Chuck Todd: Can’t See Trump-Era as Anything But a ‘Failed Presidency’

News & Politics

During NBC’s Sunday Today, political director Chuck Todd made it clear the network had had it with the last four years and were ready to move on to a President Joe Biden, the man they supported for president. Aside from White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell beaming as she reported on how the Trump administration was being “boxed up and carried out,” Todd looked back at the last four years and chided the pre-COVID economic boom and foreign policy successes, called it all a failure.

With host Willie Geist teeing him up to talk about new poll numbers showing President Trump with solid support from his base, Todd immediately wrote off the last four years. “No. I mean, it really is — it’s one of his legacies. Right,” he said speaking out the poll. “Look, it is hard to look at this as anything other than a failed presidency when you look at particularly the coronavirus in the last year and obviously the violent ending to his presidency.”

According to Todd, the only successful thing about Trump’s time in office was the political movement he created around himself:

But his legacy also includes, sort of, the successful political movement he created. He has changed the Republican Party in his, sort of, his vision. He has bent the will of the party towards him. So, in that sense, he leaves the presidency more in charge of the Republican Party than when he entered the presidency.

And nothing else mattered. “Even as when you look at it just from accomplishments and what he did, it’s really hard to judge it by anything other than a failed presidency,” he chided.

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While Trump’s actions and the events of the last couple of weeks did taint his legacy and final days in office, there was a long list of accomplishments; even if Todd, a man who rents to Democrats, didn’t want to see them.

As noted by a list put out by the White House, the administration could brag about Operation Warp Speed which oversaw the fastest vaccine research and development ever. And before the coronavirus, “The unemployment rate reached 3.5 percent, the lowest in a half-century,” which included record low unemployment for many minority groups. Also, “The DOW closed above 20,000 for the first time in 2017 and topped 30,000 in 2020.” Plus, the tax cuts.

And aside from renegotiating the trade deal with Canada and Mexico (replacing NAFTA with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement), the Trump administration had other trade and foreign policy accomplishments like energy independence and getting our NATO allies to give more money to our mutual defense.

Just to name a few.

But Todd was more excited by the man he helped get elected:

You know, I’m a little more optimistic than most. I know that there is this feeling that “oh my God the gridlock, it’s a permanent sort of—it’s a permanent feature of Washington, D.C., the polarization.” But Joe Biden is — loves the United States Senate. This 50/50 Senate, the Capitol riots I think will create a temporary environment, I think, of at least public shows of collegiality.

“And Joe Biden is somebody that’s never going to give up trying to work with the Senate,” he boasted.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

NBC’s Sunday Today
January 17, 2021
8:08:23 a.m. Eastern

(…)

WILLIE GEIST: You’re going to roll out some new NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling this morning on Meet the Press. Suffice it to say that the President’s support remains virtually unchanged, even after the attack on the Capitol. It’s been one of the enduring storylines of this presidency. No matter what he does, no matter how bad it gets, his supporters are with him.

CHUCK TODD: No. I mean, it really is — it’s one of his legacies. Right? Look, it is hard to look at this as anything other than a failed presidency when you look at particularly the coronavirus in the last year and obviously the violent ending to his presidency.

But his legacy also includes, sort of, the successful political movement he created. He has changed the Republican Party in his, sort of, his vision. He has bent the will of the party towards him. So, in that sense, he leaves the presidency more in charge of the Republican Party than when he entered the presidency.

Even as when you look at it just from accomplishments and what he did, it’s really hard to judge it by anything other than a failed presidency. But politically, he is actually stronger today inside the Republican Party than he was when he entered office.

GEIST: Yeah, there really are some eye-popping numbers about his support and where the country is as he leaves office. Stay tuned for Meet the Press to see all of those.

So, let’s turn the corner now and look at the next president, Joe Biden, who on Wednesday at noon will be sworn into office as the 46th president. He’s got an ambitious agenda he just laid out this week, a $1.9 billion package of aid for the economy and to fight coronavirus. Where is he in terms of getting this stuff through the split Congress? It’s a 50/50 Senate, obviously. He has all those executive orders on day one. Is he going to get things done in Washington?

TODD: You know, I’m a little more optimistic than most. I know that there is this feeling that “oh my God the gridlock, it’s a permanent sort of—it’s a permanent feature of Washington, D.C., the polarization.”

But Joe Biden is — loves the United States Senate. This 50/50 Senate, the Capitol riots I think will create a temporary environment, I think, of at least public shows of collegiality. I do think you are going to have some two dozen Republican senators who are going to go out of their way to show that they want to attempt to work with the Biden administration in this first three or four months because of what happened on January 6th.

And so – And Joe Biden is somebody that’s never going to give up trying to work with the Senate. So look, on big stuff like COVID relief and maybe a big infrastructure bill this year, I actually think Biden can get some of this stuff passed. Look, as he gets farther into his presidency, it will get more political and it’ll get harder. But in this first six months, I’m — I think he’s – for instance, I think he’s going to find ten Republicans to get this – to get a large chunk of that $2 trillion plan passed.

(…)

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