CNN’s Tapper Decries Trump’s ‘Reality TV’ SOTU, Divisive ‘Red Meat’ for Base

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Moments after President Trump wrapped up his eventful State of the Union address Tuesday night, CNN host Jake Tapper took to ripping into — much like the petty Speaker of the House did in ripping up the advanced copy Trump gave her. According to him, the address bore a striking resemblance to mindless “reality television,” and, with very few exceptions, it was nothing but divisive “red meat” for his base.

Claiming he didn’t “mean this in a pejorative way,” Tapper repeated he assertion that the address was nothing more than Reality TV and recalled some of the touching moments. His prime example was when legendary conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who just went public with his lung cancer diagnosis, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

JAKE TAPPER: And obviously, the surprise Medal of Freedom that the First Lady bestowed upon Rush Limbaugh, where he seemed rather shocked. I mean, this really is a true and full embrace of who this President is, which is somebody from the world of reality television. Where he was trying to have these moments for the American people to experience.

And it worked on a lot of people,” Tapper seemed to fret. Co-host Wolf Blitzer seemed to share that thought, saying, “I’m sure it will resonate with a lot of Americans out there.”

 

 

After Blitzer tried and failed to make an issue out of Republican lawmakers chanting “four more years,” they circled back to decrying the content of the address and the President’s acknowledgment of Limbaugh:

TAPPER: Although, I will say, I mean, this is -- for a State of the Union address this was a full embrace of the fact that President Trump sees his are election as a base election. In other words, he needs to get Republicans --

BLITZER: His base clearly was there. You can see the Republican standing --

BASH: That’s what the Rush Limbaugh thing was also.

TAPPER: Rush Limbaugh and guns and religion and, I mean, it was a full embrace of really red meat Republican issues.

Following the Democratic Party’s response, Tapper was back at it, this time deriding the address as divisive and claiming the President wasn’t interested in uniting the country. “President Trump gave a speech that was really not aimed in, for most of it, on uniting the room or the country. It was aimed at appealing to conservatives with red meat Republican issues,” he declared.

Despite the fact that they admitted President Obama did similar things in his State of the Union addresses, the general tone of CNN’s reaction was that Trump was doing something out of the ordinary and harmful. This is CNN, where facts are not first.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN State of the Union
February 4, 2020
10:28:03 p.m. Eastern

(…)

WOLF BLITZER: It was awkward at the very beginning, Jake. It looked like Nancy Pelosi was ready to shake his hand. He did not respond. Didn’t shake. And at the very end it looked like she was sort of ripping up the advanced copy of the speech that he presented.

JAKE TAPPER: She went to shake his hand. Whether he snubbed her or didn't see it. He didn't reciprocate. And then normally the speaker of the house will say to the members of Congress, joint session: “It is my high honor and pleasure to introduce the president of the United States.” Speaker Pelosi just said, “members of Congress the President of the United States.” She did not include the high honor and distinct pleasure, which was rather notable.

It really was a striking for a number of reasons, Wolf. But one of them is while we are used to since the days of Reagan, a president going to people in the first lady's box to illustrate some sort of policy point or some sort of American note. Whether it's honoring troops or talking about education. We have never seen and I suppose this comes from the President's history in reality television. And I don't mean this in a pejorative way in anyway.

[Audio from the House and confusion about listening in]

TAPPER: We’ve never really seen a scholarship given. Which is what the President did with the young girl from Philadelphia. We’ve seen the type of thing where a war hero like the Tuskegee Airman Brigadier General McGee. We’ve seen that honored. And that was a lovely moment to have 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman there with his grandson, who wants to be in the Space Force. But President Trump telling a little girl that she's going get a scholarship. President Trump announcing that there is a soldier coming home and reuniting with his wife ask children. We’ve never seen anything like that before.

And obviously the surprise Medal of Freedom that the First Lady bestowed upon Rush Limbaugh, where he seemed rather shocked. I mean, this really is a true and full embrace of who this President is, which is somebody from the world of reality television. Where he was trying to have these moments for the American people to experience. And it worked on a lot of people.

BLITZER: I’m sure it will resonate with a lot of Americans out there. It was a little unusual, though, at the very beginning. Dana, you’ve covered Congress for a long time. As soon as he started, we heard a bunch of Republicans starting to chant “four more years, four more years.” Have you heard that in a State of the Union address before?

DANA BASH: Possibly. But I think that as much as this was – I think you’re absolutely right. A kind of authentic Donald Trump in the fact that he was putting on a show. And he wanted people to take away these moments.

(…)

TAPPER: Although, I will say, I mean, this is -- for a State of the Union address this was a full embrace of the fact that President Trump sees his are election as a base election. In other words, he needs to get Republicans --

BLITZER: His base clearly was there. You can see the Republican standing --

BASH: That’s what the Rush Limbaugh thing was also.

TAPPER: Rush Limbaugh and guns and religion and, I mean, it was a full embrace of really red meat Republican issues.

(…)

10:44:43 p.m. Eastern

TAPPER: It's just I thought the whole evening, with the few exceptions like the Tuskegee Airman and the soldier returning from Afghanistan, I thought the whole evening was pretty partisan on both sides.

President Trump gave a speech that was really not aimed in, for most of it, on uniting the room or the country. It was aimed at appealing to conservatives with red meat Republican issues. It included some things that were not true. He said at one point, “I’ve also made an ironclad pledge to American families we will protect patients with preexisting conditions that's a guarantee.” That’s just not factual. I mean, his administration has supported getting rid of those preexisting conditions.

(…)

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