Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy more than 14 months ago, he has made his way to nearly every corner of the cable news world. Everywhere, that is, except for Rachel Maddow’s show. While he’s avoided a handful of other hosts — Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell come to mind — his reluctance to be interviewed by the top-rated MSNBC anchor has not gone unnoticed. And, unlike others he avoids, he has yet to talk shit about Maddow, making it seem pretty apparent that he is fearful of her.
Realizing she has a reputation as a tough interviewer who specializes in cornering her subjects with facts and making them squirm, it seems Maddow decided to prove to the Trump camp that she can be just as malleable as the rest of the primetime news landscape. On Wednesday night, the Emmy-winning broadcaster brought on newly-minted Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway for a multi-segment interview that spanned nearly the entire length of her one-hour program.
And, she got nothing.
Sure, the biggest Maddow honks will point to a few moments where she seemed to trap Conway on her talking points — just check out this glowing review from my old haunting grounds — but, in the end, she allowed Conway to slither right through every one of her questions with very little pushback. Rachel would seemingly open up a difficult position for Conway to defend — Trump’s personal attacks on the Khans and Judge Curiel, his incoherent policy statements, his own donations to the Clinton Foundation, the ridiculous doctor’s letter — only to allow Conway to spin the conversation wherever she wanted.
Normally, Maddow would continue to press, especially if she knew she could go as long as she desired like Wednesday evening. But not this time. Instead, she both began and ended the discussion by engaging in a mutual admiration fest with Conway, with the two remarking how groundbreaking they were as women. After Conway buttered her up at the end of the interview, Maddow commented that the whole thing had been awesome and this is how political conversations should be conducted on news programs.
No, Rachel! That’s a bad Rachel! Bad, bad, bad Rachel! Sure, we all strive for civil debates. We appreciate substantive interviews that are informative, truthful and thought-provoking. What occurred on your broadcast was none of that.
But, I get it. I really do. You really, really, REALLY want to interview Donald Trump. He’s avoided you for so long and we are now in the homestretch. It is less than 80 days until the election. With debates coming up and more intensive campaigning, the candidates are going to be harder and harder to get access to, especially for sit-down interviews.
So, you’re desperate. Desperate enough to go on live primetime TV and sell yourself as Barbara Walters 2.0. All in the hopes that showing you won’t go on the attack and take down a slick-talking, two-faced, message-spewing political lifer — which is what you were BORN to do — will finally nail you your white whale. I hope it was worth it, Rachel.
Below is video of a portion of the interview where Conway easily wriggles away from questions about Trump’s doctor’s letter: