Former Democratic Gov. Steven Beshear’s response to President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening was so underwhelming even liberal pundits like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow described it as “stunty and small.”
Immediately following Trump’s address, the impressed hosts of CNN remarked upon the “subdued” and “different tone” the president struck in this speech to “reset” the national dialogue. CNN host Anderson Cooper even admitted that the speech was quite “moving” in key parts.
“This was probably without a doubt one of his best speeches that I’ve ever heard,” Cooper admitted.
Although the hosts emphasized that there will always be policy differences the Democrats can — and will — fight Trump on, they largely agreed that Trump had delivered a much more effective and unifying performance in his first major speech than he had given in his “dark” inaugural address.
But when it came time for the Democratic Party’s official televised response via former Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear, MSNBC felt that it left something to be desired.
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“[Trump’s] eroding our democracy, and that’s reckless,” Beshear said after Trump had finished delivering his speech. “Real leaders don’t spread derision and division. Real leaders strengthen. They unify, they partner and they offer real solutions instead of ultimatums and blame.”
And that was about as feisty as Beshear became in his rambling, nine-minute-long rebuttal.
Lamenting that the opposition party’s response “is always trouble, it’s always bad,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow panned Beshear’s effort.
“When you do something stunty and small like this, it looks stunty and small,” Maddow said.
Colin Reed, the executive director of the GOP-affiliated America Rising PAC, also ridiculed the Democrat’s response.
“The Democratic bench is so depleted they’ve turned to a 72-year-old former governor with absolutely no political future to give their prime-time response,” Reed said a statement. “They literally have no rising up-and-comer to elevate. Out-of-power, leaderless, and in the midst of a raging ideological civil war, 2017 is truly a sad time to be a Democrat.”