While President Donald Trump focused on answering voter questions at his NBC News town hall in Miami on Thursday night, “Today Show” co-anchor and town hall moderator Savannah Guthrie decided her words were better.
While many of the voters asked carefully crafted questions that were focused on Trump’s policy stances concerning hot topics such as COVID-19 and the pandemic, the economy, Obamacare, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Roe v. Wade, and immigration, Guthrie took it upon herself to interrupt and even steer the question in a different direction.
One example is when a “pro-life millennial” voter asked Trump about protections for mothers with high-risk pregnancies if Roe v. Wade was overturned. Instead of accepting Trump’s answer about the issue, Guthrie chose to press him on Roe v. Wade, asking if he wants to see it overturned.
“I would like to see a brilliant jurist, a brilliant person who has done this in great depth and has actually studied this issue for a long time, make a decision, and that’s why I chose [Barrett],” Trump replied.
Even though Guthrie asked Trump multiple questions at the beginning of the event about his health and his administration’s handling of the pandemic for 20 minutes uninterrupted, Guthrie still hijacked the rest of the town hall by inserting herself while Trump was still answering voters’ questions.
At one point, Guthrie even publicly insulted Trump, saying “you’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.”
In contrast, during Biden’s NBC town hall in early October, moderator and host Lester Holt only asked Biden clarifying questions three times after voters began asking their questions.
While the eager voters, a mix between Trump supporters, Biden supporters, and true undecideds, stood by politely and waited for Trump’s answer to their questions, Guthrie became visibly and audibly flustered with Trump every time she worked another interruption into his answer.
“Savannah, Savannah, we are on the same side,” Trump replied, at one point, attempting to calm her down.
Unsurprisingly, The New York Times praised Guthrie’s interruptions, claiming that her “quick-paced, conversational questions [sic] managed to put him on the spot and reveal his evasions in a way that few others have managed.”
Savannah Guthrie peppered President Trump during Thursday's town hall with a series of quick-paced, conversational questions that managed to put him on the spot and reveal his evasions in a way that few others have managed. https://t.co/lhq3SANuHy
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 16, 2020
The problem? She wasn’t the one who was supposed to ask the questions. Instead of keeping the focus on the voters who crafted their questions to help inform their voting decisions, Guthrie wedged herself into Trump’s answers to keep her agenda front and center, pressing on issues Trump previously addressed such as his tax returns.
While many complained about Fox News’ Chris Wallace as a debate moderator due to his poor questioning and inability to recognize his own bias against Trump, some argue that Guthrie’s Thursday hysterics proved far worse.
Guthrie is way off script. NBC producers in hall grumbling. Making it all about herself.
— AmericaFest Poso (@JackPosobiec) October 16, 2020
"OH MY GOSH SHUT UP!" — Me, just now, at the top of my lungs after Savannah Guthrie's latest interruption. Am I alone here?
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) October 16, 2020
Guthrie’s performance here shows there is difference between being aggressive and being undisciplined.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) October 16, 2020
i'm glad trump agreed to another debate. didn't realize it would be with Savannah Guthrie.
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) October 16, 2020
The Trump campaign also recognized Guthrie’s hostility, but released a statement saying Trump “masterfully handled [her] attacks].”
“Even though the commission canceled the in-person debate that could have happened tonight, one occurred anyway, and President Trump soundly defeated NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in her role as debate opponent and Joe Biden surrogate,” Trump 2020 Communications Director Tim Murtaugh said.