Chuck Todd: Trump’s Speech ‘Set Things Back,’ ‘Offended a Lot of Democrats’

After trashing President Trump’s State of the Union address moments after it ended Tuesday night, on Wednesday morning, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd was back at it on the Today show, fearing the speech “set things back” and “really offended a lot of Democrats,” which apparently included him.

Co-host Savannah Guthrie began the segment by acknowledging that the address was a success: “So how does he turn a successful State of the Union address into something lasting?” Todd immediately threw cold water on any positive impact: “Well, I think it’s extraordinarily difficult for any president to make a State of the Union stick anymore.”

 

 

He insisted there was only one way the speech could help Trump: “But you know, look, this State of the Union only becomes relevant if something – you know, if he can have a big success quickly. And immigration is his one opportunity to have a big success quickly.”

Having set the new standard for how the speech could be deemed “successful,” Todd promptly discounted any possibility of an immigration deal as he denounced the President:

But I have to tell you, I think his rhetoric last night set things back, did not advance the ball forward. Because while on immigration, while the tone was an attempt at bipartisanship, the way he sold immigration really offended a lot of Democrats that were listening in that room. And I actually think he made that situation harder today than it was before the speech.

During NBC’s special coverage following the State of the Union Tuesday night, Todd derided Trump’s effort to highlight victims of illegal immigration as an attempt to “paint the picture of the – this mythical immigrant criminal here that I want everybody to get fired up about.”

Here is a transcript of Todd’s January 31 exchange with Guthrie on Today:

7:06 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: So let’s bring in NBC’s Chuck Todd. Hi, Chuck, good morning.

CHUCK TODD: Good morning, or continuation.

GUTHRIE: I feel like I saw you five minutes ago. But let’s start where Kristen [Welker] just left off. She says the President doesn’t have plans to go and take this message out on the road. So how does he turn a successful State of the Union address into something lasting?

TODD: Well, I think it’s extraordinarily difficult for any president to make a State of the Union stick anymore. I mean, just the speed of our news cycle, the speed of where – of all this. But I am surprised this president – the entire month of January, he’s not been on the road much at all. And they’ve not done much to sell their tax plan. So if they haven’t done that, I don’t expect him on the road for this.

But you know, look, this State of the Union only becomes relevant if something – you know, if he can have a big success quickly. And immigration is his one opportunity to have a big success quickly. But I have to tell you, I think his rhetoric last night set things back, did not advance the ball forward. Because while on immigration, while the tone was an attempt at bipartisanship, the way he sold immigration really offended a lot of Democrats that were listening in that room. And I actually think he made that situation harder today than it was before the speech.

GUTHRIE: Well, and then on the flip side of that, he’s talking about a pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers, the Dreamer population of young immigrants. So, I mean, how does that sit with his base?

TODD: Well, I think that’s the issue, Savannah. We talked about this a little bit last night. I think because the amnesty issue doesn’t sit well with the base, it – perhaps the President was trying to sell the hardline aspects of what he wants to do first. So notice he showcased immigrant crime, put an emotional period on that story. And then, said, “Hey, Americans are Dreamers, too,” and then made his pitch for amnesty for the 1.8 million Dreamers. But he did so in such a reluctant way, you have to wonder, I think it was about appeasing his base a bit.

GUTHRIE: Well, we’ll see how it all shakes out. Chuck, go back to bed. Thank you very much.

TODD: You too, alright.


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