NBC's Kristen Welker Presses DeSantis SIX Times to Condemn Trump 'Vermin' Talk

December 4th, 2023 8:04 AM

On Sunday, NBC Meet the Press host Kristen Welker displayed an interview taped on Saturday with Gov. Ron DeSantis. She repeatedly demanded the candidate denounce Donald Trump for his use of the term "vermin" to describe communists, fascists, and "radical left thugs" in America. She asked six times to try and force an answer, implying Trump sounded like a Nazi. DeSantis said he wasn't playing the media game on this.

Welker began the interview by repeatedly pressing DeSantis on staying in the race, like she was pressuring him to get out. If these networks are so concerned with Donald Trump, why would they press Trump's opponents to get out of the primaries before anyone has voted?

Welker began the V-talk with this: "You bring up former President Trump. So, let me ask you about the GOP front-runner. Mr. Trump is campaigning on the idea of retribution. He's promising to jail his political enemies, if he's reelected. He's also referred to some of his political opponents as 'vermin,' language that people, frankly, across the political spectrum, say hearkens back to Nazi Germany. Do you think that kind of language is presidential?"

DeSantis said "the issue is is why are you running? Are you running for your personal issues? Are you running for the American people's issues? And I'm running for the American people's issues." He said Trump shouldn't be running on revenge, but running to serve, and he also talked about ending weaponization of the government, starting with the Justice Department. Welker turned her volume knob to Eleven:

WELKER: Governor, as you know, DOJ officials would reject the idea that it has been weaponized. But let me ask you about my original question, the use of the word “vermin." Are you comfortable with that term? [2]

DeSANTIS: But, Kristen, just to be clear --

WELKER: But are you comfortable with that term, Governor? [3]

DeSANTIS: Let me – let me just say on the DOJ – Well, first of all, I'm responsible for my – what I say. And I say things differently. But on the DOJ and the FBI --

WELKER: But are you comfortable with that term? [4]

DeSANTIS: I mean, we have seen --

WELKER: Just on my question, though, Governor --

DeSANTIS: Excuse me. What I'm not – what I’m not comfortable with is FBI agents going after parents going to school board meetings. I'm not comfortable with DOJ, FBI working with tech companies to censor dissent...

The candidate is trying to make his case about the Biden DOJ, but Welker thinks she has to keep pounding away like she's Chuck Todd: 

WELKER:So do you condemn the use of the word “vermin?” [5]

DeSANTIS: Don't shoot yourself in the foot. Be focused. Be disciplined.

WELKER: Do you condemn the use of the word “vermin," then? [6]

DeSANTIS: I don't use the term. But what I don't do is play the media's game, where I'm asked to referee other people. He's responsible for his words. He's responsible for his conduct. I'm responsible for mine.

After Welker's performance, she turned to her panel of pundits for their analysis. Stephen Hayes of The Dispatch hit DeSantis for "how small he felt in response to those questions." Tim Alberta of The Atlantic said "He seemed defensive, jumpy in that interview. He almost gives the vibe of a guy who sort of knows that the end could be near."