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NBC News’ Tom Brokaw broke character and paid President Donald Trump a compliment for his coronavirus messaging in the final stretch of his 2020 reelection campaign.
The veteran NBC journalist praised the president for a smart political strategy during the network’s election night coverage, saying Trump made a “very clever move” in downplaying the COVID-19 issue and giving Americans a more encouraging outlook heading into the final weeks of the race.
NBC News anchor Lester Holt may have later regretted it, but he asked Brokaw during the network’s 2020 election returns to “give us your observations of what we’re seeing — versus what a lot of the expectations were going into this night.”
“You know, I’ve been covering presidential politics in this country since 1968. And I’ve seen a lot of changes. I have never seen the country as deeply and sharply divided as it is now and it’s the second cycle of this kind of division with President Trump surprising everybody the first time and, fair to say, surprising everyone a second time with his strong showing,” Brokaw replied.
(Source: NBC News via MRC)
“I think he made a very clever move in the last couple of weeks in which he said to the country, ‘Go back to work. It’s time to get the economy going again. COVID, we’re close to getting that solved so you can go back and earn some money and get your business going again,’” the 80-year-old former news anchor continued. “I think it helped him a lot.”
Trump’s more optimistic rhetoric on the pandemic was something that “people wanted to hear,” the liberal newsman, who has openly called out the president on other occasions, noted.
“I think in the last couple of weeks that Trump made a very clever move by saying you can go back to work,” Brokaw said. “He’s dead wrong. COVID virus is going to get worse, not better.”
He then targeted the anti-police protests and the Black Lives Matter movement as he contended that many protest-weary Americans welcomed Trump’s message of “law and order” which may have helped him secure some election victories.
“There were a lot of White people who were supporting the Black demonstrators until the Black demonstrators kind of lost control and they were not just demonstrating anymore, they were going into streets and they were robbing stores and they were tipping over cars and it went on most of the summer,” he noted.
“How much of that had to do with it I’m not sure. But it was a long way from Dr. King who was so successful with a program of nonviolence. So how that played into all of this, I don’t know,” he added.
Holt attempted to throw cold water on Brokaw’s compliment, and noted that there was also “peaceful passion in the streets.”
“All of — yeah, we are confronting a lot. And of course, a lot of peaceful passion in the streets. Tom, thanks,” the NBC News anchor said. “And we should note that while some important things have gone Donald Trump’s way, this is — we are not — no one is near 270 right now, so a lot to cover here.”
Earlier this year, Brokaw sparked an outcry when he dared offer “credit where it is due” for Trump when he expressed empathy for victims of the pandemic. After spending a few tweets coitizing Trump’s handling of the virus back in early May, he acknowledged the president’s remarks in a follow-up tweet that earned him plenty of backlash from liberals.