MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd had a near meltdown with a Republic guest during his January 6. Anniversary broadcast.
In an interview that started out cordial enough, Todd got visibly angry on-air with his Republican guest Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y, because of Reed’s continued support of Trump.
As the segment began, Todd complimented Reed for being only 60 House Republicans who weren’t on the January 6 commission who had accepted his invitation to speak on “MTP Daily.”
Reed, who is retiring at the end of the year, said it was incumbent on both sides of the aisle to lead and “rightfully condemn” the sort of extremism on display when pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building and disrupted the official certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.
Earlier in the day, Biden blasted Trump in a speech commemorating the anniversary of the riot for spreading a “web of lies,” while Trump reiterated his rigged election claims and said Biden was further dividing the country.
As Todd pointed to efforts by Trump to overturn the election results, Reed correctly responded that the “74 million people” who voted for Trump were not the ones who stormed the building.
“What happened was a vocal minority of extremists took it into their own thought process and power to do what they did, and to me, that is what has to be objected to,” he said. “And what has to happen is we have to stand up to it on the right, and you have to have leaders that will stand up to it on the left.”
Todd, who has often been criticized by progressives for not being “left” enough on the clearly left-leaning network, asked Reed if he regretted co-chairing Trump’s presidential campaign. When Reed said he didn’t, Todd heatedly asked, “Why?”
“I don’t, because he brought the disruption to Washington, D.C., that needs to be brought. Washington, D.C., the establishment, and the status quo needs to be disrupted,” Reed said, adding he disagreed with some of Trump’s rhetoric and actions.
Todd Takes Things Up a Notch
Then things got hotter. “Are you willing to hand the keys to the democracy to this man again?” Todd asked.
Reed then told Todd that if Trump was the Republican nominee again in 2024, he would “support him,” leading an incredulous Todd to quote Trump’s statement Thursday following Biden’s blistering address.
“He’s calling the 2020 election a crime. Do you believe it was a crime?” Todd asked.
“Chuck, that will be part of the process. If he’s elected, he’s going to have to go through the primary process, and the Republican Party will put its standard-bearer onto the line. I believe at the end of the day, we’re going to have enough voices in that conversation that that type of rhetoric will be held to account, and I think that will discount the ability for an individual to be the standard-bearer for the Republican Party,” Reed said.
Becoming noticeably increasingly exasperated, Todd said Reed sounded like Republicans who are “afraid” of telling their supporters Trump was lying about the 2020 election.
“I will be very clear with you, Chuck,” he said. “I believe the election in 2020 was a duly held election, the results were duly certified, and the challenges of fraud were given an opportunity to be vetted, and I will tell you that this big lie type of representation I disagree with, and I’m saying that right now, but that doesn’t mean you go forward and not look at the next election in a way that says we need to learn from 2020. And so in 2024, Republicans are just as good at getting their vote to the ballot box as the Democrats are, so we have a fair shake in 2024 on an even playing field.”
Pressed by Todd on what he meant by “fair,” Reed reiterated 2020 was a fair election but claimed the rule changes implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic played into Democrats’ hands, and they were more effective in getting out their voters.
And that was when Todd lost it.
“It sounds like you’re trying to put an asterisk on the 2020 election, which only feeds this conspiracy nonsense that is wrecking this country,” Todd said quite loud and angrily. “Why did we have what we had here a year ago was this conspiratorial nonsense that leads people to the idea that there was something to this. There was nothing to this.”
“It’s not conspiracy. They control the state legislatures, they changed the rules legally,” Reed said. “So it was a legal, fair election. However, that doesn’t mean the rules weren’t maximized by one party over the other party,” Reed countered.
Only somewhat regaining his composure, Todd then said, “Does it bother you at all that the Republican Party is no longer a conservative party but a cult of personality right now?”
“I mean, I disagree with that assessment … I still believe in the Republican Party. The ideology of the Republican Party is still strong,” Reed said. “It’s a Republican Party that I believe in and that philosophy is what’s going to see America through, through the future, and I still believe America is a center-right country.”