NBC's attempt to avoid the pitfalls of the Donald Trump CNN town hall that was a contributing factor to the departure of CEO of CNN Worldwide Chris Licht does not appear to have panned out despite being taped and edited.
To some political observers, the new interview --where Trump talked over his questioner and received little pushback -- was yet another debacle that led American Enterprise Institute scholar and Atlantic contributor Norman Ornstein to declare it was a huge error in judgment.
According to Ornstein, "Oy. Trump says the Capitol Police testified against Nancy Pelosi, and then burned all the evidence. Lie upon lie upon lie. Unchallenged by Welker. Every word out of his mouth is a lie, and he talks over any questioner. Just a colossal mistake to showcase this sociopath."
After viewing clips from the "Meet the Press' interview, media critic Dan Froomkin complained, "In these clips, Trump utters about 30 different lies, and there's zero pushback from Kristen Welker, who instead calls him 'fired up' and 'defiant' – and 'the president.' This is, actually, worse than the CNN town hall in terms of normalizing a maniac."
Popular Sirius XM host Michelangelo Signorile chimed in with, "Even with a taped interview Welker lets Trump get away with calling Jack Smith 'deranged' and a 'lunatic.' That bullsh*t needs to be checked. She failed, and still let him push propaganda he repeats over and over."
"OMG. I just heard Kristen Welker tell viewers they can go to NBC’s website for a 'fact check' of the Trump interview. It would be better if Trump was fact checked live, directly to his face during the interview. But, no, too many anchors just don’t know how to do that. Shameful," Trump critic Victor Shi wrote before adding, "What we just saw is honestly an insult to viewers. If Trump can’t be fact checked live on air, during a one on one interview, then maybe that’s a sign that the person interviewing hasn’t done a good enough job preparing? I’m at a true loss of words for our media. Embarrassing."
Conservative Atlantic columnist Tom Nichols knocked a teaser for the interview by quoting new host Welker. He wrote: "'Fired up about a lot of these issues and is obviously trying to draw a sharp contrast with President Biden' and he really wants that UAW endorsement, and... Good Lord. Trump isn't 'trying to draw contrasts,' he tried to subvert the Constitution to stop Biden from taking office."
Political commentator Keith Olbermann singled out Welker, writing, "So here’s the boast @jparkABC deleted Now: @NBCNews - delete Kristen Welker’s @kwelkernbc ’s career as host of @MeetThePress Or at least: change the name of the show to more accurately reflect her work: @MeetTheStenographer."
Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger added, "Allowing Trump to lie on @MeetThePress and leaving 'fact checking' to the website is not how we should be treating a man who launched an insurrection. It’s 2023, we should have learned this lesson over 7 years. Ratings aren’t worth our democracy."
"Chris Licht always knew that someday he’d be vindicated. He just didn’t realize it would be so soon," wrote conservative lawyer George Conway.