NBC News veteran Tom Brokaw paid a rare compliment to President Trump on election night, saying the president was “very clever” to downplay the coronavirus pandemic in the final weeks of his campaign because Americans are eager to get back to work.
“You know, I’ve been covering presidential politics in this country since 1968. And I’ve seen a lot of changes. I have never seen the country as deeply and sharply divided as it is now and it’s the second cycle of this kind of division with President Trump surprising everybody the first time and, fair to say, surprising everyone a second time with his strong showing,” Brokaw said.
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“I think he made a very clever move in the last couple of weeks in which he said to the country, ‘Go back to work. It’s time to get the economy going again. COVID, we’re close to getting that solved so you can go back and earn some money and get your business going again,’” Brokaw continued. “I think it helped him a lot.”
The typically liberal newsman said that “people wanted to hear” Trump’s encouraging rhetoric about the coronavirus pandemic. While Brokaw doesn’t agree with Trump, he admitted that his campaign rhetoric was a smart political strategy.
“I think in the last couple of weeks that Trump made a very clever move by saying you can go back to work,” Brokaw said. “He’s dead wrong. COVID virus is going to get worse, not better.”
Brokaw also noted that Trump’s “law and order” agenda might have helped him on Election Day as many Americans are sick and tired of violent, anti-police protests.
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“There were a lot of White people who were supporting the Black demonstrators until the Black demonstrators kind of lost control and they were not just demonstrating anymore, they were going into streets and they were robbing stores and they were tipping over cars and it went on most of the summer,” Brokaw said.
“How much of that had to do with it I’m not sure. But it was a long way from Dr. King who was so successful with a program of nonviolence. So how that played into all of this, I don’t know.”
NBC News anchor Lester Holt quickly claimed that there was also a lot of “peaceful passion in the streets” and reminded viewers that Trump has not won the election despite Brokaw’s compliments.