Media Pundits Call Out President Trump for "Divisive," "Militant" and "Dark" Speech
"I mean, there was a point there where it felt as if he almost was insulting every living president that was sitting next to him in very personal ways," said NBC News' Chuck Todd.
Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and Charlie Rose were among the media figures who had a few critiques of Donald Trump's Inauguration Day speech on Friday. On CBS, CNN and MSNBC, a number of hosts and pundits commented on the "dark" tone of the speech, criticizing Trump for not calling for unity in his first speech as president.
"I have to say, it was surprisingly divisive for an inaugural address," said Todd, adding that it was a challenge for Trump, who was elected "as an outsider." Todd added, "It is tough to be both a unifier and that populace carrier. He went with populism, and I think that it is going to play well with his folks, but that was not the type of inaugural address that was intended to bring this country together."
He continued, "America first. I mean there was a point there ... where it felt as if he almost was insulting every living president that was sitting next to him in very personal ways."
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow also commented on Trump's controversial use of "America First" language. “The America First Committee is something that means a specific thing in this country," said Maddow, referring to the anti-Semitic national organization that urged Americans to appease Hitler. "To repurpose it now, not that far down the historical path, it’s hard. It’s hard to hear.”
“It was militant and it was dark," added Maddow, before quoting different words Trump used. “The crime, the gangs, the drugs, this ‘American carnage,’ disrepair, decay. You can’t imagine the outgoing president giving a speech like that.”
CNN's Jake Tapper said he thought the speech was one of the most divisive in history, highlighting that Trump was going after the establishment amid a sea of Washington insiders on stage. CNN's John King called Trump a "populist" and "anti-establishment," while the network's Van Jones said that part of the speech could have been delivered by Bernie Sanders and highlighted that Trump didn't attack the press.
Over on CBS, Charlie Rose offered, "I thought this speech was call to arms rather than an appeal for unity. It was a populous message that got him to the presidency, tough language about eliminating the American carnage, talking about eliminating from the face of the Earth radical Islamic extremism. It was a call to arms."
Also on CBS, Gayle King said she was waiting for a more positive message from Trump. “We kept hearing it would be a speech about unity and healing. I kept waiting to hear something about unity and healing. That never came. I think that's very surprising.”
"I did not see any outreach either across the aisle or even to his own party," added Bob Schieffer. "I mean, he basically took the hide off everybody sitting on that platform telling him that politicians of Washington have prospered while the people out there have suffered and he said it's going to stop here and now." He continued, "I'm not quite sure I've ever heard any inauguration speech quite like this."