NBC Asks Schumer: ‘Do You Buy’ This ‘Kinder, Gentler’ Trump?

March 1st, 2017 11:36 AM

On Wednesday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie began an interview with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by suggesting that President Trump’s performance during Tuesday night’s address to Congress was all an act: “Before we get to the substance of the speech, and we will, let's talk about this decisive change in the President's tone. To borrow another political phrase, is this a kinder, gentler Donald Trump and do you buy it?”

Predictably, the New York Democrat denounced the speech: “Not really. And the reason is very simple. With this President, more than any other, his speeches are detached from reality. In his campaign, and even his inaugural speech, he talks to the working people of America, but for the last 40 days his actions have been decidedly on the side of the special interests hurting working America.”

Schumer went on to rant: “He's going to clean the swamp when he has a cabinet of billionaires and Wall Street and bankers with conflicts of interest?” Co-host Matt Lauer helpfully added: “Yeah, and that brought a groan – that brought a groan from the crowd.”

During his appearance on CBS This Morning, Schumer was treated to a softball question teeing him up to blasted one of the President’s policy proposals. Substitute co-host Anthony Mason wondered: “Senator, there were audible groans in the room last night when the President called for the creation of a new office called V.O.I.C.E, Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. What do you think of that new office?”

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Schumer proclaimed: “I think that office is ridiculous.... to put an office like this out there shows how anti-immigrant this president is.”

Fellow fill-in host Alex Wagner, formerly of MSNBC, implied that Trump’s condemnation of anti-Semitism at the top of the address was disingenuous: “Senator, the President started his speech by condemning recent threats against Jewish community centers, slightly at odds with his position earlier in the day. Did that satisfy you?” Schumer complained: “I'm glad he said it, no problem there. But he's got do it regularly and when it happens, not just in one speech once a month.”

Wagner never explained in what way she thought the President’s remarks were “at odds” with his earlier views on anti-Semitism.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos fretted to Schumer over the possibility of Republicans actually following through on their promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare:

The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, was encouraged by what he heard on ObamaCare last night, of repealing and replacing ObamaCare. And the President seemed to embrace what the Speaker has been working on. Are you still confident they’re not going to be able to get repeal through?

Schumer assured the former Democratic operative: “Absolutely. The President didn't make any of the tough decisions....That's why today he is back in the same old hole on ACA that he was the day before today.”

Stephanopoulos followed up: “One word we did not hear from the President last night, Russia. Are you confident that the investigative committees in the House and the Senate are going to get to the bottom of whatever happened during the campaign?” Schumer asserted: “Look, it's very serious and 17 intelligence agencies say Russia tried to manipulate our election. Whether Trump was involved or not, we don't know, and I believe they will get to the bottom of it.”

To their credit, during the March 1 interviews, all three network morning shows did press the Democratic leader on whether his party was willing to compromise and work with the President on certain issues:


> LAUER: Well, let me do this, though, let me try to get us back on unity for a second. You know, you didn't find a lot of reasons to stand and cheer, but give me one thing the President said in that speech last night, Senator, where you found yourself saying, “Yes, I can join him and get behind him on that issue”?

> LAUER: So in an hour, you didn't hear one thing that you can stand behind this morning?

> GUTHRIE: Let's talk about immigration reform. A big issue. He obviously campaigned on it. He signaled an openness to a compromise. And earlier in the day, was reported to have said that perhaps even a pathway for undocumented immigrants to have legal status, something different than citizenship. I mean, would that be sufficient for you to get a deal done?

CBS This Morning

> GAYLE KING: Listen, we’ll get your thoughts on what the President had to say about health care in just a second, but I’d like to start with this, Donald Trump is getting rave reviews today for that speech on tone, delivery, and content. Did you hear anything that you liked in the speech?

> KING: But he did say, Senator, “Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to unite.” Does that put pressure on your party?

> MASON: Senator, you mentioned the infrastructure proposal from the Democrats. President Trump called for a trillion-dollar infrastructure rebuilding program last night. Do you think there's any ground here with which you can work with the Republicans on?


> STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the places he did call for action and even compromise is on the issue of immigration reform. Did you hear something there you can work with and are there compromises you're prepared to make?