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TV Anchors Take Wary View of Trump Inauguration Speech

Variety logo Variety 1/20/2017 Brian Steinberg

From Fox News to CBS, a bevy of popular TV-news anchors expressed surprise and even discomfort after hearing President Donald J. Trump’s forceful inaugural speech on Friday.

Speaking on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow said the address was “militant” and “dark,” while Charlie Rose, holding forth on CBS noted, “I thought this speech was call to arms rather than an appeal for unity.” Anchors speaking on Fox News Channel engaged in discussion pronounced the address “radical,” and then proceeded to parse out what the new President really meant. “It was a dark, even pessimistic view of where we are at the moment,” said John King on CNN.

Trump’s address was a short and fiery, and aimed to evoke the populist sentiment that carried him into office. “January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again,” Trump said, adding, “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”

Some TV anchors approached the address with a healthy bit of skepticism. “I have to say, it was surprisingly divisive for an inaugural address,” said Chuck Todd, who anchors NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Todd added, “He went with populism, and I think that it is going to play well with his folks, but that was not the type of inaugural address that was intended to bring this country together.” Others admired its man-of-the-people honesty: “He took the hide off of everybody sitting on that platform,” said CBS’ Bob Schieffer.

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