NBC’s Today Show is spending time at the White House during the hours leading up to President Obama’s final State of the Union Address. As part of that visit, host Matt Lauer spent some time walking the halls and talking with the president.
The conversation, aired on Tuesday morning, covered a variety of topics and of course one of those was the upcoming election. When it comes to interviewers, Lauer is probably one of the better ones out there. But one question about Donald Trump was rather puzzling. Here’s how Lauer framed it:
You said there’s no existential threat facing us. That fear though is still incredibly real, and in some ways it’s driving the current presidential campaign. You’ve got a guy like Donald Trump, and others, who have recognized and identified that fear. And in some ways they’re running on it. Do you take responsibility for that? And the reason I ask it is, people said after eight years of George W. Bush in the White House, the American people were hungry for your message of hope and change. So after seven years of the Obama presidency do you feel that you’re responsible for a certain hunger out there for the message that Donald Trump is putting out?
That’s a pretty wordy way to ask the president if he feels any responsibility for the fact that the same xenophobes and racists who hate him are supporting Trump. Or to put it another way, does President Obama think it’s his fault that we now have a candidate, Trump, who is using a megaphone to say the same things that other Republicans have been saying in a whisper for years? That’s a question worthy of a Fox News idiot, Matt Lauer.
Of course as always, the president has the perfect answer for Lauer:
The message that Donald Trump’s putting out has had adherents a lot of times during the course of our history. You know, talk to me if he wins. Then we’ll have a conversation about how responsible I feel about it.
What an elegant way to say “I can’t believe you asked me a question that stupid.”
The media loves to talk about Trump, but the numbers suggest that President Obama has the right perspective on him. Trump is supported by a plurality of a minority. Last April, Pew Research reported that 39 percent of Americans identify as Republicans, or lean towards Republicans. Presently, Trump has the support of about 34 percent of that group, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Of course that doesn’t mean that Donald Trump can’t win, but it suggests that under current conditions, a Trump win is unlikely.
It’s also worth remembering that not a single vote has yet been cast for a presidential nominee. Remember, according to the early predictions from the pundits for the 2008 election, that year’s matchup was supposed to be between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.
Here’s President Obama’s conversation with Matt Lauer:
Featured image via Today Show screen capture