Nicolle Wallace, host of MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, appeared on NBC’s Late Night early Wednesday Eastern time to do what Wallace spends most of her life doing nowdays: Trump-bashing. At one point, Wallace suggested that by taking a Trump speech live, she would be “fire hosing” her viewers.
As he greeted the self-described “non-practicing Republican,” host Seth Meyers told her “we often talk about the same things on our show in slightly different ways.” By making that statement, Meyers effectively admitted that late night TV has become nothing more than an extension of anti-Trump cable television.
When asked by Meyers why she didn’t read aloud Trump’s tweets where he “attacked those four Congresswomen in a racist way,” Wallace responded: “We as a show have made a lot of choices about not repeating the most hateful things that come out of the White House.”
She went on to talk about how “having worked there, I think I’m particularly triggered by the use of the White House property, the White House lawn, the Press Secretary’s podium, for...for spewing hate speech, for spewing lies so we stopped airing Sarah Sanders’ briefings, we don’t take Donald Trump live.” According to Wallace, “we feel like we’re fire hosing our viewers by doing that.”
Meyers then asked Wallace why there is “some hesitation in the press and a ton of hesitation in the Republican Party to call those tweets racist” and so she responded: “You cannot look your children, your family members, anyone that doesn’t do what we do in the eye and say this is anything other than racism and when we stop calling black black, white white, up up, down down, he’s won.”
Channeling her inner Jim Acosta and April Ryan, Wallace suggested that Trump’s “racism out loud” will lead to violence: “I think there’s a lot of concern in Washington, growing concern, that someone’s going to get hurt.”
Wallace never specifically answered Meyers’s question about the “hesitation in the Republican Party to call those tweets racist” but she did complain that “their silence is almost as damaging to the country as Trump’s conduct.” Wallace also alleged that President Trump thinks “President Obama built the cages in which he now houses children.” Perhaps he thinks it because it’s true.
After calling President Trump a racist one last time, Wallace weighed in on the Democratic presidential debates, focusing on Washington Governor Jay Inslee, because she wanted to gush how he, to her delight, cited the President as the top national security threat facing the country.
As The Hill reported, CNN and MSNBC used the word “racist” more than 1,100 times to describe President Trump’s tweets directed at the so-called “squad” over the weekend. It looks like late night TV just cannot resist following their lead.
A transcript of Tuesday night’s edition of Late Night is below. Click “expand” to read more.
NBC's Late Night
01:18 a.m. Eastern
SETH MEYERS: Hello, how are you?
NICOLLE WALLACE: I’m great. How are you?
MEYERS: Good. It’s wonderful to have you back. We often talk about the same things on our show in slightly different ways.
WALLACE: You’re funny. I’m not.
MEYERS: You’re earlier in the day. You’ve got to get at it first, which I appreciate…
MEYERS: Because often, we can watch and have a good sense of what’s going on. You made a choice in talking about Donald Trump’s tweets that he fired off on Sunday not…to talk about the story and talk about how he attacked those four Congresswomen in a racist way, but not to read the tweets. Can you tell us how you came to that decision?
WALLACE: Well, we as a show have made a lot of choices about not repeating the most hateful things that come out of the White House. And having worked there, I think I’m particularly triggered by the use of the White House property, the White House lawn, the Press Secretary’s podium, for…for spewing hate speech, for spewing lies so we stopped airing Sarah Sanders’ briefings, we don’t take Donald Trump live. We feel like we’re fire hosing our viewers by doing that. We…we listen to it and turn it around as news and with these tweets, there was a way to cover the story, talk about what he did, describe it without rereading them; and he told the world last week that his strategy is to detonate stink bombs on Twitter and then watch all of us run around, you know, like maniacs so we thought, let’s not play into it, and I…you know, listen, everyone has to make their own choices. We all watch Trump…we all watch the same thing…
WALLACE: …And have very different reactions. For me sometimes, it’s a matter of self-preservation, not to repeat the most hideous things he does.
MEYERS: There obviously is some hesitation in the press and a ton of hesitation in the Republican Party to call those tweets racist. Where do you think that hesitation comes from and do you think…ultimately, do you think there’s a situation with…the Republicans are so all in now that to call this racist would, of course, question why they haven’t said it about anything yet, and would put them in a bad position for whatever next racist thing he does.
WALLACE: There is no explanation. There…you know, I have…I have a child. You…I mean, you cannot look your children, your family members, anyone that doesn’t do what we do in the eye and say this is anything other than racism and when we stop calling black black, white white, up up, down down, he’s won.
WALLACE: So, you have got to call it as you see it and…and…and, look, we might get it wrong sometimes but whatever that gut reaction to him is…and in this instance, it is textbook racism, and it’s racism on purpose. It’s racism out loud, and I think there’s a lot of concern in Washington, growing concern, that someone’s going to get hurt.
MEYERS: You…I…I wonder if you have this issue where…because certainly some Republicans are…have been going on television and making the case for why it wasn’t racist and…and…and sort of contorting themselves to explain it. Do you have trouble now booking Republicans to come on your show?
WALLACE: So, we made a round of calls yesterday, to see if any…
MEYERS: Just straight to voicemail?
WALLACE: We don’t even get that far but, you know, does anybody want to come on and…and…and, and attack or defend and we didn’t hear back from anybody. I obviously still talk to a lot of Republicans. I worked in the last Republican administration before this one and it’s…it’s…it’s searing. Their silence is almost as damaging to this country as Trump’s conduct.
MEYERS: And what about…do you still have sources within the White House? Or has…you know, because obviously, I don’t need to tell you, there’s been a fair share of turnover.
MEYERS: Are there…are there people there now that you still even know?
WALLACE: So, I still cover the executive branch and there are still people that return my calls in the executive branch. I’ll tell you. Their calls fall in one of three categories. “If I wasn’t here, it would have been worse.”
WALLACE: You know, the…the racist tweet would have been more racist or the…
MEYERS: Right. I’m a hero for…you have no…
WALLACE: “You have no idea how much worse it would be.”
WALLACE: Those…that’s one category of calls. The other category…and I get fewer of these because there are not very many people left. It used to be, “Well, you have no idea what a jerk, you know, X, Y, Z was. They’d attack each other.”
WALLACE: But now there are only, like, six people left and two of them are related to him so I don’t get as many of those calls.
WALLACE: And…and then the third is…is really…“He’s out of control, there’s nothing we can do about him, but we’re there to protect the country.” So, there are still people that call to convey really the first and third messages.
MEYERS: Are you hearing anything about where his head is at as…insofar as, like, what he thinks his re-election chances are? If that’s something that concerns him, if he has bigger concerns outside of re-election? What are you hearing?
WALLACE: So I talked to someone who spent some time with him recently, and he’s worried about Joe Biden. He thinks Joe Biden could chip away at his coalition. He thinks that President Obama built the cages in which he now houses children.
WALLACE: And he does not view his re-election as a foregone conclusion and I think that cuts both ways. You know, it’s…it’s a glimpse into a nanosecond of sanity. I mean, his re-election is not a foregone conclusion. Every one of the top-tier Democrats beat him in the head-to-heads. But I think he’s scarier with his back up against the wall so I think we’re in for a whole lot more of what we’ve seen this week
MEYERS: Yeah, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to calm down and focus.
WALLACE: He’s not going to pivot.
WALLACE: You know, like he…
MEYERS: I would say it’s nice, we’ve kind of given up on pivot.
WALLACE: I mean, I haven’t talked about it in, in, you know…
WALLACE: …two years.
MEYERS: People have a lot of trouble saying racism, but, man, they had no trouble saying pivot for the first year of this presidency
WALLACE: I mean, look, I’m glad you’re paying attention to that, because there is no…you…you leave Washington, and that’s racism. I mean, it…it speaks to the bubble that our politicians exist in, because whether you love him or hate him, he’s a racist.
MEYERS: You had to cover the Democratic debates in real time and obviously 20 people up there. Be honest, were there some who you maybe didn’t quite know who they were?
WALLACE: See, I feel like you got a leak.
WALLACE: I mean, yes!
WALLACE: I…I…I was the one host that night with pictures.
WALLACE: And…and…yes, I had pictures.
WALLACE: I don’t have…I mean, there was just so many!
MEYERS: Yeah. I noticed, because when I was watching you, you were…you stopped using names. And you were like, “I thought eyebrows was great.”
MEYERS: And I was like, “Wait a second.”
WALLACE: Well, okay, so as long as I’m…I’ve been outed, so the…so the two I couldn’t keep straight were Delaney and Inslee.
WALLACE: But I mean, Inslee had a moment, right?
WALLACE: So…so when they went around and…and I thought Chuck and…and Rachel and…and Savannah…I thought everyone was amazing at…at NBC, but that lightning round was so powerful when Chuck and Rachel asked them to say, you know, “One word, our biggest threat.” And then Inslee, who I will confess to having to…had study…
WALLACE: …on my picture card that Brian Williams kept nudging in front of me. I thought he had a real moment so I’ll never forget him again.
MEYERS: That’s great. But bad news for Delaney
WALLACE: If John Delaney were here, I'd be like, “And your name is, what do you do?” So…
MEYERS: Well, hopefully that….it won’t come that.
WALLACE: I’m a fan of having a lot. I don’t think it’s hurting them yet.
MEYERS: Yeah, I don’t mind it one more time, but then I want there to be fewer.
WALLACE: You’re ready for one.
MEYERS: Yeah. I’m just like…I, you know, because we go live. I don’t want to do it twice a week again.
MEYERS: Thanks so much for being back.
WALLACE: Thank you so much.
MEYERS: It’s so great to see you as always.
WALLACE: Thank you
MEYERS: Nicolle Wallace, everybody.