While filling in for co-host Matt Lauer on Friday’s NBC Today, Nightly News anchor Lester Holt laughably claimed that the liberal New York elite at Thursday night’s Al Smith dinner should have been a friendly audience for Donald Trump. Noting how they jeered the Republican nominee’s address at the charity event, a baffled Holt declared: “He got booed. And not only did he get booed, but in a room where a lot of what you consider his crowd was.”
MSNBC anchor Steve Kornacki agreed: “Absolutely, I mean, you’ve got a lot of sort of wealthy, you know, people who might be Republicans traditionally.”
The Hill’s Joe Concha, who attended the dinner, called out the media for uniformly pushing the narrative that Trump lost the night. He also explained the reality of how hostile the crowd actually was to the GOP candidate:
What won't be mentioned is the context: Republicans — especially those named Trump — aren't popular in New York and certainly with the wine and cheese crowd at the Waldorf last night. And even Clinton got some boos and awkward reactions. Oh, and the event raised $6 million for needy children, an all-time record.
Microcosm: Coverage of Thursday night's event is a classic example of why there's a serious trust issue with the press these days.
Here you have an example of Trump making remarks to an audience comprised of Manhattan's crème de la crème — many tickets were $3000 each at face value — and the national media that's based there, from which we'll say generously Clinton wins 80 percent of the vote.
A recent poll shows Trump down 21 points in his home state of New York. The same poll has him down 70-18 in New York City. Of course he got booed.
This New York Times headline explains why:
Donald Trump Heckled by New York Elite at Charity Dinner
"New York Elite."
If there's one group the Trump brand doesn't appeal to, it's the elite — with a close second being the other "e" word: "establishment."
The panel discussion on Today did briefly touch on negative reaction to Hillary Clinton’s performance, with Kornacki observing: “...these are the two least liked candidates we’ve ever seen and Trump is probably more disliked than Clinton – I think you saw sort of that on display last night....I think both of them – it just didn't have the spirit that, that event traditionally has.” Co-host Savannah Guthrie concluded: “Seems like the crowd was really not with either one of them.”
Here is a transcript of the October 21 segment:
7:07 AM ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Nicolle Wallace and Steve Kornacki are with us. They shook hands right before this live shot.
NICOLLE WALLACE: And we hugged.
GUTHRIE: Well, if we weren’t sad before, I mean, we can be officially depressed even a charity dinner to benefit Catholic Charities, it devolves a little bit. I don't want to make too much of it, but it is interesting to see the dynamic there, Nicolle.
WALLACE: Yeah, you know, listen, the last two Republicans who lost used this dinner in a very different way, they used it to sort of restore their personal credibility. And comedy isn't easy, but it's simple. You make fun of yourself. And I talked to one senior Trump advisor, who said – I said, “Why did he bomb so badly?” He said, “Well, it was bad, but there are not a lot of funny people at Trump Tower.”
LESTER HOLT: Steve, these are two individuals that are not extremely likable, according to the polls. Did they do themselves any favors last night?
STEVE KORNACKI: Honestly, I thought that whole likability issue that we’re talking about – where these are the two least liked candidates we’ve ever seen and Trump is probably more disliked than Clinton – I think you saw sort of that on display last night. The delivery – these jokes, you know, they’re supposed to sort of strike this balance between, you know, being humorous, taking some shots at the other side, but being good spirited. The delivery, I think, from both of them, it had a mean edge to it. I think it was worse with Trump, he got booed.
HOLT: He got booed. And not only did he get booed, but in a room where a lot of what you consider his crowd was.
KORNACKI: Absolutely, I mean, you’ve got a lot of sort of wealthy, you know, people who might be Republicans traditionally. But the delivery, it just – his punch lines were mean. Her punch lines, I think, read a different way, might not have sounded quite as mean. But I think both of them – it just didn't have the spirit that, that event traditionally has.
GUTHRIE: Seems like the crowd was really not with either one of them.