In contrast to how they reacted to President Trump’s first address to Congress, NBC News was over the moon at President Biden’s remarks before a joint session, calling it a “remarkable speech” filled with a “very popular agenda” and given by a President who “rose to the moment that we were facing as a country” with supposedly little opposition from Republicans.
Nightly News anchor Lester Holt spoke first as the speech wrapped, saying it “covered, frankly, a lot of ground, but those themes near the end, the whole notion that democracy itself is being tested and the challenge that we can rise above it” with “very large initiatives” that “may ultimately prove very popular.”
Moments later, he gushed that when you go “down the list, I mean, [Biden] ticked virtually every issue.”
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie boasted that Biden “got philosophical,” while Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd said Biden “was quite comfortable” and it was bolstered by his assertion that “polling has shown there is an appetite for more government” and Americans will take that plunge for more spending.
Longtime NBC correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell was most enthusiastic, swooning over how Biden “was so passionate about human rights” and “talked about the soul of America and that was so passionate when he talked about the injustice of — the knee of injustice is on the neck of black America.”
Before her heart melted over Biden mingling with members of Congress, Mitchell called Biden’s remarks “a remarkable speech” bolstered by the fact that he “spoke about white supremacy being the real threat — the worst terror threat to America.”
Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt was similarly over the moon, crediting Biden for having “[risen] to the moment” with all “the experience he brought to the table” that’s now more “appreciated” by the American people.
And in that same vein, she used the minute fraction of Congress being in the room to claim Republicans aren’t strenuously objecting to his proposals (click “expand”):
This speech and being in this room could not have been a more stunning contrast this year than it was last year when former President Trump gave a raucous speech that was, in many ways, carefully produced for television and only briefly mentioned coronavirus. He said then he was working with China on coronavirus and in that year, covid has utterly changed our politics, our lives, what Americans care about. I think what you were discussing about the issues that President Biden hit on here and how people are needing to interact with their government has dramatically changed because of the realities that they face in their own lives and in many ways, President Biden rose to the moment that we were facing as a country and the experience he brought to the table was, in many way, perhaps more appreciated than it might have been had we not been facing such a dramatic crisis and I think the sense of urgency to do something like that is what is leading this White House to really push forward as Andrea said these very big plans.
[O]ne thing that stood out to me is that there was only one place in the speech where Republicans booed President Biden and it was in relation to HR-1, which deals with, in many ways, voting rights and that’s something that’s animated in the Republican base, especially after former President Trump’s false claims about the election, but the lack of vocal opposition from Republicans on the floor tonight. You do typically get many times where the opposing party will boo especially in more recent years on both sides of the aisle, depending on who has held the White House and that just didn’t really happen here, and I think that underscores in a colorful way, the political dynamics at play here, and that’s yet White House is pushing forward with these big initiatives and essentially daring Republicans to stand in the way of initiatives that are popular. And, you know, they seemed relatively reluctant to do so here tonight, Savannah.
After touting Biden as the anti-Bill Clinton from 1996 with his support for big government, White House correspondent Peter Alexander parroted White House’s belief that it was “strategic” to wait until the end of Biden’s first 100 days to give his speech so as to flaunt “some of his successes to this point, the shots in the arms, jobs, checks as well because he’s going to need all of that fuel going forward to try to accomplish this ambitious agenda.”
Fast-forward to after the Republican response from Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and NBC was less than enthused as they quickly pivoted back to Biden as if Scott never existed.
Responding to Guthrie’s observation that Scott went after Biden’s claims on unity, Holt griped it’s something we’ll “hear…more now as the country and both sides begin to absorb what the President laid out” before reiterating his belief that Biden’s liberal agenda could prove to be popular across the country.
Mitchell used the same playbook, complimenting Scott as “very authentic” and “appealing” to the GOP, but then knocked him as having supposedly lied about Biden’s infrastructure plan before going back to how Biden’s sold his plan as “a moment of patriotism.”
Continuing to leave Scott behind, Guthrie and MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle touted Biden’s so-called human infrastructure as an economic boon (click “expand”):
GUTHRIE: Stephanie, as mentioned, the Biden administration has proposed $6 trillion in new spending. About $2 trillion of it has passed. A relief act that of course, the Republicans said tonight had very little to do with covid relief and a lot to do with Democratic priorities, but that was all deficit spending. The — these other two proposals, he plans to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for it. Do the numbers work?
RUHLE: Well, do the numbers work? The question is going to be will the wealthy actually have to pay for it? You know, he was talking about companies that don’t pay taxes at all. We had 55 major corporations in the last year pay no taxes. So whether you’re going from 21 to 25 percent is somewhat irrelevant. Are you going to close the loopholes? And this idea that we’re going to tax the wealthiest Americans it’s a great idea, but time and again, we don’t see that happen. So Joe Biden has put forth a huge agenda that there are many, many items that a lot of people would like to have happen, but are we going to pay for it? Who’s going to pay for it? You said it before, he keeps going back to jobs, job, jobs.
RUHLE: He’s even comparing this when he talks about child care because child care, even when you might say how is this possibly infrastructure, it’s fundamental for parents to be able to afford to go back to work. Right now, we have over a million mothers that haven’t returned to work because we don’t have child care, because he is saying I’m going to invest over $200 billion to have more child care, pay those workers more money and perhaps most importantly, lower child care costs for low and middle income families. No more than seven percent of the income should go to child care and if you do something like that, there’s a good chance you’re going to put more and more Americans into the workforce and long term, Savannah, that will create economic prosperity.
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