue, Steve Bannon, the Trump strategist who came from Breitbart News, slammed by Clinton herself as a platform for white nationalists, the so-called Alt-Right.”

When co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted over the “bitter” and “not diplomatic talk,” Mitchell seemed to put the onus on Trump’s staffers: “This was the first time it has exploded this way and just shows how deep the resentments are. Usually the winners are gracious – not so this time.”

Here is a full transcript of the December 2 report:

7:06 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: As you mentioned at the top, there was a fascinating event at Harvard University Thursday. It featured top members of the Trump and Clinton campaigns, it showed just how bitter and emotional things still are. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, was right there. Andrea, good morning.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Matt and Savannah. I was one of the moderators of this panel, a post-mortem election tradition every four years at the Kennedy school of government at Harvard. This year it was unprecedented, devolving at times into a shouting match between the Trump and Clinton campaigns as they sat right across from each other.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trump & Clinton Campaign Aides Clash; Shouting Match at Forum Reveals Still Raw Emotions]

The campaign may be over, but the emotions are still raw.

JENNIFER PALMIERI: I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: No, you wouldn't.

MITCHELL: Culminating in this fuming exchange between Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri and Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.

CONWAY: Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform? You gonna look me in the face and tell me that?

PALMIERI: It did, Kellyanne! It did!

CONWAY: Really?  

MITCHELL: At issue, Steve Bannon, the Trump strategist who came from Breitbart News, slammed by Clinton herself as a platform for white nationalists, the so-called Alt-Right.

HILLARY CLINTON [AUGUST]: Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.

PALMIERI: I am more proud of Hillary Clinton’s Alt-Right speech than any other moment on the campaign because she had the courage to stand up.

MITCHELL: Conway accusing the Clinton campaign of not having a message.  

CONWAY: Do you think you could have just had a decent message for the working class voters? How about it’s Hillary Clinton. She doesn’t connect with people. How about they have nothing in common with her.”

MITCHELL: And when Clinton strategist Joel Benenson cited Clinton’s two-and-a-half-million vote lead in the popular vote.

JOEL BENENSON: Let also be honest. Don't act as if you have a popular mandate for your message.

MITCHELL: Conway shot back.

CONWAY: Guys, I can tell you’re angry. But, wow. I mean, #He'sYourPresident.

MITCHELL: What the campaign’s did agree on, resentment of the media. Trump’s team arguing the media were pro-Clinton. The Clinton team complaining far more attention was paid to her e-mails than to Trump’s failings.

ROBBY MOOK: Why wasn't there the same attention to Donald Trump's decision-making about his business? Why didn’t we look into his bankruptcies?

MITCHELL: In a biting final comment, longtime Clinton strategist Mandy Grunwald sarcastically said that the Trump team doesn't get nearly enough credit for waging a highly effective negative campaign with fake news, like portraying Clinton as fatally ill. Matt and Savannah, this was a rough session.
                                        
GUTHRIE: I was going to say, Andrea – and I know you've been part of these in the past – I mean, how unusual is it not only for it to be so bitter, but also for it to spill out so publicly? You know, it's not diplomatic talk we heard in there.

MITCHELL: Not at all. And this has been going on since 1972, both sides coming together, doing a post-game analysis, it is turned into a book. It’s an academic exercise and we prepared for it that way. But it was off to the races, they just were going at each other. This was the first time it has exploded this way and just shows how deep the resentments are. Usually the winners are gracious – not so this time.

LAUER: Did anyone, Andrea, on the Clinton team talk about their failings, why they think they came up short?

MITCHELL: They certainly were very protective, they’re not blaming Hillary Clinton at all. They reject the argument that she didn't go enough to the battleground states. They do blame the media, frankly, and they also feel that it's basically James Comey. I mean, the bottom line is, James Comey, the last 11 days, they had some momentum, they think it stalled, they just couldn't – they couldn’t break through.

GUTHRIE: Alright, Andrea. Fascinating and you were right there. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

MITCHELL: And good luck to you, Savannah.

GUTHRIE: Thank you.

MITCHELL: We're gonna miss you.

GUTHRIE: Thank you.


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