Ahead of a Tuesday special election, Donald Trump hit the campaign trail to deliver a speech in Pennsylvania on behalf of state Rep. Rick Saccone. During Saturday’s rally, Trump offered a brief endorsement of Saccone and then embarked on a 75-minute tirade on a variety of issues including his disdain for the media. Amid a bevy of other insults, Trump called NBC‘s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd a “sleeping son of a b***h.”
This wasn’t the first time Trump went after Todd. According to CNN, he has been calling the news anchor “sleepy” or some variation of it on Twitter dating as far back as 2011. On Sept. 28 of that year, Trump posted that “Sleepy Chuck Todd” paled in comparison to the late Tim Russert. And on April 1, 2017, he referred to Todd as “sleepy eyes” after the journalist reported news of Trump’s alleged connections to Russia.
Without making a direct reference to Trump’s remarks about him, Todd winked at the tactless remarks both on Twitter and then again on his Sunday morning broadcast. Using daylight savings time as a tie-in to the “sleepy” theme on Saturday night, Todd tweeted a reminder to reset “those clocks and DVRs now before your eyes get sleepy.”
During the Meet the Press airing, Todd asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for his thoughts on Trump’s commentary in Pennsylvania. Todd said, according to Deadline, that he teaches his children to respect the office of the presidency and the individual who sits in that office. The host pointed out that parents are put in a difficult position when the president behaves the way that he does. Mnuchin chalked up Trump’s “vulgarities” to the fact that they were offered in “the context of a campaign rally” which boasted many “funny moments.”
But Todd’s fellow colleagues saw Trump’s remarks as anything but funny. Legendary NBC broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw defended his friend and colleague, tweeting that Trump’s insults were “really classy” and that he should explain his behavior to his children.
Trump also took shots at CNN to which White House Correspondent April D. Ryan took grave offense. Ryan said that Trump’s words were neither “shtick” nor “comedy.” She deemed them “dangerous.” Ryan asserted that Trump has made an enemy of the press which has given “crazy people” license to attack them on his command.
CNN reported that Trump is admittedly aware of the impact that his rhetoric has on his base. During Saturday’s speech, he told the crowd that he is intentionally not “presidential.” Being a straight-laced, diplomatic leader of the free world just won’t get his supporters in the seats when Trump comes to town.
“If I came like a stiff, you guys wouldn’t come here tonight,” Trump said.