MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd on Tuesday apologized for his Sunday commentary on an edited clip of Attorney General Bill Barr that sparked outrage and prompted President Donald Trump to call for him to be fired, saying it was a “mistake” he wished he “hadn’t made.”
During a panel discussion on this past weekend’s broadcast of Meet the Press, Todd aired a short clip of Barr’s CBS News interview on the Justice Department dropping charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The portion that was shown featured Barr, when asked how history would judge his decision, saying: “History is written by the winner, so it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”
Todd reacted at the time by expressing shock that the attorney general didn’t make the case that he was upholding the rule of law and was effectively admitting that “this is a political job.” The Meet the Press host was quickly called out on Twitter by the DOJ spokesman, who noted that the clip ended right before Barr said he felt the decision was lawful.
“Well, history is written by the winner,” Barr continued during the full interview clip. “So it largely depends on who’s writing the history. But I think a fair history would say it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.”
Todd eventually became the target of widespread criticism, largely from the right, over his remarks and the edited video that was aired. It didn’t take long for it to bubble up to the president, who demanded that NBC News fire “Sleepy Eyes” Todd.
During Tuesday’s broadcast of MTP Daily, Todd said he wanted to “take a moment” to address the situation. Recapping the details and highlighting Barr’s full remarks, Todd laid some of the blame at CBS News’ feet before apologizing for his mistake.
“Now, we did not edit that out,” he said. “That was not our edit. We didn’t include it because we only saw the shorter of two clips that CBS did air.”
Adding that they should have “looked at both and checked for a full transcript,” Todd said this was a “mistake that I wish we hadn’t made and one I wish I hadn’t made.”
“The second part of the Attorney General’s answer would have put it in the proper context,” he concluded. “Had we seen that part of the CBS interview, I would not have framed the conversation the way I did, and I obviously am very sorry for that mistake. We strive to do better going forward.”