MSNBC: Trump’s Remarks ‘Didn’t Do Enough,’ ‘Lowest Possible Bar’

Moments after President Trump condemned white supremacists by name during a White House address on Monday about the violence in Charlottesville, a panel of MSNBC reporters and pundits immediately proclaimed that the President “didn’t do enough” and should not get credit for meeting the “lowest possible bar.”

Liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson said the comments were “better late than never,” but still objected: “I don’t believe I heard him describe the incident as I would describe it, as an act of terrorism.” Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell complained: “...the President did say ‘racism is evil’ and he did tie those specific named groups to when they commit violence, they are ‘criminals and thugs.’ But I did not hear him specifically identify these groups and say that their mere presence, their ideology, their values are evil.”

 

 

She went on to further dismiss his statement:

Yes, he said the words. Yes, he was more kind of full-bodied in his condemnation today. But I think there is still an absence of saying the mere existence of these groups is not in line with American values, and something that he does not support. He seemed to link it to the criminal behavior....So I was struck by the fact that the President did say the words, but I wondered if he didn’t do enough to say their mere existence, these groups, is it itself the problem.

Fellow correspondent Gabe Gutierrez, reporting live from Charlottesville, declared: “...his comments did go further today. We’re going to talk to a few more people, if they think it went far enough....they were waiting to hear what the President would say today. And it remains to be seen whether his comments just a few moments ago satisfied folks here.”

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Wrapping up the discussion, anchor Andrea Mitchell turned to Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and snidely remarked: “...it’s striking that Angela Merkel spoke, the chancellor of Germany spoke out against the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, before the President of the United States had.”

Greenblatt launched into a tirade, going so far as to accuse members of the White House staff of being white supremacists:

Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting to hear the responses, the analyses of your guests, but I’ve got to say, naming names and talking about who actually showed up at rally and giving the President credit for that, giving the President credit for saying, “Racism is evil” and it’s a tragedy that an innocent woman was killed, I’m sorry, I expect more from our commander-in-chief. This statement was insufficient.

There was no plan of action. The President didn’t call on DOJ to make sure all law enforcement is trained up in how to deal with hate. He didn’t call on the Department of Education to develop anti-bias, anti-hate content for schools. He didn’t even say [that people on] his staff with links to white supremacists have no place on the payroll of the American people. So let’s be clear, we should expect more from the highest office in the land than to meet the lowest possible bar.

Here are excerpts from the August 14 segment:

12:51 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: To you first, Eugene Robinson. Did the President hit the right notes today, despite what he failed to do on Saturday?

EUGENE ROBINSON: Well, he certainly hit more of them, Andrea, in terms of name-checking, the KKK and white supremacists and neo-Nazis. He did that today. He didn’t do it on Saturday. So on that score, I’d say better late than never. I don’t believe I heard him describe the incident as I would describe it, as an act of terrorism. But I’d have to check the transcript and make sure –

MITCHELL: No, I don’t think he did.

ROBINSON: If he didn’t, you know, I think he should have. But it was – it was much better than Saturday. I think the question going forward, of course, is what sort of confidence will he give African-Americans and minorities and others who did not support his candidacy that he will protect voting rights? That he will protect life and limb in cases of police misconduct? That he will pay attention to issues that are important to communities other than his own base? And so, again, that’s a question that we have.         

(...)

BILL KRISTOL: So I think it’s really enough with President Trump, is my view. He’s kind of minimally – he’s done what he minimally had to do....The one thing Trump didn't say, which Bob Dole said in ‘96, which George H.W. Bush had said years before, was, “We have a few supporters, we don’t want your support if your support is based on bigotry or racism or prejudice.”

MITCHELL: And Kelly O’Donnell, you covered Bob Dole, as did I. That is the kind of statement that we have not – that we’ve not heard from this president and are not likely to hear from this president.

KELLY O’DONNELL: And I was also struck, Andrea, by the fact the President did say “racism is evil” and he did tie those specific named groups to when they commit violence, they are “criminals and thugs.” But I did not hear him specifically identify these groups and say that their mere presence, their ideology, their values are evil. He seemed to link it to criminal activity, like we saw over the weekend. And I'm not sure that that is enough to make that kind of declaration.

Yes, he said the words. Yes, he was more kind of full-bodied in his condemnation today. But I think there is still an absence of saying the mere existence of these groups is not in line with American values, and something that he does not support. He seemed to link it to the criminal behavior....So I was struck by the fact that the President did say the words, but I wondered if he didn’t do enough to say their mere existence, these groups, is it itself the problem.


(...)

GABE GUTIERREZ [IN CHARLOTTESVILLE]: We had been talking to people here over the last few days, and they think – those comments by President Trump on Saturday just did not sit well. Yes, as Kelly was mentioning, his comments did go further today. We’re going to talk to a few more people, if they think it went far enough....they were waiting to hear what the President would say today. And it remains to be seen whether his comments just a few moments ago satisfied folks here.

(...)

MITCHELL: And Jonathan Greenblatt, it’s striking that Angela Merkel spoke, the chancellor of Germany spoke out against the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, before the President of the United States had.

JONATHAN GREENBLATT [CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE]: Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting to hear the responses, the analyses of your guests, but I’ve got to say, naming names and talking about who actually showed up at rally and giving the President credit for that, giving the President credit for saying, “Racism is evil” and it’s a tragedy that an innocent woman was killed, I’m sorry, I expect more from our commander-in-chief. This statement was insufficient.

There was no plan of action. The President didn’t call on DOJ to make sure all law enforcement is trained up in how to deal with hate. He didn’t call on the Department of Education to develop anti-bias, anti-hate content for schools. He didn’t even say [that people on] his staff with links to white supremacists have no place on the payroll of the American people. So let’s be clear, we should expect more from the highest office in the land than to meet the lowest possible bar.

(...)

NB Daily Crime Charlottesville violence Conservatives & Republicans MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports Video Andrea Mitchell Kelly O'Donnell Donald Trump

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