MSNBC host stands alone on network in criticizing Oval Office speech, but not for the reason you might think

Democrats gushed over President Joe Biden’s Oval Office address on Friday when the most divisive leader in modern history praised congressional Republicans on the bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling, but MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan took the opposite approach.

“My fellow Americans, when I ran for president I was told the days of bipartisanship were over, that Democrats and Republicans could no longer work together,” said the man who has spent over two years demonizing his political opposition. “But I refused to believe that because America can never give into that way of thinking.”

“Look, the only way American democracy can function is through compromise and consensus, and that’s what I work to do as your president… to forge bipartisan agreement where it’s possible and where it’s needed,” Biden added.

After the president laid it on thick, Hasan took to Twitter to critique the speech’s messaging with his main gripe being that Biden deviated from the sort of dehumanizing rhetoric that he has regularly used to attack Republicans, particularly supporters of former President Donald J. Trump.

“While it’s obviously great we are avoiding a default, this kind of Dem messaging is all wrong: it presents extremist House Republicans as some kind of agreeable moderates, and presents the outcome of a hostage negotiation as some sort of utopian bipartisan agreement,” Hasan tweeted.

Hasan also retweeted a similar sentiment expressed by a Democrat strategist suggesting that Biden had hurt the cause by going off script.

“No words. Commending the hostage takers for negotiating the ransom. Good faith?! What are we doing here?” Sawyer Hackett, the consultant wrote.

Hasan’s MSNBC colleagues swooned over dear leader’s kind words to Republicans who sucked it up and played ball on the debt ceiling but will likely soon be back in their usual positions as enemies of the state once Biden leans into his reelection campaign.

(Video: Grabien/MSNBC)

Lawrence O’Donnell who hosts the left-wing network’s “The Last Word” marveled at Biden’s conciliatory gesture toward his enemies.

“This sentence that we heard from the president: ‘I commend Speaker McCarthy.’ Just imagine the four years of the Trump presidency. Imagine a sentence that begins with ‘I commend Speaker…’ It’s inconceivable, and that line I think to the average viewer of this is the most important line, because you’re either with Biden on these policies before he opens his mouth or halfway with him on these policies before he opens his mouth, or you’re not,” he said.

“But on human decency, there is no comparison between the frontrunner for the Republican nomination and the person who just spoke, who will be the Democratic nominee,” the host added. “That’s the kind of language that that voter in the middle likes to hear, has lived with most of their lives with previous presidents, and it’s back. That basic human decency was back in the heart of that message.”

Host Alex Wagner said that the speech was Biden’s attempt to “burnish his resume as protector-in-chief,” a narrative that is as phony as the “moderate” label that he ran on in 2020.

“This was a set of remarks that were, yes, about bipartisanship… yes, the case for the Biden economy, but also Biden as a leader. Someone who cares about the American people,” she said.

“At one point in the set of remarks from the speech in the Oval, Biden says, ‘Our teams were able to get along. Both sides operated in good faith, both sides kept their word.’ That is a study in contrast of course to Trump but it is something you have not heard from a president in a long time,” she added.

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