Chuck Todd: ‘Panicked’ Trump a ‘One Step Backward Instigator’ on Corona

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Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd continued his Corona crisis feud with Donald Trump on Sunday, deriding the President as “panicked” and a “one step backward instigator” when it comes to the virus. Appearing on the Today show, the NBC journalist opined, “I think he just wants to be seen as the one leading the response. I think that's why he's gravitated to these. But at the end of the day, the federal response feels like it's two steps forward and then the President participates and he's a singular one step backward instigator.”

Todd dismissed the fact that the President is even having briefings as nothing more than a bid to get publicity: “He wants to be the singular point person on everything if that is where the light is shining brightest, and right now those coronavirus virus daily briefings is where the light is shining brightest.” (Reminder: In the past, journalists were upset at Trump for NOT having a daily briefing.)

 

 

Today host Willie Geist wondered how Trump is handling this “privately.” Without offering any sources, Todd described a “panicked” Trump only concerned about reelection.

Not very well at all. He's panicked about it. He's constantly looking for a miracle answer to this. You know, that's why early on he kept saying you know, you'd hear about well, “this thing will burn out when spring turns to summer.” He's constantly hoping that there is some miracle around the corner that sort of erases this whole thing. I mean, he had this whole -- and obviously it's all tied into his reelection. He viewed the stock market and the economy as basically his lifeline to getting reelected. That has been totally obliterated by this crisis. Now he knows he's going to be judged on how he handles this. I think he's not prepared for that kind of campaign yet. And so as with everything he does, he makes it about himself, and I think that's where he finds himself, creates more problems for himself than he needs to.

On Friday, Todd hinted that the “pressure is getting to Trump,” sending him off the rails. Of course, as a NewsBusters FLASHBACK noted on Saturday, the NBC journalist still maintains that his show “has no point of view.”

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.

Sunday Today

3/22/2020

WILLIE GEIST: Chuck Todd is our political director and moderator of Meet the Press. Good morning. Good to see you. The president has been leading the daily briefings every day. We'll get another one today. You have Vice President Pence and the various doctors, Dr. Birx and Fauci up there as well. The President has been engaged in this sort of ping-pong that we watched where he makes a claim, says something has been cleared by the FDA or says this drug works or says “I haven't heard about people not being able to get tests.” Then Dr. Birx or Fauci steps to the podium and gently rebuts what the President had just said. What does the President view as his role right now? How does he see himself in all of this?

CHUCK TODD: That's a great question. I think he just wants to be seen as the one leading the response. I think that's why he's gravitated to these. But at the end of the day, the federal response feels like it's two steps forward and then the President participates and he's a singular one step backward instigator sometimes when it comes to the confusion that gets there when it comes to medical treatment, confusion over the Defense Production Act. I mean, he invoked it. He's using it, not using it. There's confusion on that. And so it's -- look, it's been like with everything with President Trump. He wants to be the singular point person on everything if that is where the light is shining brightest, and right now those coronavirus virus daily briefings is where the light is shining brightest.

GEIST: Chuck, we’ve seen a bunch of reporting, especially from the Washington Post that the President got warning signs early in January and February and sort of ignored them and was trying to project confidence publicly. The country is very anxious right now. There’s no getting around it. Go to any house. Talk to any friend. How is the President, from people you talked to behind the scenes, handling this privately? How is the President, from people you have talked to behind the scenes, how is he handling this privately?

TODD: Not very well at all. He's panicked about it. He's constantly looking for a miracle answer to this. You know, that's why early on he kept saying you know, you'd hear about well, “this thing will burn out when spring turns to summer.” He's constantly hoping that there is some miracle around the corner that sort of erases this whole thing. I mean, he had this whole -- and obviously it's all tied into his reelection. He viewed the stock market and the economy as basically his lifeline to getting reelected. That has been totally obliterated by this crisis. Now he knows he's going to be judged on how he handles this. I think he's not prepared for that kind of campaign yet. And so as with everything he does, he makes it about himself, and I think that's where he finds himself, creates more problems for himself than he needs to.

GEIST: Yeah, he said once this will sort of magically disappear. Perhaps some wishful thinking on his part. Chuck Todd, thank you as always.

 

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