The hosts at MSNBC got out the knives on Wednesday night, dismissing Donald Trump’s debate performance as like that of an “old man in the park feeding squirrels.” (And that was from the network’s official Republican representative.) Chris Matthews scored the debate a “win” for Hillary Clinton and Lawrence O’Donnell saw a “romp” for the Democrat.
Former John McCain operative Steve Schmidt declared, “[Trump] was incoherent again on national security issues. He was like an old man in the park feeding squirrels, arguing with himself on the question of — on the question of Mosul.”
O’Donnell praised the Democrat: “There just wasn't a moment that I saw in this debate where Donald Trump had an advantage over Hillary Clinton.... It was nothing but a romp by Hillary Clinton all the way through here.”
Nicolle Wallace raved of Clinton: “I’ve heard from Republicans tonight who also thought it was her best performance.” Matthews thought Trump did well, but still lost: “Best performance by Trump so far. But Hillary won. That's my thinking.”
A partial transcript is below:
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MSNBC’s post-election coverage
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Hillary talked about guns and gun control to protect toddlers. She talked about her work with children and families, everyone since Marian Wright Edelman. All the time she was talking to women on abortion rights, on guns, on every issue was talking to women in the suburbs, she never lost track of where the battleground is. Women in the suburbs. Trump was simply defending his turf among evangelicals and rural people, on guns, on abortion rights, on immigration. So, I think Hillary went after the disputed territory tonight, and I think she gained every time they had a conversation. So close debate. Best performance by Trump so far. But Hillary won. That's my thinking.
STEVE SCHMIDT: I think as you look at the end of the debate when he says, "You nasty woman," his anger is such--- And what we know from the first debate, what comes next from the
rounds of tweeting and the statements that will follow on this, and does it keep him moving in a trajectory that will continue the Republican slide in the polls? Certainly on the issue of immigration, he did himself no good in states like Arizona, in Nevada, in Georgia, in Texas, which is narrowing up. He was incoherent again on national security issues. He was like an old man in the park feeding squirrels, arguing with himself on the question of — on the question of Mosul.
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: There just wasn't a moment that I saw in this debate where Donald Trump had an advantage over Hillary Clinton. They have a disagreement on the Supreme Court, which was the very first issue brought up. That's a disagreement that most voters know about going io this debate. They both staked out their positions clearly on that. And then after that, it was nothing but a romp by Hillary Clinton all the way through here.
NICOLLE WALLACE: I’ve heard from Republicans tonight who also thought it was her best performance. He is getting better, but she is showing how much preparation enhances and helps tell the story of who she is. And I thought she started to make a turn tonight, started to talk about the kind of president she would be. And I thought I heard some things that what she might get done in the first 100 days. She might get immigration reform on the agenda. There are some Republicans who are talking privately about being willing to work with her. So, I just thought — He was better than he has ever been but he disqualified himself in that moment.