In an exclusive interview with Ivanka Trump aired on Monday’s NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander grilled the presidential daughter on sexual harassment claims against her father: “Do you believe your father’s accusers?” After denouncing the question as “pretty inappropriate,” Trump accurately pointed to NBC’s hypocrisy on the issue: “I don’t think that’s a question you would ask many other daughters.”
In fact, the network never pressed Chelsea Clinton on similar accusations against Bill Clinton, despite conducting softball interviews with her before and after the 2016 presidential election. During one such exchange in July of 2016, disgraced Today show anchor Matt Lauer – himself later fired over sexual harassment allegations – sympathized with Clinton over “the darkest moments of [her] family’s past” being an issue in the campaign, suggesting her father’s treatment of women should be off limits.
He even went as far as calling for Chelsea to “convene a summit” with Ivanka Trump to call a truce:
But I’m wondering if you can have an impact here as a daughter....You know Ivanka Trump, right? Would you consider her a friend?...Why not convene a summit? A children’s summit. Maybe just a daughter summit. You and Ivanka sit down over a cup of coffee and discuss tone and discuss what it’s like to hear those things coming out of the other candidate’s mouth about the person you love....Would you sit down with Ivanka and say that shouldn’t fit into the rules of engagement?
Apparently NBC now sees such issues as fair game – at least when it comes to Republicans.
Sitting down for a fawning interview with NBC Late Night host Seth Meyers in October of that year, Clinton was treated to more sympathy. “Certainly this last week we've seen some of the more brutal attacks from the other side. You must feel like your family has been attacked for so long, are you, do you feel numb to it now or is it still hard to watch and listen to?,” Meyers asked.
After the 2016 election, in May of 2017, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie worried about how Chelsea was handling her mom’s loss: “Set politics aside, just as a human, what has it been like for you as a daughter to see her kind of go through this process?”
The purpose of the friendly interview was to promote Clinton’ new children’s book, as Guthrie declared:
You do profile a series of women. I mean it runs the gamut, everybody from Sally Ride to Oprah to Justice Sotomayor. But the theme is “she persisted.” So it’s more than just women and their accomplishments, it’s about women overcoming obstacles.
Amazingly, despite touting that theme of “women overcoming obstacles,” there was not one question about Bill Clinton’s treatment of women during the segment.
After repeatedly insulating Chelsea Clinton from ever having to answer tough questions about the numerous allegations against her father, NBC had no problem demanding that Ivanka Trump answer similar questions about her presidential dad.
NBC was not the first network to hammer Ivanka Trump on her father’s alleged behavior toward women. She faced a similar interrogation on CBS This Morning in the midst of the 2016 campaign, as co-host Norah O’Donnell pressed:
I’m going to ask but The New York Times, they ran a front-page article this Sunday about your father and the treatment of women. Did you read it?...you have worked so closely with your dad. There’s another woman who is quoted in the article that says that Donald Trump groped her at a – you know, at a meeting, at a business meeting.
However, when it came to Bill Clinton’s past scandals, the anchor urged Trump to call on her dad to “tone it down”: “Do you think bringing up her husband's past infidelities, this discussion, is worthy of a presidential campaign?”