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Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said she did not call President Donald Trump a “Neanderthal” as he claimed at a rally on Saturday because “that would not be fair” to Neanderthals who had a “certain artistic complexity.”

Partial transcript as follows:

CHUCK TODD: I’ve got to bring up last night’s rally a little bit. Because to me, it was a culmination of a week that he loved — he loved his presidency this week. This was the presidency he dreamed of. But what was funny was about how he sort of mocked the idea of being presidential, Peggy. Watch.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I’m very presidential. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here tonight. Rick Saccone will be a great, great congressman. He will help me very much. And then you go, “God bless you and God bless the United States. Thank you very much.”


TODD: Peggy, I want to tee you up here because he went after you.


TODD: But you’re a nice lady. Apparently you write about him being a Neanderthal all the time. But it actually, I said, well, we looked at your column this week. And you note this, you say, ‘Centrists and moderates are trying to wrap their head around him, in that yes, it’s crazy, but maybe it’s working.’

But then you write this, ‘Crazy doesn’t last. Crazy doesn’t go the distance. Crazy is an unstable element that when let loose in an unstable environment, explodes. If the president is the way he is on a good day, what will he be like on a bad day? It all feels so dangerous.’

NOONAN: Yeah, that was a column in which I tried to wrap my head around how many folks and business and folks on the ground in American politics, moderates, centrists, look at this White House and they say, ‘You know, in terms of this, this, and this, this is kind of working. But then I look at this, this, and this, his actions, and I think he’s kind of crazy.’ And they have to go, ‘It’s kind of working. He’s kind of crazy.’ And it causes a certain disquiet and confusion. I have to say in fairness, isn’t disquiet a nice word?

He was very—

TODD: No, that was a very funny little routine. He’s not wrong about all those people.

NOONAN: It was very, it was spoofy and there was, I think he was making fun of this false formality, meant to give an air of seriousness to many of our politicians. I would like to note merely he seems to think that in this column I called him a Neanderthal. I did not, I would not. I’ve been studying Neanderthals. They had great cave paintings, those paintings spoke of a certain sensibility, a certain artistic complexity, their tribes were organized. I would not call him a Neanderthal because that would not be fair.

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By S.K.