“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd became unhinged during an interview with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Sunday after President Trump called the MSNBC anchor a “sleepy-eyed son of a bitch” at a campaign rally.
In a bizarre fit, Todd, clearly upset by Trump’s remarks about him, accused the president of assailing freedom of the press and “praising authoritarian figures.”
“Last night he was praising authoritarian figures in China and North Korea, and encouraging boos of the American press. Does this mean this American president is no longer gonna be preaching about the values of freedom of the press and democracy around the world?” he asked the Treasury Secretary.
“Of course Trump supports freedom of the press,” Mnuchin said, adding, “that’s what we should be focused on, a week of policies.”
“If that’s what we should be focused on, then why can’t the president focus on it?” Todd asked.
Mnuchin said Trump was “very focused” on policy and suggested Todd should take Trump’s campaign rhetoric at face value.
“Would you call last night’s speech a ‘focused speech’ on that?” Todd asked.
“Chuck, you know I’ve been with the president in campaigns,” Mnuchin said. “You know he likes to put names on people. He did that through the entire presidential election, including all the Republicans that he beat. So these are campaign rally issues.”
Todd was not satisfied.
“So you’re saying that’s acceptable behavior for the rest of the administration too, or it’s just unique to him?” he asked.
Mnuchin said he was focused on the results of Trump’s policies rather than his campaign rhetoric.
“Again, Chuck, this is something that is at a campaign rally,” he responded. “The president likes making funny names … I think you should be focused on the policies.”
Todd then asked Mnuchin how he should explain Trump’s insult to his kids.
“When he uses vulgarities to talk about individuals, what are they supposed to tell their kids?” he asked.
“He is using these vulgarities in the context of a campaign rally,” Mnuchin replied. “Obviously, there were a lot of funny moments at that rally.”
“Yeah. They were hilarious,” Todd snapped.