MSNBC Reporter Fact Checks Velshi’s Claim That Trump ‘Staged’ Hurricane Relief Event

While watching live coverage of President Trump handing out meals to victims of Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina on Wednesday morning, MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi claimed that the event was “staged.” He was immediately corrected by the reporter on location who doubted that was the case.

“Alright, so what we’re seeing here is the President seems to be in front of cars, he’s then handing meals to people. I assume that someone has vetted this....One has to assume these are not random cars coming up to the President who are – and then people are getting food. They’re – this is somehow staged,” Velshi announced late in the 11:00 a.m. ET hour.

 

 

Correspondent Hans Nichols chimed in to set him straight: “Well, I wouldn’t be so certain about that....there was a tight hold on where the President’s movements would be.” After noting that the Secret Service described the event as “off the record,” Nichols added: “We certainly hadn’t picked anything up that there was a – any sort of indication that the President was going to be going to this location and delivering meals, because in part, Ali, we would have tried to have been there live.”

Even Velshi’s co-host Stephanie Ruhle dismissed his assertion: “Well, Ali, you were just there...you know better than me, but I’d like to think in a moment like this it’s not about politics. I mean, those are people who are probably very happy to have a meal.”

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Velshi still insisted that he was right:

I have no doubt about that, it’s just in all of the reporting and being around the President, it is not typical that random unscreened people can drive their cars up next to the President like that and do that. So, I’m not suggesting that they called a rally and that these are supporters. I’m just saying that random folks can’t drive up to the President in 2018 and ask him for some food.

Ruhle pointed out: “I mean, we’ve seen President Obama at soup kitchens and things like that, at events.” Velshi remarked: “Yeah, I think folks get checked.” Ruhle concluded: “Maybe they do, I’m glad those people are getting lunch right now.”

With all the constant negative coverage of the Trump administration on MSNBC, you would think anchors like Velshi could at least occasionally take a break from their criticism when the President is helping victims of a natural disaster. At least Nichols and Ruhle were trying to focus on the good work that was getting done.

Here is a transcript of the September 19 exchange during MSNBC Live With Velshi & Ruhle:

11:58 AM ET

ALI VELSHI: Alright, so what we’re seeing here is the President seems to be in front of cars, he’s then handing meals to people. I assume that someone has vetted this and that there are people driving up, getting meals, and moving on, and chatting with the President. You had mentioned earlier, Hans, that there’s a good amount of stagecraft here. And when the President went to Puerto Rico and started throwing out paper towels, that didn’t work out so well for him from a coverage perspective. One has to assume these are not random cars coming up to the President who are – and then people are getting food. They’re – this is somehow staged.

HANS NICHOLS: Well, I wouldn’t be so certain about that. Now, word of mouth could have spread, but there was a tight hold on where the President’s movements would be. This is what – and Secret Service talked, they say this is an OTR, an off the record, so it isn’t on any official log.

And they do that because that requires a different security classification for the people that he’s going to be visiting. So all these people that are there visiting with the President, they haven’t been frisked, they haven’t gone through the intense security that you normally go through to get anywhere close to the President. So there’s a presumption that the people, for example, won’t be armed, and there’s a presumption that they wouldn’t wish any ill harm on the President.

So, I don’t – there have been distribution points for food. We certainly hadn’t picked anything up that there was a – any sort of indication that the President was going to be going to this location and delivering meals, because in part, Ali, we would have tried to have been there live. Ali?

ALI VELSHI: Okay.

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Well, Ali, you were just there – Hans, thank you so much – you know better than me, but I’d like to think in a moment like this it’s not about politics. I mean, those are people who are probably very happy to have a meal.

VELSHI: I have no doubt about that, it’s just in all of the reporting and being around the President, it is not typical that random unscreened people can drive their cars up next to the President like that and do that. So, I’m not suggesting that they called a rally and that these are supporters. I’m just saying that random folks can’t drive up to the President in 2018 and ask him for some food.

RUHLE: Correct, but soon after – I mean, we’ve seen President Obama at soup kitchens and things like that, at events.

VELSHI: Yeah, I think folks get checked.

RUHLE: Maybe they do, I’m glad those people are getting lunch right now.     

NBDaily Hurricanes Conservatives & Republicans MSNBC Video Hans Nichols Ali Velshi Stephanie Ruhle Donald Trump

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