In late May, President Donald Trump shocked many when he rejected the assessments of his own administration and U.S. allies about recent North Korean violations of United Nations resolutions regarding its ballistic missile program. In response to Trump’s support for the “very smart man” in Pyongyang, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd offered a novel theory to explain Trump’s impunity in offering rhetorical aid and comfort to the enemy.
“I do think if the president thought there was a penalty to pay from even his own favorite channel, perhaps he would have curtailed his behavior, but they enable him too, they celebrate this now.”
Yet less than a month later, Todd himself proved that Trump need not fear paying a penalty on Meet the Press, either. During his catastrophic June 23 interview with the president, Chuck Todd was unprepared and spineless, letting Trump spew uninterrupted and unchallenged obvious falsehoods about the tension with Tehran, the Iran nuclear deal, his family separation policy, Obamacare, mythical voter fraud in 2016, and so much more. Writing in the Washington Post, a horrified Jennifer Rubin warned, “Trump’s lies need to be exposed in real time.” And as an astonished Aaron Rupar of Vox summed up Todd’s pathetic performance:
At numerous points throughout the interview, Todd let Trump get away with blatant falsehoods and gaslighting. Todd also teed up a number of softball questions for the president, like “Do you think you’ve been more successful in business or the presidency?” and “Do you speak to any of the former presidents?”
As it turns out, no one should be more disappointed in the Meet the Press host’s disastrous display than Chuck Todd himself. After all, it was only last September that Todd had his “mad as hell/not going to take anymore” moment on the pages of The Atlantic. Decrying “the campaign to destroy the legitimacy of the American news media” and the press’s failure “to defend our work in real time from this onslaught.”