NBC: 'Shockingly Divisive' Trump Threw 'Verbal Grenades' in Address

Friday's NBC Nightly News hyped how President Donald Trump supposedly lobbed "verbal grenades" in his inauguration address, as Hallie Jackson put it. Chuck Todd contended that the speech was "shockingly divisive for an inaugural," and quickly added that it was "unnecessarily divisive." Todd later underlined that Trump "insulted almost every living president that was there...which, to me, was so stunning." On CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley emphasized that "inauguration speeches are always about binding the wounds of the election and bringing the country together — and that's not what happened today." [video below]

NBC anchor Lester Holt brought on Todd and political analyst Nicolle Wallace for their reactions to the address. After twice calling it "divisive," the Meet the Press host outlined that "what's interesting here is that this was intentional....it was a call to arms to his supporters. And this is the message they sent — which is, we're going to be a little bit of a confrontational presidency. We were a confrontational campaign — that's what populist campaigns are — we're going to be a confrontational presidency."

Moments later, Todd contended that "this is a risk. He has got depth of support. He did not go for any breadth today. He needs to expand. This is a man who didn't win the popular vote. You wouldn't have known that today with this inaugural address....It's a gamble."

Jackson's report aired at the beginning of an added half hour of the NBC evening newscast. Holt led into the segment by pointing out that the speech "departed in major ways from speeches we've heard from those Capitol steps in the past." The journalist echoed Todd's earlier analysis by stating that "his speech to the nation: more a message to his movement." After dropping her "verbal grenades" phrase, Jackson played two clips of Trump supporters praising the address. She followed this by spotlighting how "critics hearing something much different, more divisive."

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

The correspondent later proclaimed that "the speech signaling how the President will govern — unflinchingly populist, unabashedly nationalist — whether Washington likes it or not." She concluded the pre-recorded portion of the segment by detailing, "if not inspirational to everyone, it was intentional at the least — deliberate; pointed; and, by definition, presidential."

CBS's Pelley led his segment with Face the Nation host John Dickerson with his assertion that "inauguration speeches are always about binding the wounds of the election and bringing the country together — and that's not what happened today." Dickerson replied, "No. This was straight out of Donald Trump's campaign." He continued that "there were signs that he was going to talk about unity...He offered unity, but only on his terms; and then, he destabilized things further by attacking Republicans and Democrats — the politicians — by saying they were the ones who sold out those people in the audience."

The transcript of the Chuck Todd segment and the Hallie Jackson report from NBC Nightly News; along with the John Dickerson segment from CBS Evening News — all of which aired on January 20, 2017:

01/20/2017
07:12 pm EST
NBC Nightly News

LESTER HOLT: We're joined now by our political director, the moderator of 'Meet the Press,' Chuck Todd; and NBC News political analyst and White House veteran, Nicolle Wallace.

Let me start with you, Chuck. I think when we heard the word 'carnage' in the speech, we knew this was going to be an unusual message.

CHUCK TODD: Look, my first reaction was I thought it was shockingly divisive for an inaugural; and I was surprised because I thought it was unnecessarily divisive. There were moments that — that moment that you highlighted with the Clintons — that could have been a moment that probably belonged more in the inaugural address.

But what's interesting here is that this was intentional. His — one of his chief advisors, Steve Bannon, referred to it as 'Jacksonian.' And it was a call to arms to his supporters. And this is the message they sent — which is, we're going to be a little bit of a confrontational presidency. We were a confrontational campaign — that's what populist campaigns are — we're going to be a confrontational presidency. And he insulted — at points, insulted almost every living president that was there to witness his inaugural — which, to me, was so stunning.

HOLT: Got uncomfortable — Nicolle, was there a message here to both parties that was sent?

NICOLLE WALLACE: Hey, you talk about insulting — I mean, there were four former presidents on the dais with him — not one of them had voted for him — and there were presidents in both political parties. So I think the speech was very much about what his candidacy was about — which was, the forgotten man and woman, and a run against the political establishment of both parties.

TODD: This is a risk. He has got depth of support. He did not go for any breadth today. He needs to expand. This is a man who didn't win the popular vote. You wouldn't have known that today with this inaugural address. But I think they think that this is the way to operate in this politics. We'll see. It's a gamble.

HOLT: It starts today. Thank you to both.


01/20/2017
07:30 pm EST
NBC Nightly News

LESTER HOLT: All across the country today, Americans watched as Mr. Trump took the oath of office — capping off a wild and unpredictable rise to the highest office in the land. Then, for the first time as president, Trump — he addressed the nation in his inaugural speech. And as he laid out his vision for the country, it departed in major ways from speeches we've heard from those Capitol steps in the past.

With more now on the President's message to the country, we turn to NBC News White House correspondent Hallie Jackson. Hallie?

[NBC News Graphic: "Trump Gives Combative Inauguration Speech"]

HALLIE JACKSON (voice-over): His speech to the nation: more a message to his movement.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP (from inaugural address): The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

JACKSON: Throwing verbal grenades at that very establishment surrounding him — looking past them to those who put him in office, like voters in western Pennsylvania.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: It was powerful — a lot of direction back towards the people, which was what this country is all about.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2: The tone of his speech was, I thought, honest and sincere.

TRUMP: The crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential — this American carnage stops right here, and stops right now.

JACKSON: Critics hearing something much different, more divisive.

SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW, (D), MICHIGAN: I was surprised at how dark his comments were today. It was — it felt depressing and dark.

JACKSON: In a lot of ways, it was classic campaign Trump.

TRUMP: The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

TRUMP (from campaign rally): For every forgotten man and forgotten woman—

TRUMP (from campaign speech): These are the forgotten men and women. We will make America—

TRUMP (from inaugural address): Great again.

JACKSON: The speech signaling how the President will govern — unflinchingly populist, unabashedly nationalist — whether Washington likes it or not.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR: It's a very interesting governing style. And it's a fighting style. It's a confrontational style. We saw it in the campaign; and perhaps, that's what we're going to see as — as president.

JACKSON: The President using the word 'I' only three times; the word 'we' roughly forty. The word used more than any other: 'America' — and, for the first time ever in an inaugural address, words like 'carnage,' 'unstoppable,' and 'Islamic'.

TRUMP (from inaugural address): Unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.

JACKSON: If not inspirational to everyone, it was intentional at the least — deliberate; pointed; and, by definition, presidential.

JACKSON (on-camera): That speech the first milestone moment for Donald Trump after taking the oath of office. And one of his last big moments of the day will happen at one of three inaugural balls tonight — like this one here, where, for the first time as president, Donald Trump will dance with his first lady. Lester?

HOLT: Hallie Jackson tonight, thank you.


01/20/2017
06:37 pm EST
CBS Evening News

SCOTT PELLEY: John Dickerson is our CBS News political director and the anchor of 'Face the Nation.' John, inauguration speeches are always about binding the wounds of the election and bringing the country together — and that's not what happened today.

JOHN DICKERSON: No. This was straight out of Donald Trump's campaign, where he loved the roar of the crowd in front of him. And he gave his speech today to the crowd in front of him — those people who felt like their politicians had betrayed them.

There were signs that he was going to talk about unity; but usually, with a unity speech, you offer something to the people who are nervous about you as a president; who didn't vote for you. He offered unity, but only on his terms; and then, he destabilized things further by attacking Republicans and Democrats — the politicians — by saying they were the ones who sold out those people in the audience.

PELLEY: Well, as you say, he excoriated Republicans and Democrats alike. Can he accomplish his promises — get them through Congress?

DICKERSON: He's trying a new route — which is, basically, to say, I have a movement; and I'm going to use the power of that movement to force you to do what I want. That's the theory.

The other theory, though, that I'm hearing from the Hill, is they think this is a negotiating posture. This is the opening bid. He has got his group on his side, and he'll work out the details with lawmakers, and — and we'll have to just see how that all shakes out.

PELLEY: John Dickerson, thank you very much.

NB Daily Trump Inauguration Labeling Trump transition Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Hallie Jackson Lester Holt Chuck Todd Scott Pelley John Dickerson Donald Trump
Matthew Balan's picture


Sponsored Links