Chuck Todd: How Is Trump Not Responsible for Samantha Bee's Tone?

June 1st, 2018 1:26 PM

On Sunday's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd assembled a Trump "playbook," and number three was “If accused of wrongdoing, use the ‘I'm rubber, you're glue’ defense, pinning anything you're accused of on your opponents.” 

On Thursday's MTP Daily, Todd tried that tactic to the letter. He said "there's no defending Samantha Bee," but then insisted President Trump is responsible for what Bee said about his daughter. Todd made it about him being called "Sleepy-Eyed Chuck Todd. "You can't help and say it starts at the top. He regularly berates and mocks the looks of any of us."

CHUCK TODD: Heidi, this is -- there's no defending Samantha Bee and yet it's hard to ever empathize with President Trump when they`re asking, you know, for empathy since he torches people all the time too. This is -- have we just -- where are we?

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, NBC: I feel like the whole comedic industry in the era of Trump is becoming something different than what the country needs right now. There's a lot of comedians are using it as a platform because so many young people get their news, for example, from the late-night shows. And they are angry. They are, you know, channeling that through their shows. A lot of what's happening is not funny and so it's become very ugly.

RAMESH PONNURU, NATIONAL REVIEW: A lot of what's happening in comedy is not funny either, if you ask me.

TODD: But at the end of the day, I mean, you know, it's like --how is it that the president is not responsible for this tone? You know, you can't help and say it starts at the top. He regularly berates and mocks the looks of any of us. I`ve been one. And so when he expresses, I can`t believe they said that about me, it`s hard to feel sorry for him.

PONNURU: I think that`s true. But I think it`s also true that the criticism of him doesn`t land to the extent that nobody in our culture is adhering to the old standards of civility.

TODD: No. Apparently only Donald Trump is allowed to cross a line. It is interesting to me. Everybody else in our society has been punished for things Donald Trump doesn't get punished for. Roseanne Barr, he has said statements that many people have found racist, he hasn`t paid a price. Roseanne Barr has paid a price.

He's used vile, awful, ugly language, he didn`t pay a price. Samantha Bee is paying a price. Everybody else pays a price for the same behavior, not him.

SHANE HARRIS, WASHINGTON POST: The White House's outrage would be more believable if it was consistent, which is not.

TODD: They have yet to condemn Roseanne's language.

HARRIS: Exactly. We are having echoes of Charlottesville again all over this, over a tweet from a sitcom star. And now Samantha Bee's comments is directed at a member of his family. Of course, he is going to respond to that. This isn`t a consistent level of outrage that you are hearing from --

PONNURU: Trump doesn't believe in neutral standards.

TODD: It goes back to what you said, it was a very good point.

PONNURU: Fake news is news that is unflattering to this president. It's not a question of a neutral standard of truth. If it's an attack on him, it`s offensive. If it's attack on his allies, it's offensive. Otherwise, everybody's fair game.

TODD: I feel like we're getting into unrecoverable territory.

Todd also complained "Every time we have a culture war fight, the president smiles, doesn't he? Like, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter." Ponnuru strangely replied "One of the great triumphs of the presidency for a large group of his supporters wasn't the tax cut. It was the NFL controversy."