Welker Lets Adam Schiff Answer at Length, But Lindsey Graham Gets the But! But! But!

It’s clear that NBC Meet the Press host Kristen Welker has two modes of operation: Democrats get polite questioning, often about internal party matters, while Republicans get hammered with rough questions and predictably interrupted with bickering. There was a dramatic contrast on Sunday between Welker’s polite approach to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and her incessant bickering with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

I’ll throw some math in. Schiff received six questions in his interview, and he spoke for 827 words. That’s about 138 words per answer. He had no reason to fear Welker jumping in. Here’s the agenda of questions, which is like two Democrats chatting:

1. Katie Porter said your race was “rigged.” (Too Trumpy!)

2. Did Porter concede to you?

3. Did your elevation of Republican Steve Garvey possibly hurt Democrats in November?

4. Is Biden’s “full-throated support of Israel” (!) going to hurt Democrats in November?

5. Is it a bad idea to let Trump get an intelligence briefing, as is customary?

6. Will you vote for a TikTok ban? 

Obviously, Republicans think it’s nutty to present Schiff as a responsible chair of the Intel committee after all his Russian-collusion conspiracy nothingburgers, but this show is more like Meet The Democrats when they’re on the cushy seat. Schiff said Trump’s briefings should be “dumbed down,” but Welker was pretty “dumbed down” in this interview. It was a Kissy Krissy cakewalk by comparison.

So Schiff gets asked to express his disdain for horrible Trump — not defend his quackery about Trump — while Graham is pressured to defend horrible Trump, especially about Trump’s effusive praise for Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban. In her questions, Welker cartooned Trump’s statements (sometimes in jest), such as “Trump has talked about being a dictator on Day One,” and “Trump has said to Putin that he would welcome him invading a NATO country, Senator, if they didn’t pay their bills.” Graham explained that nineteen NATO members don’t meet the standard of spending two percent of their GDP on defense. But Welker doesn’t want to criticize any of them, only Trump.

Brent Baker below notes Welker also had a friendly interview with Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and once again, the agenda of questions was largely about internal Democrat matters, and whether Biden can win Georgia. Welker did press him, though, on whether Biden should debate Trump. (The guardians of democracy hate debates, apparently.) Warnock spoke for more than 150 words in four of his questions. He just faced a little more resistance than Schiff.

Schiff is also the only one of these men who drew a “so great to have you” from Welker.

Transcript of Lindsey Graham bickering below:

NBC’s Meet the Press

March 10, 2024

KRISTEN WELKER: But you know that former President Trump has talked about being a dictator on day one. He said, “It’s nice to have a strong man running our country.” He’s talked about retribution in a second term, Senator.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah, you know what he said? Retribution would be success. Did a – you know, who knocked Trump off the ballot in Colorado? Who knocked Trump off the ballot in Maine–

WELKER: But–

GRAHAM: There’s a liberal jihad against everything Trump. I’m not worried about Trump–

KRISTEN WELKER:

But those were Republicans, though.

GRAHAM: –destroying democracy.

WELKER: Those were the, those were –

GRAHAM: I’m worried Joe Biden is destroying the world.

WELKER: Those were Republicans, and the Supreme Court–

GRAHAM: Yeah, but–

WELKER: — has now put him back on the ballot, as you know.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: But the point you’re trying to ask me: Is Trump bad for this country?

WELKER: No.

GRAHAM: I would say that–

WELKER: I’m asking you–

GRAHAM: –Joe Biden’s policies are bad for America–

WELKER: But–

GRAHAM: –and have got the world on fire.

KRISTEN WELKER: Senator, just to be very clear, though. He is aligning himself with Viktor Orbán. He is–

GRAHAM: Who is a member of NATO – who just voted to –

WELKER: Who has–

GRAHAM: – let Sweden in.

WELKER: Reluctantly, though. But he has–

GRAHAM: Orbán is not on the ballot.

WELKER: –killed that democratic norm–

GRAHAM: Let’s have a debate. Okay–

WELKER: He has rolled back democratic norms in Hungary.

GRAHAM: –Orbán is not on the ballot. You’ve got to vote between Trump and Biden. Biden has screwed the world up every way you can: broken borders, the world’s on fire. 

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