NBC Hires Obama Flack as ‘Analyst’ to Attack GOP

Apparently not content with just having all of its hosts and correspondents relentlessly attack the Trump administration and the Republican Party, NBC News decided to hire Barack Obama’s former White House press secretary Josh Earnest as a “political analyst” to join in the network’s savaging of the GOP.

Making his debut on Monday’s Today show, Earnest was warmly welcomed by co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer. Guthrie laughably proclaimed: “Now you have to wear your analyst hat, not your Democrats’ hat.” Earnest replied: “That’s right.” However, in the segment that followed, viewers would see no difference as Earnest stuck to his rank partisanship.

Both morning show hosts helpfully teed up the former Obama spokesman to repeatedly slam Republicans over the failure of Friday’s health care bill. Guthrie wondered: “And looking at what happened, what transpired over the last few weeks on health care, who is to blame?” Lauer followed up: “So is this a problem with the chief of staff, Reince Priebus? Was this a problem with the chief adviser, Steve Bannon? Was this the Vice President, who knows Congress pretty well? Who missed the stop sign?”

Earnest predictably claimed: “Well, I think they all did....There wasn't a willingness on the part of anybody in the White House to work with Democrats to actually improve ObamaCare and address the problems that we all know can be solved and improved.” He even admitted that the signature legislation of his former boss was “going to explode” if nothing was done and demanded that President Trump “not stand idly by while people get hurt.”

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Rather than hammer Earnest on why Democrats created such a mess in the first place, Lauer asked him about Paul Ryan’s job security: “Paul Ryan was pretty up front, he said it's a major setback....Is Speaker Ryan's job safe, in your opinion?”

Earnest seized the chance to bitterly rant against the House GOP:

The one unifying principle of congressional Republicans over the last ten years has been instinctive, reflective opposition to everything related to President Obama. That's why it was easy for them to vote to repeal ObamaCare. But when it came to replacing it, when it came to building a coalition to actually do something proactive and positive for the country, there's no consensus in the Republican Party. And again, as long as you're unwilling to work with Democrats to try to find some common ground, we're going to be stuck in the – stuck in the mud here.

Guthrie gently pressed him on whether Democrats had an obligation to reach across the aisle: “Democrats have a choice to make, they have some soul searching to do....But there's not a lot of appetite on the left-wing of the Democratic Party to give Trump a victory. What would be your advice to your fellow partisans?”

Earnest stayed true to form and urged his fellow liberals to continue to obstruct the Republican agenda:

Well, first of all, I think it's clear that...Democrats in Congress are holding a much stronger hand than it looked like they were holding 65 days ago. So the question is, how are they going to play that hand? They have some leverage now and they should use it. And if there are opportunities to make progress on their terms in support of some values and priorities that Democrats have identified, they can look for those opportunities. But they don't have to fold to Republicans right now, they're holding – they’re playing a strong hand.

Neither Guthrie nor Lauer called out Earnest’s blatant hypocrisy of demanding Republicans reach out to Democrats and then advising Democrats to refuse to work with Republicans. The partisan nature of ObamaCare’s passage in 2010 was also never mentioned.

Lauer wrapped up the exchange with a question that he worried would be “so unfair” to ask Earnest on his “first day.” In reality, it was a ridiculous softball: “In 10 seconds left, Josh, the relationship between Donald Trump, President Trump, and President Obama started out cordially. Is it completely over?”

Earnest condescendingly remarked: “I'm not aware that they've had any conversations since President Trump took office. But the telephone line still works, so if he wants some advice or some insight, I'm confident that President Obama, who's interested in the success of the country, would be happy to share his experience with President Trump.”

Guthrie observed: “That sounds like the press secretary's answer.” The three of them had a good laugh over Earnest’s obvious bias.

Earnest is just the latest Obama mouthpiece to leave the White House and walk right into a plush media job as an “analyst.” Both of his predecessors were granted similar roles. Former press secretary Jay Carney joined CNN as a pundit upon leaving the administration in 2014. In 2013, Obama’s first spokesman Robert Gibbs became and MSNBC and NBC News contributor.

A 2014 Media Research Center study compiled a stunning list of 30 “journalists” who had strolled though the revolving door between the news media and the Obama administration.

Here is a full transcript of the March 27 segment with Earnest:

7:06 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Josh Earnest served as White House press secretary under President Obama and we’re pleased to announce he's joined NBC News as a political analyst. Josh good morning, welcome to NBC.

MATT LAUER: Welcome to the family.

JOSH EARNEST: Good morning, I'm thrilled to be here, guys.

GUTHRIE: Now you have to wear your analyst hat, not your Democrats’ hat.

EARNEST: That’s right.

GUTHRIE: And looking at what happened, what transpired over the last few weeks on health care, who is to blame? At first President Trump said it's the Democrats. Then he said no, it's the hard-liners, it’s the right, it’s the House Freedom Caucus. What went wrong?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: White House Blame Game; Trump Points Finger at Dems, Freedom Caucus in Failed Bid]  

EARNEST: Yeah, well, it turns out that governing is actually a lot more complicated and in many ways more difficult than campaigning. And the challenge of this starts at the top. And if you're going to be President of the United States and you actually want to go out and solve problems for the American people then you have to figure out the way to get it done. And if you are not going to be willing to make calls to the other side and actually try and build bipartisan legislation, then you're going to have trouble as long as your party remains so divided.

LAUER: Well, let's get more specific, though. You know how the White House works. So is this a problem with the chief of staff, Reince Priebus? Was this a problem with the chief adviser, Steve Bannon? Was this the Vice President, who knows Congress pretty well? Who missed the stop sign?

EARNEST: Yeah. Well, I think they all did. It's clear that there are fissures in the Republican Party that could not be breached even by somebody like Mike Pence, that’s got a lot of great relationships with conservative Republicans. There wasn't a willingness on the part of anybody in the White House to work with Democrats to actually improve ObamaCare and address the problems that we all know can be solved and improved. And we couldn't be in a situation, Matt, where the President of the United States – it's just not tenable to be in a position where the President of the United States is ready to accept that ObamaCare is just going to explode. The American people expect you to solve problems, not stand idly by while people get hurt.

LAUER: Paul Ryan was pretty up front, he said it's a major setback, he said, “We're trying to go from the party of no to a party governing and we're not there yet.” The President has said supportive things about the Speaker of the House to date but there was that tweet about the Jeanine Pirro show. Is Speaker Ryan's job safe, in your opinion?

EARNEST: Well, what is clear is that for Republicans in Congress, they haven't been safe in quite some time as long as their party is so divided. The one unifying principle of congressional Republicans over the last ten years has been instinctive, reflective opposition to everything related to President Obama. That's why it was easy for them to vote to repeal ObamaCare. But when it came to replacing it, when it came to building a coalition to actually do something proactive and positive for the country, there's no consensus in the Republican Party. And again, as long as you're unwilling to work with Democrats to try to find some common ground, we're going to be stuck in the – stuck in the mud here.

GUTHRIE: Well now the shoe’s on the other foot, isn't it?

EARNEST: It is.

GUTHRIE: Because Democrats have a choice to make, they have some soul searching to do. On the one hand, there may be opportunity to work with President Trump on infrastructure, on tax reform, perhaps a replacement bill for health care. But there's not a lot of appetite on the left-wing of the Democratic Party to give Trump a victory. What would be your advice to your fellow partisans?

EARNEST: Well, first of all, I think it's clear that Republicans – I mean, that Democrats in Congress are holding a much stronger hand than it looked like they were holding 65 days ago. So the question is, how are they going to play that hand? They have some leverage now and they should use it. And if there are opportunities to make progress on their terms in support of some values and priorities that Democrats have identified, they can look for those opportunities. But they don't have to fold to Republicans right now, they're holding – they’re playing a strong hand.

LAUER: This is so unfair to do to you on your first day. In 10 seconds left, Josh, the relationship between Donald Trump, President Trump, and President Obama started out cordially. Is it completely over?

EARNEST: I'm not aware that they've had any conversations since President Trump took office. But the telephone line still works, so if he wants some advice or some insight, I'm confident that President Obama, who's interested in the success of the country, would be happy to share his experience with President Trump.

GUTHRIE: That sounds like the press secretary's answer.

[LAUGHTER]

Josh Earnest, good to have you and welcome, again, to NBC.

LAUER: Welcome.

EARNEST: Thank you guys.

GUTHRIE: Programming note, by the way, tomorrow, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham will be with us live. He'll get his take on the fights over health care and the President's Supreme Court pick, Russia, and a whole lot more. Senator Lindsey graham live tomorrow morning on Today.

NB Daily Congress Health Care Medical Insurance Revolving Door Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Savannah Guthrie Matt Lauer Josh Earnest

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