NBC Lashes Out at President Trump After Charlottesville Attack

Saturday was marked by bloodshed in Charlottesville, Virginia after an apparent white nationalist plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters in a blatant attack. And on the morning after, NBC’s Sunday Today put President Trump in their sights as they unloaded on him while appearing to pin the blame for the attack on him. At one point even claiming he “enjoys” the support he gets from the bigots who were rallying in Virginia.

President Trump condemned the violence there on Saturday but he did not specifically speak to the white nationalism that was on display,” complained Anchor Willie Geist as he was getting ready to hand the report off to Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell. “The President also did not respond to questions, including one about the political support he enjoys among some white supremacists,” she chided.

One of Geist’s guests was Michael Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville. Geist was very interested in hearing how Signer would slam the President. “Mr. Mayor, you did thank the President of the United States for condemning the violence broadly. But you have been critical of him beforehand,” he hyped. You say, quote, ‘I place the blame for a lot of what's happening in America, a lot of what you’re seeing, at the doorstep of the White House.’” Feigning curiosity, Geist asked what he meant by that.

Signer was eager to lay the blame at Trump’s feet:

Look, there's an old saying when you dance with the devil, the devil changes you. These groups, these influences in American politics prior to a couple years ago, they were around but they in the shadows … We saw a conscious decision to dance with all these devils in our politics. We saw them on full display. Now they're comfortable to come out in open daylight.

Meet the Press moderator, Chuck Todd joined Geist to add his two cents to the bashing session. “Look, you can't say it's anything other than deliberate,” Todd asserted, complaining that the President denounced the violence ‘from all sides,’ and not just the white nationalists. He also suggested that Trump’s Justice Department wouldn’t have opened a civil rights investigation had it not been for “Ted Cruz basically pressuring Justice Department to do what they did…

NBC’s Hallie Jackson pretended not to know what violence was occurring from all sides. “And made this vague allusion to violence between protesters and counter protesters. And again, even after getting pushed didn't specify what violence they were talking about,” she dismissed.

Geist questioned Trump’s sincerity and seriousness in his address after the attack. “You’re talking about Nazis, you’re talking about the KKK, you’re talking about white supremacists,” he sneered. If you cannot come out and quickly and readily and quickly condemn that, what can you do?

To that, Todd parroted Congressman Mark Stanford who said Trump had “unleashed a demon” on us all with his presidential campaign. Todd ended his comments by asserting “he, more than anybody else has a responsibility to” exorcise the demon from the country.

This grotesque and hyperbolic language has no place in the rational conversation that needs to happen right now. It only serves to drive down the discourse and stir up more of the same kind of hate we’ve been seeing.

Transcript below:

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NBC
Sunday Today
August 13, 2017
8:04:01 AM Eastern

WILLIE GEIST: President Trump condemned the violence there on Saturday but he did not specifically speak to the white nationalism that was on display. One line of the President's, in particular, coming in for harsh criticism. NBC's Kelly O’Donnell is covering the President. Kelly, good morning.

KELLY O’DONNELL: Good morning, Willie. The President did denounce the violence in Charlottesville and called for national unity, but some critics, including prominent Republicans, say the President needed to do more, to assign blame to white supremacists and label this incident as domestic terrorism. The President also did not respond to questions, including one about the political support he enjoys among some white supremacists.

GEIST: Mr. Mayor, you did thank the President of the United States for condemning the violence broadly. But you have been critical of him—

MICHAEL SIGNER: At long last.

GEIST: --beforehand. You say, quote, “I place the blame for a lot of what's happening in America, a lot of what you’re seeing, at the doorstep of the White House.” What do you mean by that?

SIGNER: Look, there's an old saying when you dance with the devil, the devil changes you. These groups, these influences in American politics prior to a couple years ago, they were around but they in the shadows.

We saw a conscious decision to dance with all these devils in our politics. We saw them on full display. Now they're comfortable to come out in open daylight.

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GEIST: He didn't specifically condemn what happened and the people who carried out the act allegedly in Charlottesville. “On many sides” and many tweets where he could have corrected that, could have gone further and didn't.

CHUCK TODD: No. Look, you can't say it's anything other than deliberate. He has a reputation for not being afraid to call individuals out, whether they're members of the media, politicians that make him upset, fellow world leaders. So we know he's capable of singling folks out. I think, Willie, in some ways the rest of the Republican outrage speaks for itself. The President does the many sides and you have this just litany of Republican leaders wanting nothing to do with that. Marco Rubio calling it domestic terrorism, Ted Cruz basically pressuring Justice Department to do what they did very quickly after he called for them to open essentially a civil rights investigation.

GEIST: Appears that the White House staff is falling in line with the President. They’ve been given many many opportunities, many chances by all of us, people asking: “Do you think the President went far enough when he said it happens on many sides, that's specifically going after what happened yesterday.” And they wouldn't. They wouldn't go further.

HALLIE JACKSON: About ten seconds after he said that phrase that is catching, obviously so much criticism right now, the “on many sides” words-- I reached out to the White House and said: “What did he mean by that? What sides are you talking about? Can you clarify what the President is saying?” And the response was not a walk-back or a sort of trying to spin what the President said. Instead, it was: “Yeah, he meant all sources and all sides.” And made this vague allusion to violence between protesters and counter protesters. And again, even after getting pushed didn't specify what violence they were talking about.

GEIST: This is a political layup. You’re talking about Nazis, you’re talking about the KKK, you’re talking about white supremacists. If you cannot come out and quickly and readily and quickly condemn that, what can you do?

TODD: No, and the ambiguity there. Mark Sanford, the congressman from South Carolina, I want to give him credit for this quote. He has said: “Candidate Donald Trump's campaign unleashed a demon that has been out here on race.” Nobody is saying it should be directly tied to him, but the demon has been unleashed. He, more than anybody else, has a responsibility to help-- all of us do – but he has a responsibility to lead and try and get rid of the demon.

CyberAlerts Charlottesville violence Bias by Omission Labeling Sudden Respect Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Race Issues Racism NBC Today Video Willie Geist Chuck Todd Hallie Jackson Donald Trump Ted Cruz