NBC News did its best last Thursday to empty their thesaurus of positive traits to describe Joe Biden’s 2020 DNC speech, but when it came to President Trump Thursday night at the RNC, they were not only dispassionate about it, but the same individuals that raved over Biden’s speech seemed bored.
In the nearly three minutes of analysis, NBC’s hosts seemed unmoved Trump’s speech that offered “more of the same” that warned of “anarchy” in the streets, aimed to “just stop Joe Biden and own the libs.”
Last week, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt boasted that Biden’s “aspirational” and “uplifting” speech was “a fireside chat” trying to “buck up a nation that’s been through a lot.”
For Trump, Holt observed with a dismissive tone: “[T]here was talk over the last few weeks the Republicans were having trouble finding their talking point against Joe Biden. It's very clear now, it's — it’s anarchy. It's the fear in the suburbs, some of the same themes we heard the last couple of days being capsulized in that speech.”
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie went next and she states Trump spent his speech relitigating what the White House “say[s] are their accomplishments” and launching “a harsh attack on Joe Biden” while morphing into “the Trump we are used to seeing at rallies” the longer he went on.
But with the DNC and Biden, Guthrie was over the moon in telling viewers that Biden was “deeply optimistic,” “hopeful,” “plain spoken,” and “took on the tone at the end of almost a preacher at the pulpit.”
Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd hailed Biden’s DNC remarks as having closed “a really well-run convention” that “unified” the Democratic Party, but as with his colleagues, it felt like Todd had already packed his bags to drive home for the night.
With his time, he phoned it in by dubbing Trump’s speech one that was focused on “own[ing] the libs” instead of “articulating…what he’s for.”
Senior Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell chimed in last and griped that Trump didn’t offer anything new and instead had “more of the same.” For Mitchell, the biggest takeaway wasn’t what Trump said, but talking about the evening’s legality (i.e. the Hatch Act):
I think the most notable thing about tonight is the venue. The fact that he staged this large a gathering during a pandemic without masks, without social distancing in a sacred place, really. Historic landmark, the White House, a public place. Nothing like this has ever been done. It's of questionable legality and it certainly is going to raise many questions going into the future about how this could be done.
So if Mitchell was disinterested with Trump’s speech, she was in love with what Biden said. While reacting last week on NBC, she trumpeted her nearly 50 years of covering Biden to then brag that she’s “never seen him deliver a better speech” and one that was “all hopeful, upbeat,” and “optimistic.”
Picking up on Mitchell’s theme about Trump, Todd was despondent after Ivanka Trump introduced her father, declaring that “as sort of somebody who sort has reverence for all the Washington D.C. monuments that we have, this jarring to see, the White House star in a political advertisement like this, in that — in that way.”
NBC’s RNC coverage and poo-pooing of Trump’s speech was brought to you by advertisers such as Progressive. Follow the link to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant NBC transcript from August 27, click “expand.”
NBC Republican National Convention
August 27, 2020
10:24 pm. Eastern
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Chuck, you’ve seen a lot in your coverage of Washington, but we’ve —
CHUCK TODD: I —
GUTHRIE: have not ever seen a moment like this.
TODD: — no and I’ll admit — I’ll just be honest as sort of somebody who sort has reverence for all the Washington D.C. monuments that we have, this jarring to see, the White House star in a political advertisement like this, in that — in that way. I know what Donald Trump wanted and he’s getting what he wanted. That’s for sure. He wanted this crowd and he wanted it to be big.
11:35 p.m. Eastern
LESTER HOLT: In a moment that — probably the first thing we heard that felt like we were at a traditional convention, but this was not a traditional location, the White House, the President finishing up an hour and ten minutes of remarks. Savannah, there was talk over the last few weeks the Republicans were having trouble finding their talking point against Joe Biden. It's very clear now, it's — it’s anarchy. It's the fear in the suburbs, some of the same themes we heard the last couple of days being capsulized in that speech.
GUTHRIE: Well, this speech had a little bit of something for everyone. It was part a resuscitation of what they say are their accomplishments in the first four years — as we watch the fireworks over the national mall there spelling out the President's name to 2020 — also had a very harsh attack on Joe Biden. No question about that. But as the speech went on, as I turn to Chuck Todd and we watch this unfolding, Chuck, it was less the Trump we see at convention speeches or State of the Union speeches and got into the Trump we are used to seeing at rallies —
TODD: Well, it’s funny —
GUTHRIE: — ad-libbing and feeling loose.
TODD: — yeah, it's funny you say that. I thought it was either toned down, really Trump or upbeat, State of the Union Trump. The point is, you know, it felt like he was sort of vacillating between the two. There was times [sic] it felt like a State of the Union that was looking backwards. He was not telling you what he was going to do. He was resuscitating what he believes are his accomplishments. But I think the speech can be summed up in four words and it was something he ad-libbed, guys: We’re here and they are not. To me, this acceptance speech and his agenda was basically, his whole goal is to just stop Joe Biden and own the libs or own the, you know, stop the Democrats. This was an acceptance speech that felt about him articulating what he’s against more than what he’s for.
HOLT: And let me bring in Andrea Mitchell on that point. Andrea, did you get a sense of a broader understanding of — of what the plan would be for the next four years?
ANDREA MITCHELL: No, I did not. In truth, I — it seems as though it's more of the same and it's to take ownership, more to solidify his ownership, if you will. He’s always resented the fact that he lost the popular vote and now he’s got a challenging re-election bid, although there is certainly a path to re-election and he wants to cement a legacy, but I'm not sure what it is. I think the most notable thing about tonight is the venue. The fact that he staged this large a gathering during a pandemic without masks, without social distancing in a sacred place, really. Historic landmark, the White House, a public place. Nothing like this has ever been done. It's of questionable legality and it certainly is going to raise many questions going into the future about how this could be done.
HOLT: Indeed, a spectacle as the fireworks continue to go off.
11:41 p.m. Eastern
GUTHRIE: This is the conclusion of the Republican National Convention. The fireworks appeared to have stopped and the Trump family is gathered at the White House, listening to some music, a serenade. Don’t know that song. Do you that song, Lester.
HOLT: Ah, you put me on the spot.
GUTHRIE: [INAUDIBLE] Opera. It is opera. That we do know.
HOLT: Well, I know that.
GUTHRIE: That was as best as I could do. So with the conclusion of night four, the Republican Convention is over. The stage is now set for the campaign to come. Over the past two weeks, both parties, both tickets have had their say. Now the sprint to election day, November 3rd, just 68 days from now and mail-in voting starting in a matter of weeks in many, many states.
HOLT: And anyone's guess how things will play out in this unpredictable year. We’ll be here to cover it all for you, including those all-important debates scheduled for September and October. Need I say it? Fasten your seat belts.