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NBC Declares ‘Cloud of Impeachment is Shadowing’ Trump Overseas

On Wednesday, NBC became obsessed with the idea that “the cloud of impeachment is shadowing the President at the NATO summit,” so much so that the network repeatedly hyped seemingly innocuous comments from world leaders about President Trump running late to a meeting, citing it as evidence of “trash talk” and attempts to “mock” the U.S. leader.

“Breaking overnight, trash talk?,” co-host Savannah Guthrie posed at the top of the Today show. “World leaders at the NATO summit in London caught on a hot mic appearing to mock President Trump,” she claimed. A soundbite followed of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was recently embroiled in a blackface scandal, seeming to pass judgment on Trump’s lack of timeliness: “He was late because he takes a 40 minute – 40 minute press conference at the top.”

 

 

As the segment began minutes later, Guthrie asserted: “Meantime, the cloud of impeachment is shadowing the President at the NATO summit, where he’s meeting with other world leaders again this morning.”

Reporting from London, White House correspondent Kristen Welker eagerly declared the overseas trip to be a failure for Trump: “He was hoping that this NATO international summit would help him turn the page, at least temporarily, on impeachment. But this week has brought new controversies and new challenges for a president already under fire.”

After reiterating that the President was “aiming to deflect the impeachment headlines swirling around him by showing leadership on the world stage,” the reporter hyped a minor moment caught on camera at one of the summit meetings:

…this video went viral overnight, showing the leaders of Canada, France, and the U.K. appearing to discuss another leader. In one part of the exchange, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who met with Mr. Trump for over a half hour, seems to vent about someone’s tardiness.

Though she then even admitted that “It is unclear who Trudeau was talking about.”

Following the taped report, Welker breathlessly dramatized the supposed significance of the non-story:

But the takeaway here, Savannah, is that this video exposes the complicated relationship that President Trump has with some of these other world leaders. We don’t know exactly who they’re talking about, but we know that these optics are potentially problematic for President Trump. Remember, Savannah, he’s a president who has expressed concerns that the rest of the world is laughing at the U.S.

NBC was so enthralled by the notion that Trump squandered his time at the NATO summit that Welker actually appeared twice during NBC News special coverage of the impeachment hearing to claim the proceedings were harming the President on the world stage.

As the coverage began at 10:00 a.m. ET, Welker told NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt:

[Trump] wanted this NATO trip to essentially be a chance for him to show leadership on the world stage to try to turn the page, at least temporarily, from the intensifying impeachment hearings back at home. And yet, he’s been beset by new controversies….Now this comes after a stunning piece of video emerged overnight showing some of the President’s closest allies, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, the President of France Emmanuel Macron, the Prime Minister of the U.K., Boris Johnson, appearing to mock President Trump, although they didn’t mention him by name. But they talked about the fact that he took so many questions during their bilateral meetings with him that he essentially held up the day. They mocked him in other ways.

So just to clarify, a reporter was touting the fact that Trump may have been “mocked” by other world leaders because he took the time to answer questions from journalists? Isn’t that the kind of thing reporters usually want a president to do?

Welker repeated similar analysis during another break in the hearing during the 12:00 p.m. ET hour.

While NBC kept returning to what it thought was the story of day, MSNBC joined in, with the Morning Joe crew devoting an entire discussion to dissecting the alleged “mocking” of Trump.

Here is a transcript of the December 4 coverage on NBC’s Today show:

7:00 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Breaking overnight, trash talk? World leaders at the NATO summit in London caught on a hot mic appearing to mock President Trump.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: He was late because he takes a 40 minute – 40 minute press conference at the top.

GUTHRIE: The President once again clashing with U.S. allies on the world stage. We’re there live with the day ahead.

(…)

7:06 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Meantime, the cloud of impeachment is shadowing the President at the NATO summit, where he’s meeting with other world leaders again this morning. NBC’s Kristen Welker joins us with that part of the story from London. Kristen, good morning.

KRISTEN WELKER: Savannah, good morning to you. President Trump is wrapping up a busy two days here in London. He was hoping that this NATO international summit would help him turn the page, at least temporarily, on impeachment. But this week has brought new controversies and new challenges for a president already under fire.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trump’s Tense NATO Meetings; World Leaders Appear to Mock President on Camera]

On this 70th anniversary of NATO, President Trump is aiming to deflect the impeachment headlines swirling around him by showing leadership on the world stage. This morning, meeting with other leaders, touting the strength of their international alliance. Including British Prime minister Boris Johnson, who is facing a tough re-election bid, this on-camera greeting coming after a behind-closed-doors meeting overnight between the two leaders. Johnson deflecting questions earlier about why that meeting wasn’t more public. This morning, seeming to poke fun at the President, who was running late.

BORIS JOHNSON: How long? We’re taking the photograph live.

WELKER: Those comments coming after this video went viral overnight, showing the leaders of Canada, France, and the U.K. appearing to discuss another leader. In one part of the exchange, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who met with Mr. Trump for over a half hour, seems to vent about someone’s tardiness.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference.

WELKER: It is unclear who Trudeau was talking about.

(…)

7:09 AM ET

GUTHRIE: So some tense times there. Kristen, what about this video that surfaced overnight. Has the White House seen it, the President seen it, any reaction you’re hearing?

WELKER: No reaction yet, Savannah, from the White House or frankly from the governments of these other world leaders. We have reached out to both. But the takeaway here, Savannah, is that this video exposes the complicated relationship that President Trump has with some of these other world leaders. We don’t know exactly who they’re talking about, but we know that these optics are potentially problematic for President Trump. Remember, Savannah, he’s a president who has expressed concerns that the rest of the world is laughing at the U.S. So while we haven’t heard from the White House about this, President Trump will be holding a news conference and presumably weighing in about all of this later today.

(…)

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