Lester Holt on Trump Calling Journalists the Enemy of the People

Lester Holt on Trump Calling Journalists the Enemy of the People
    Watch the video

    click to begin

    Youtube

    -Welcome. -Thank you.
    It's been a while. It's great to be back with you.
    -And I'm so always flattered and honored that you come up
    right after you finish your job,
    because you just finished taping "Nightly."
    -I stay after school for you. -Thank you so much.
    You know, we always have this problem
    where stuff happens late in the day.
    This seemed to be one of those days
    where you probably had to cover some of the Manafort trial
    and some of stuff that happened in the later part of the day.
    -Yeah, it feels like -- you know,
    we used to talk about a 24-hour news cycle.
    Now it's down to about two hours.
    -Yeah. -And it's, you know,
    we always get the broadcast set and we're feeling good about
    where it is, and then usually about 5:00,
    something falls out of the sky and then we're, you know,
    we're on to the next thing.
    -I assume you and your team have gotten
    a little bit better at handling it
    as this two-hour cycle continues to get shorter and shorter?
    -You know, as I say, that's how we roll.
    That's what we do. -That's wonderful to hear.
    This is the thing that keeps coming up
    that I always want to ask you about.
    You asked Donald Trump a question,
    a pretty normal question in an interview
    about the firing of James Comey.
    It is now the most replayed clip
    because this is where he basically admitted
    that he did fire Comey because of the Russia investigation.
    Did you know when that was happening,
    when he was giving that answer, that it was newsworthy?
    -I knew the interview was newsworthy.
    I know he was opening up about something that, you know --
    and it just happened a few days earlier.
    From the time we booked the interview and arranged it
    to the time we actually sat down,
    the middle of that is when the Comey firing occurred.
    So we knew the thrust of the conversation
    would be about that.
    I wasn't surprised by his forthrightness.
    That's who he is. He tends to own things.
    I'd interviewed him, you know, going back
    to the "Apprentice" days, so I wasn't shocked.
    You know, he continued to talk.
    And I continued to try and make sure I was clarifying
    because sometimes in interviews, you know,
    things happen very quickly
    and someone will listen to one little thing.
    "What did he mean?" I wanted to make sure
    that I understood exactly, you know,
    what his position was.
    But I will say every journalist wants their work
    to have some impact.
    It is a little surreal.
    I'll sit in my office sometimes and look up
    and see clips of that again.
    -It's also interesting, one of the reasons
    I think it endures as well, not just from the information,
    it was not a "gotcha" question.
    And it was a very politely conducted interview,
    even when you interrupt to ask for clarification.
    It seems like you're trying to help him
    make the point he makes, which is then the point
    that is being used against him so often.
    -Yeah, and I appreciate that. [ Laughter ]
    I appreciate that.
    I mean, I tell people, any journalist would have
    asked virtually the same questions given the timing
    of when that interview happened.
    They were -- you know, it was pretty obvious
    that we needed to understand why this firing had occurred.
    And he was, you know, as I suspected he would, he owned,
    you know, his position on that.
    And, you know, they were --
    ended up getting a little more time than I thought.
    You know, sometimes in these kind of interviews
    when you've got a big, important person,
    you're playing the clock.
    "Okay, I want to get this question, but I better jump
    to the next one because I may run out of time."
    -Sure. -This mental gymnastics
    is going on the whole time.
    But in the end, you know, we got a good amount of time
    and got to explore a lot.
    -Do you think based on that, he has hesitation
    of sitting down with you again, because it went so badly
    for him in retrospect? [ Laughter ]
    -Oh, I mean, I don't know.
    I mean, you know, I don't know whether he thinks it went badly
    or, you know -- it's not for me to judge.
    -He thinks it went badly for you.
    He did tell me that. [ Laughter ]
    -Well...
    I would obviously welcome another chance
    to sit down with him.
    That opportunity has not --
    you know, has not knocked on my door.
    -Well, you are -- I hate to break this to you --
    you are a member of the media,
    and you, as a collective, as has been explained to me
    by our President, are an enemy of the people.
    And he's recently tweeted that you are dangerous and sick.
    Is it strange to be representing a profession right now
    that the President of the United States
    is just full bore attacking on a daily basis?
    -You know, I let the --
    I let the "fake news" stuff roll off my back.
    It's not fun.
    But I think most people understand
    an organization like ours,
    and a lot of the organizations under fire,
    have been doing this for decades and decades.
    And we've earned a lot of trust with our audiences
    and a tradition of excellence.
    So I let -- I let that roll.
    I think where I draw the line, though, is the safety
    and well-being of my colleagues.
    And "enemy of the people" I think crosses a line.
    I think it's reckless. I respectfully ask that it end.
    And that's what I have to say about it.
    -I also respectfully...
    [ Cheers and applause ] ...ask that it end.
    And...
    I will say, I have some bad news for both of us
    based on how respectfully asking is working.
    [ Laughter ]
    -Welcome. -Thank you.
    It's been a while. It's great to be back with you.
    -And I'm so always flattered and honored that you come up
    right after you finish your job,
    because you just finished taping "Nightly."
    -I stay after school for you. -Thank you so much.
    You know, we always have this problem
    where stuff happens late in the day.
    This seemed to be one of those days
    where you probably had to cover some of the Manafort trial
    and some of stuff that happened in the later part of the day.
    -Yeah, it feels like -- you know,
    we used to talk about a 24-hour news cycle.
    Now it's down to about two hours.
    -Yeah. -And it's, you know,
    we always get the broadcast set and we're feeling good about
    where it is, and then usually about 5:00,
    something falls out of the sky and then we're, you know,
    we're on to the next thing.
    -I assume you and your team have gotten
    a little bit better at handling it
    as this two-hour cycle continues to get shorter and shorter?
    -You know, as I say, that's how we roll.
    That's what we do. -That's wonderful to hear.
    This is the thing that keeps coming up
    that I always want to ask you about.
    You asked Donald Trump a question,
    a pretty normal question in an interview
    about the firing of James Comey.
    It is now the most replayed clip
    because this is where he basically admitted
    that he did fire Comey because of the Russia investigation.
    Did you know when that was happening,
    when he was giving that answer, that it was newsworthy?
    -I knew the interview was newsworthy.
    I know he was opening up about something that, you know --
    and it just happened a few days earlier.
    From the time we booked the interview and arranged it
    to the time we actually sat down,
    the middle of that is when the Comey firing occurred.
    So we knew the thrust of the conversation
    would be about that.
    I wasn't surprised by his forthrightness.
    That's who he is. He tends to own things.
    I'd interviewed him, you know, going back
    to the "Apprentice" days, so I wasn't shocked.
    You know, he continued to talk.
    And I continued to try and make sure I was clarifying
    because sometimes in interviews, you know,
    things happen very quickly
    and someone will listen to one little thing.
    "What did he mean?" I wanted to make sure
    that I understood exactly, you know,
    what his position was.
    But I will say every journalist wants their work
    to have some impact.
    It is a little surreal.
    I'll sit in my office sometimes and look up
    and see clips of that again.
    -It's also interesting, one of the reasons
    I think it endures as well, not just from the information,
    it was not a "gotcha" question.
    And it was a very politely conducted interview,
    even when you interrupt to ask for clarification.
    It seems like you're trying to help him
    make the point he makes, which is then the point
    that is being used against him so often.
    -Yeah, and I appreciate that. [ Laughter ]
    I appreciate that.
    I mean, I tell people, any journalist would have
    asked virtually the same questions given the timing
    of when that interview happened.
    They were -- you know, it was pretty obvious
    that we needed to understand why this firing had occurred.
    And he was, you know, as I suspected he would, he owned,
    you know, his position on that.
    And, you know, they were --
    ended up getting a little more time than I thought.
    You know, sometimes in these kind of interviews
    when you've got a big, important person,
    you're playing the clock.
    "Okay, I want to get this question, but I better jump
    to the next one because I may run out of time."
    -Sure. -This mental gymnastics
    is going on the whole time.
    But in the end, you know, we got a good amount of time
    and got to explore a lot.
    -Do you think based on that, he has hesitation
    of sitting down with you again, because it went so badly
    for him in retrospect? [ Laughter ]
    -Oh, I mean, I don't know.
    I mean, you know, I don't know whether he thinks it went badly
    or, you know -- it's not for me to judge.
    -He thinks it went badly for you.
    He did tell me that. [ Laughter ]
    -Well...
    I would obviously welcome another chance
    to sit down with him.
    That opportunity has not --
    you know, has not knocked on my door.
    -Well, you are -- I hate to break this to you --
    you are a member of the media,
    and you, as a collective, as has been explained to me
    by our President, are an enemy of the people.
    And he's recently tweeted that you are dangerous and sick.
    Is it strange to be representing a profession right now
    that the President of the United States
    is just full bore attacking on a daily basis?
    -You know, I let the --
    I let the "fake news" stuff roll off my back.
    It's not fun.
    But I think most people understand
    an organization like ours,
    and a lot of the organizations under fire,
    have been doing this for decades and decades.
    And we've earned a lot of trust with our audiences
    and a tradition of excellence.
    So I let -- I let that roll.
    I think where I draw the line, though, is the safety
    and well-being of my colleagues.
    And "enemy of the people" I think crosses a line.
    I think it's reckless. I respectfully ask that it end.
    And that's what I have to say about it.
    -I also respectfully...
    [ Cheers and applause ] ...ask that it end.
    And...
    I will say, I have some bad news for both of us
    based on how respectfully asking is working.
    [ Laughter ]
    The Check In: Andrew Wheeler and the Environmental Protection Agency Seth Meyers explains why he's tough on Trump Trump and Rudy Giuliani Panic Over the Russia Probe: A Closer Look Lester Holt Wants to Form a Wedding Band Kyle Eschen - Best Humor Magician on Penn & Teller Fool Us President George W. Bush's Thoughts on Putin and the Press Trump News Network: LeBron James and Enemies of the People Shep Smith: Journalists are not the enemy of the people Why do PILOTS DUMP FUEL??? Explained by CAPTAIN JOE What? The Trump Tower Meeting Wasn't About Adoptions?