On July 24, Meet the Press assembled a panel to discuss Donald Trump’s Thursday night speech at the Republican National Convention. The group, which included host Chuck Todd, Chris Matthews, Andrea Mitchell, and Michael Steele, was largely uncritical, and at times sympathetic toward the newly minted official GOP candidate. But the panel’s fifth member, Rachel Maddow, was having none of it.
The conversation starts with former RNC chair Steele observing that he thought Trump’s speech was “darker” when he read it than when he heard it delivered. Maddow disagrees, saying that she wanted to pull the covers over her face and hide when she heard Trump speak. She goes on to comment about the imagery of the scene, and how the candidate spent 76 minutes “screaming red-faced about terrorism, and death and destruction.”
Matthews, ever the apologist for anyone in a position of power, makes excuses for Trump, saying that he thought the problem was that Trump wasn’t used to reading a speech like that from a teleprompter. “It’s tough to read a script in a conversational manner,” he says.
Maddow isn’t buying what Matthews has to say. “But it takes an ego to turn a 30-minute script into a 78-minute rant,” she notes.
Andrea Mitchell agrees with Maddow, saying that Trump’s “language and delivery” has opened him up for comparisons to a dictator. Steele responds that a lot of Americans are searching for a “strong man,” who will take charge and get things done:
They’re looking for the ‘I,’ someone who is going to step forward as a leader, to get us through this mess.
Exactly what “this mess” is, Steele doesn’t say. It could be very easily argued that to the extent a “mess” exists, it is the fault of his Republican party.
“Is this about the hunger for a strong man, is that what you’re talking about?” Maddow asks. Steele replies that it is.
Rachel is not impressed. “We’ve seen this around the world, it’s not supposed to be us,” she says.
Matthews ignores Maddow’s comment and talks to Steele, saying that people want someone to come in and fix the economic problems “affecting the working people of this country.” Steele agrees, but neither of them explains how Donald Trump, who has famously said that wages are too high, plans to do that. Rachel also agrees that in some ways Trump’s message is similar to that of Bernie Sanders. But then she returns to her first, ignored, point:
The question is whether or not one man is supposed to deliver salvation for the country. We’re not supposed to be that kind of country.
We’re not supposed to be the kind of country that rejects refugees, that tortures our enemies, that refuses to help our allies unless we get paid. But that’s the kind of country that Donald Trump is promising, and a sizable segment of voters is eating up the message.
Listen to Rachel Maddow’s comments, via NBC News:
Featured image via NBC News screen capture