MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace was already off the air during President Donald Trump’s rambling, ranting, campaign-style speech in the Rose Garden Tuesday. So, at the top of her Wednesday show, she read what The New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote about the press conference and the president’s long list of 8,300 words he fumbled his way through before taking questions.
“I was stopped in my tracks when I read those paragraphs in The New York Times and read them aloud to anybody who would listen to me last night,” said Wallace. “It is jarring, no matter what you think of Donald Trump, to read the coverage of him that sounds like that.”
Daily Beast political editor Sam Stein agreed, saying that what he found the most jarring was watching it happen in real-time.
“Yeah, I mean, it was jarring to watch it in real-time, honestly,” said Stein. “It was rambling. There was no cohesion to it. It was difficult to follow the actual point, other than sort of inferring that he’s really desperate to hold campaign events, can’t hold campaign events, and so turned the Rose Garden into a campaign event. so there were times where you sort of –”
“Can I stop you right there?” Wallace asked. “I worked on campaigns. That wasn’t — if that was a campaign event, it was a crumby one. I mean, that was neither a presidential address, worthy of the Rose Garden nor an effective political message. And I worry that in 10-20 years, they’re going to look back and say, ‘Why wasn’t the media allowed to say what they saw? What everyone saw?’ There’s something clearly wrong with his ability to process what the country is going through. I thought what was on display and what The Times tried to report and what Maggie seemed to live tweet in real-time is that he was surprised by his own attack lines? Is he being sent out there? I mean, what is your theory on what that was, Sam?”
Stein said that there is a theory that because he’s so pent up, angry and isolated, he desperately needed this Rose Garden event to speak in front of a crowd no matter how unsupportive they are.
“He also continues to have a great sense of self-worth about his own messaging capacity,” Stein continued. “And his ability to turn around his political fortunes. And so he goes out there, and he wants to riff. He wants to act like this is 2016 all over again and have those packed stadiums of people chanting ‘Make America Great Again.’ In reality, he’s the president. And the job comes with vastly different tasks and responsibilities. You know, we do need to step back and actually say what’s really going on. And it’s sort of a remarkable breakdown of some capacity that’s happening.”
He noted that at one point, Trump suggested that Democratic mayors were fine if jihadists came into their cities and blew everything up.
“If you think about that, that’s just insane,” said Stein. “And it just kind of passed by, because that’s just Trump being Trump at this point. But it’s legitimately insane. And this was done in the Rose Garden, which is what made it entirely different. But what also is happening is it’s taking place with the backdrop of an incredibly deadly pandemic that it’s very evident that the federal government has no control over and doesn’t really have much of a plan to get control over.”
See the full conversation below: