MSNBC Founder: Joe Biden’s Performance ‘Very Unsatisfying,’ Even in ‘Softball Interviews’

Biden for President

Appearing Monday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, MNSBC and CNBC founder Tom Rogers expressed worry that former Vice President Joe Biden is not “ready for a prime-time election season” against President Donald Trump, calling his communication skills “very unsatisfying” even in safe, friendly interviews.

A partial transcript is as follows: 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Tom, explain the challenge you see Joe Biden could be facing by not doing a lot of off-the-cuff work as much.

TOM ROGERS: Well, Trump has been dominating the media, as we all know, and Biden has not been in the spotlight, but that’s gonna shift. And when it shifts, Biden needs to perform… The bottom line is the candidate needs to be able to articulate a clear and convincing message. And particularly when it comes to the pandemic, what my piece says is: he’s not there yet.

And it pains me to say this, it really does, but his performance in being able to come up with a compelling narrative and a passionate storyline that really is ready for primetime election season — when it comes to talking about the legacy of Donald Trump, of mass death and economic collapse, he’s just not there yet. His performances have been very unstatisfying and, basically, he’s been getting softball interviews, with the exception of yours, Mika, on the sexual harassment issue. He’s had perfect opportunity to be able to articulate that message, and I think the campaign really needs to figure out how to make sure that he is really in a position to discuss the — what will be the defining issue of this election in a much more compelling way than he’s been able to do it to date.

BRZEZINSKI: Tom, what’s your biggest issue? Is it a debate situation?

ROGERS: Debate situations are tough. But measuring him in what has been one-on-one interviews that have been for the most part very friendly and softball type interviews, Joe Biden is never going to be Obama or Clinton when it comes to being an orator. But when you listen to him on the pandemic, it’s a lot of disconnected phrases, it doesn’t really come together in a very convincing message. Every morning, you guys put together and crystallize what that critique of Trump is. It’s not hard. And he can do it in an op-ed. But when it comes to social media and television and he’s primetime in the spotlight in the campaign, that articulation is gonna have to be much clearer than it has been, and I really fear a crisis for the candidate if he cannot come up with a more convincing way and a more eloquent way to put out there exactly what the critique of Trump is during this crisis. It’s a problem.

The campaign should take the next three weeks of coaching and mock interviews and simulations, whatever they need to do to get him there on this, because he can do it. But so far it hasn’t come together, I think, in the way he’s gonna need to be primetime. And it plays into the Trump critique that he’s been around too long, that he’s confused, that he’s old. It’s very easy to defeat that by coming out there strong with the kind of articulation I think he’s capable of.


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