On Wednesday, the network morning shows uniformly panned President Trump’s Tuesday night launch of his reelection bid in Florida, slamming the speech as “dark,” “scary,” and just rehashing the “same old grudges” against his “perceived enemies.” Reporters dismissed the event as just a continuation of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“The President kicked off his campaign here with a huge enthusiastic crowd, a new slogan, and a speech that sounded like it could have been given during the last campaign,” correspondent Jonathan Karl declared on ABC’s Good Morning America. He went on to complain that Trump “has a new slogan...but he’s fighting old battles,” and whined, “He spent so much time attacking Hillary Clinton...it seemed for awhile as if he were getting ready to run against her again.”
Karl warned viewers: “As the speech went on, the President made dark, unfounded attacks against Democrats.” A soundbite followed of Trump telling the crowd: “Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage. They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.”
The reporter seemed to forget incessant claims by Democrats and the liberal media over the past two years accusing Trump of being a threat to democracy.
On CBS This Morning, co-host Tony Dokoupil offered this dour review of the President’s campaign relaunch:
President Trump launched his bid for a second term by painting a scary picture of America’s future if he's not re-elected....He accused his critics of un-American conduct — that’s a quote — lashed out at the press, and claimed that Democrats want to, quote “destroy all of the country.” He also said, “destroy all of you,” referring to his voters.
Correspondent Weijia Jiang described the speech this way: “He billed this rally as historic and the hottest ticket ever. But it was actually just a collection of his greatest hits. He revisited old rivalries, aired familiar grievances...”
Moments later, she piled on: “President Trump and his supporters agreed on an updated campaign slogan....But he did not offer new agenda to go with it. Instead, the President painted a dire picture of what will happen if he loses.”
After noting that Trump “stuck to his familiar talking points” to appeal to “his loyal base,” Jiang wrapped up the slanted report with reaction from the far left of the 2020 Democratic field: “Even though President Trump didn’t do a deep dive into the current Democratic field, the candidates certainly responded to him, including Bernie Sanders, who described watching the scene as, quote, an ‘unpleasant experience.’”
Like his ABC and CBS colleagues, on NBC’s Today show, correspondent Peter Alexander was equally unimpressed by the President’s 2020 kickoff:
In many ways, it is as if President Trump’s 2016 campaign never ended. The President not really trying to persuade new voters to join him but really trying to super charge his loyal base. That’s the 2020 strategy. Last night, airing the same grievances against the same perceived enemies that helped propel him to the White House.
The reporter noted Trump hitting “familiar themes” by “Targeting the media, the Democrats, and the establishment.”
As the segment concluded, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked for a sense of the “atmosphere” at the event. In reply, Alexander sneered: “But what struck me was there really wasn’t a lot of new material last night. Certainly the same old grudges.”
While the press were happy to cheer on Democrats as they entered the 2020 race, when the President officially enters the contest, he’s only met with scorn.
Here is a full transcript of the June 19 report on CBS This Morning:
7:06 AM ET
TONY DOKOUPIL: President Trump launched his bid for a second term by painting a scary picture of America’s future if he's not re-elected. The President rallied with thousands of supporters in Orlando to officially start the campaign while he faced turmoil back in Washington. His 75 minute address last night brought up very familiar themes. He accused his critics of un-American conduct — that’s a quote — lashed out at the press, and claimed that Democrats want to, quote “destroy all of the country.” He also said, “destroy all of you,” referring to his voters. Weijia Jiang has been traveling with the President and she's in Miami. Weija, what did he have to say?
WEIJIA JIANG: Tony, he had a lot to say. He billed this rally as historic and the hottest ticket ever. But it was actually just a collection of his greatest hits. He revisited old rivalries, aired familiar grievances and renewed those long-standing promises since his campaign in 2016, because, in many ways, it never ended.
DONALD TRUMP: Tonight I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as president of the United States.
JIANG: President Trump and his supporters agreed on an updated campaign slogan.
TRUMP: Keep America great. If I lose, people are going to say, “What a mistake that was.” But we're not going to lose, so it's not going to matter.
JIANG: But he did not offer new agenda to go with it. Instead, the President painted a dire picture of what will happen if he loses.
TRUMP: Our radical Democratic opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage.
JIANG: Mr. Trump mentioned only two of those opponents by name, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Though he did mentioned his formal rival, Hillary Clinton.
TRUMP: Crooked Hillary Clinton said, “If I win, are you support me.” Isn't it amazing it was the other way around.
JIANG: He stuck to his familiar talking points this he's relied on since his unlikely first run four years ago.
TRUMP: [From 2015.] When Mexico sends its their people, they're not sending their best. [From 2019.] Our immigration laws are disgrace.
JIANG: Even though he's found those problems hard to solve in Washington.
TRUMP: The swamp is fighting back so viciously.
JIANG: But to his loyal base who waited for days to get in to the rally, the stump speech isn't the point.
JOSH MCCLOUD (Trump supporter): No matter what the polls say or what, you know, the news says, we love him and we've got his back.
JIANG: Even though President Trump didn't do a deep dive into the current Democratic field, the candidates certainly responded to him including Bernie Sanders who described watching the scene as, quote, an “unpleasant experience.” Anthony?