NBC's Holt to Donald Trump, Jr.: Can Your Dad 'Cry,' 'Emote'?

Lester Holt pressed Donald Trump, Jr. on Thursday's NBC Nightly News on whether his billionaire father can show his emotional side: "We...sometimes look for our leaders to be compassionate — to console us during national tragedy. We saw President Obama in Dallas a week or so ago. We haven't seen that Donald Trump. Is this a man that can cry? Can he emote? Can he wrap his arms around the country in times of crisis?" Holt later repeated his question on whether the elder Trump can cry. [video below]

The NBC anchor interviewed Trump, Jr., and his brother, Eric, eight minutes into the evening newscast. Midway through the segment, he first asked Donald Trump, Jr., "So you're his son. So Dad, tonight, you need to do." After the guest underlined that he advised father to talk about "party unity" and "conservative values," Holt set up his questions about emotions by noting that "you and your siblings have been very effective this week trying to paint a picture of...the dad that you know."

Donald Trump, Jr. initially answered "can he emote" question by emphasizing that "those who know him best...his kids, his grandkids, his very close friends...we can talk to that to an extent. I think you'll hear it from Ivanka tonight." Holt interrupted by stating, "I think we want to see it." Trump, Jr. continued that "there also comes a time, Lester, where you actually have to lay the hammer down. You can't talk about everything with...white, fluffy pillows; and everything's beautiful. That's not the world that we live in."

The journalist ended with his "have you ever seen him cry" inquiry. Trump, Jr. confirmed that he had seen his father cry: "I've seen him be very emotional. I've seen him be very compassionate — and again, not just to his family — because that's family — but to employees that he's taken care of and that have worked for him and given him so many years of dedicated service."

Tell the Truth 2016

Earlier in 2016, Holt touted President Obama's "emotional over-half-hour-long address announcing executive actions to further his goal toward gun control....at one point fighting back tears, the tears actually flowing as he went down the litany of the various mass shootings that have occurred around the country over the last several years."

The transcript of the relevant portion of the Lester Holt segment from NBC Nightly News on July 21, 2016:

LESTER HOLT: The Trump siblings have been intimately involved in campaign strategy; and I asked oldest son Don, Jr. if he had offered advice for his dad's primetime speech.

HOLT (on-camera): So you're his son. So Dad, tonight, you need to do—

DONALD TRUMP, JR.: Making sure we're talking about party unity; making sure we're talking about conservative values — our freedoms that conservatives hold so dearly — and that he's going to be talking about those.

HOLT: Okay. You and your siblings have been very effective this week trying to paint a picture of your dad — you know, the dad that you know. At the same time, when you think about a president, strength is obviously important; but we also sometimes look for our leaders to be compassionate — to console us during national tragedy. We saw President Obama in Dallas a week or so ago. We haven't seen that Donald Trump. Is this a man that can cry? Can he emote? Can he—

TRUMP: Very much so—

HOLT: Can he wrap his arms around the country in times of crisis?

TRUMP: And those who know him best — you know, ourselves, his kids, his grandkids, his — his very close friends, you hear (sic) about it last night. That's the guy that he is. I think we can talk to that to an extent. I think you'll hear it from Ivanka tonight—

HOLT: I think we want to see it.

TRUMP: Well, listen, we do. But there also comes a time, Lester, where you actually have to lay the hammer down. You can't talk about everything with — you know, white, fluffy pillows; and everything's beautiful. That's not the world that we live in. And my father understands how serious the situation is. You know, so there's a time and a place for all of that; and he can do it better than anyone.

HOLT: Have you ever seen him cry?

TRUMP: I have; I have. I've seen him be very emotional. I've seen him be very compassionate — and again, not just to his family — because that's family — but to employees that he's taken care of and that have worked for him and given him so many years of dedicated service.

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