Things don’t really change when it comes to protecting Democratic presidents. At least not on NBC. This week saw Russia invade Ukraine just over a month after Joe Biden gave the green light by saying a “minor incursion” was no big deal. In 2014, Russia invade Crimea and the not-yet-disgraced Matt Lauer chided private citizen Donald Trump for calling the President weak.
On March 13, 2014, Trump appeared to promote the Miss USA pageant, but Lauer was agitated by Trump’s critique of Obama: “You've been critical of the President and his handling of the situation with Ukraine and Crimea.”
He continued, “I think you said, I'm paraphrasing here, but basically Putin was playing with or toying with Obama. That is kind of a common refrain of yours....You always think that Obama is being weak.”
Lauer demanded, “What would you have done differently than he did in the days before Russian troops went into Crimea?”
Regarding Russia, media outlets in 2012 mocked then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for calling the country “our number one geopolitical foe.” They cheered Obama for saying that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”
For more examples from our FLASHBACK series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.
Here is a transcript of the March 13, 2014 exchange. Click "expand" to read more.
8:35 AM ET
MATT LAUER: Speaking of Russia.
DONALD TRUMP: Yes.
LAUER: Okay, you've been critical of the President and his handling of the situation with Ukraine and Crimea. I think you said, I'm paraphrasing here, but basically Putin was playing with or toying with Obama. That is kind of a common refrain of yours, I should mention. You always think that-
DONALD TRUMP: Well, and a lot of other people.
LAUER: But you always think that Obama is being weak. What would you have done differently than he did in the days before Russian troops went into Crimea?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, it should have never happened.
LAUER: But what would you have done immediately?
TRUMP: No, no. It should have never happened. If you're the president, that doesn't happen and it's not a big surprise. I mean, it should have worked so that a thing like that doesn't happen.
With all of that being said, it's their next door neighbor, it's like them coming and stopping us from doing something with Mexico. Okay, you know? It's their next door neighbor.
But we should definitely be strong. We should definitely do sanctions. And we have to show some strength. I mean, Putin has eaten Obama's lunch, therefore our lunch, for a long period of time. And I just hope that Obama, who's not looking too good, doesn't do something very foolish and very stupid to show his manhood. I just hope that doesn't happen.
TAMRON HALL: Okay, let's talk about your political career. All the rumors swirling around whether you're going to run for governor of New York. The announcement, I think, is sometime later this week, but obviously you're here now. You broke the news about [the Miss USA Pageant being held in] Baton Rouge. Why not tell us now if you plan to run for governor?
TRUMP: Well, I'm just, I'm thinking about it, it's not high on my mind.
HALL: But you've been thinking about it for a while, right?
TRUMP: No, no. The Republican leaders came to see me. They want me to run so badly and I think I'd win if you want to know the truth.
HALL: Do you want to run in your heart?
TRUMP: I will be able to say very soon, they have to unify the party. The Republican Party in New York is a mess. They haven't won an election against the Democrats in many years. And I said, "If you unify the party, I would do it." They are not able to unify the party. But if they did-
HALL: But some people think unifying means you want them to anoint you as the only choice.
TRUMP: You want the truth? That's true.
TRUMP: Okay? That's absolutely true. I wouldn't want to go through primaries and waste a lot of time, effort, and money. But this is an election that can be won. New York has a lot of problems, including it has the highest taxes of any place in the United States, and I think it can be won.
LAUER: Make your announcement soon. Erin, I'll vote for you if you want to run, by the way.
HALL: Yes, Erin.
ERIN BRADY [MISS USA]: Thank you. Maybe that will be in my future, who knows?
LAUER: There you go.
HALL: We see it. I love it.
LAUER: Donald Trump, Miss USA Erin Brady, thanks to both of you. And again, you can see the 2014 Miss USA competition June 8th, 8/7 Central Time, right here on NBC.