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NBC Decries Trump’s Tough Talk on Iran as ‘Latest International Incident’

NBC Decries Trump’s Tough Talk on Iran as ‘Latest International Incident’

On Monday morning, NBC’s Today show was aghast that President Trump would call out Iran for threatening the United States with war, labeling it his “latest international incident” and fearing the “escalating war of words.” ABC and CBS also covered the story, but at least acknowledged Iran stoking the tensions.  

“War of words. President Trump fires off an explosive tweet overnight in all caps, warning Iran’s leader to stop threatening the U.S. or else. What started the president’s latest international incident?,” proclaimed co-host Savannah Guthrie at the top of the NBC morning show. Minutes later, fellow co-host Hoda Kotb warned: “Also breaking overnight, an escalating war of words between President Trump and Iran. The president tweeting out a headline-grabbing threat in all caps.”

Blasting Trump for “unleashing a Twitter tirade” against the brutal authoritarian regime, correspondent Kristen Welker was particularly troubled by the president’s use of capitalization:

The president tweeting in all capital letters just before midnight, “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”  

The criticism of Trump in the coverage was far more hostile than how Welker described Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s anti-American comments that sparked the contentious exchange:

Mr. Trump’s fiery tweet appearing to come in response to Rouhani cautioning the U.S. against further retaliatory action towards his country, telling a group of diplomats the United States should avoid inciting Iranians against the government, saying, “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

Talking about starting “the mother of all wars” is simply “cautioning”?!

The reporter then mourned the end of the Iran nuclear deal: “The war of words coming just three weeks before the Trump administration is poised to reimpose sanctions suspended under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Trump pulling the U.S. out of that Obama- negotiated deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.”

Piling on to the bashing of the administration, Welker worried: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during a speech Sunday to a largely Iranian American audience in Simi Valley, California, launching his own harsh attack of Iran’s clerical and military rulers.” A soundbite followed of Pompeo declaring: “The level of corruption and wealth among Iranian leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than the government.”

At the top of ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos announced: “Overnight, the president launches an explosive rhetorical attack on Iran. An all-caps tweet threatening the nation with ‘consequences few throughout history have ever suffered before,’ after Iran issues a warning of its own.”

During a report minutes later, correspondent Terry Moran fretted over “the president taking to Twitter and to his caps lock key to issue a trademark Trumpian threat against the leadership of Iran.”

However, unlike the NBC coverage, Moran made it clear that Rouhani shared in the blame:

…the Iranian economy, which is – had not been strong for a long time, it is riddled by vast corruption and deeply inefficient and crippled by sanctions….There is tons of unemployment, the currency is collapsing and there’s – they’re under a great deal of pressure. That’s why Rouhani started this war of words. And I think, as others have found out, it’s a bad idea to start a war of words with this American president.

Leading off CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King reported: “President Trump fires off a late-night all-caps Twitter warning to the president of Iran, saying Tehran must never threaten the U.S. again. How a threat of knew U.S. sanctions against Iran brought strong words from both sides.”

Correspondent Major Garrett wrung his hands over Pompeo’s remarks: “In a scathing speech in California, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Tehran’s leadership of spreading violence across the Middle East and participating in widespread corruption.” However, the reporter explained: “Earlier Sunday, Rouhani threatened Mr. Trump, saying, ‘Don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret,’ and added that ‘Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.’”

At least ABC and CBS were able to honestly give viewers the full context of Trump’s comments as a reaction to Rouhani’s inflammatory rhetoric, while NBC tried to portray it as another scandal for the White House.

Here is a full transcript of the July 23 report on NBC’s Today:

7:04 AM ET

HODA KOTB: Also breaking overnight, an escalating war of words between President Trump and Iran. The president tweeting out a headline-grabbing threat in all caps. NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker has the latest on this. Hey, Kristen, good morning.

KRISTEN WELKER: Hey, Hoda, good morning to you. President Trump, who has been on defense over his handling of Russia, is trying to pivot to another foreign policy flashpoint, Iran. Overnight, Mr. Trump sending out that tweet in all caps, both explosive and unexpected. The president is drawing a line in the sand and appearing to dare that country’s president to cross it.

Overnight, President Trump unleashing a Twitter tirade, warning Iranian president Hassan Rouhani that if Iran threatens the U.S., it will face severe consequences. The president tweeting in all capital letters just before midnight, “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”  

Mr. Trump’s fiery tweet appearing to come in response to Rouhani cautioning the U.S. against further retaliatory action towards his country, telling a group of diplomats the United States should avoid inciting Iranians against the government, saying, “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

The war of words coming just three weeks before the Trump administration is poised to reimpose sanctions suspended under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Trump pulling the U.S. out of that Obama- negotiated deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.

DONALD TRUMP [MAY 8,2018]: We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.

WELKER: Bigger sanctions from the Trump administration, scheduled to take effect in November, are aimed at cutting off virtually all of Iran’s global oil market.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during a speech Sunday to a largely Iranian American audience in Simi Valley, California, launching his own harsh attack of Iran’s clerical and military rulers.

MIKE POMPEO: The level of corruption and wealth among Iranian leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than the government.

WELKER: The president’s threat to Iran reminiscent of his “fire and fury” comments directed at North Korea.

KOTB: And he’s not just tweeting about Iran, Kristen. He’s also tweeting about the Russia investigation. A lot going on, on that front, too.

WELKER: Oh, absolutely, Hoda. And amid criticism that he hasn’t been tough enough on Russia, President Trump is again lashing out at his predecessor, tweeting overnight, “So President Obama knew about Russia before the election. Why didn’t he do something about it? Because it’s all a big hoax.” But now that tweet is coming under scrutiny. The president’s assertion that Russian meddling is a hoax comes after the president spent last week trying to clean up comments that he made during his Helsinki summit with President Vladimir Putin in which Mr. Trump indicated he believed Putin’s denial of election meddling over U.S. intelligence agencies who pointed the finger squarely at the Russian leader.

The muddled messaging comes as the White House is planning a second Putin summit. Over the weekend, there were bipartisan calls for the president to take a much tougher line, Hoda and Savannah.

KOTB: Alright, Kristen Welker at the White House. Kristen, thank you.

GUTHRIE: One week later, we’re right back where we started.

Published at Mon, 23 Jul 2018 17:05:00 +0000