Savannah Guthrie reflects on 'crazy uncle' comment in President Trump interview: 'I'm shocked at myself'

Elena Sheppard
·3 min read
On Nov. 14, Savannah Guthrie spoke to the "New York Times" about her headline-making interview with President Trump. (Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
On Nov. 14, Savannah Guthrie spoke to the "New York Times" about her headline-making interview with President Trump. (Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Today host Savannah Guthrie has mixed feelings on her “crazy uncle” comment during an October televised Town Hall with President Trump, admitting that the tense moment was spontaneous.

In a Saturday interview with the New York Times, Guthrie reflected on the headline-making moment in Miami, Fla., after President Trump withdrew from the second debate with now President-Elect Joe Biden due to the virtual format amid the coronavirus pandemic. The candidates gave interviews to separate networks on Oct. 15, however, NBC took criticism for indulging the president’s whims, especially on the same night as Biden’s interview.

In the sit-down, Guthrie challenged Trump on the details of his COVID-19 diagnosis, his inconsistent messaging on face masks and why he retweeted false information from the conspiracy theory group QAnon alleging that Biden and former President Obama engaged in a cover-up involving terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

“That was a retweet,” Trump told Guthrie. “That was an opinion of somebody ... I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves ...”

“You’re the president,” Guthrie said to Trump. “You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever!” The president later called Guthrie “crazed” at a rally.

Guthrie told the New York Times of that charged moment, “I’m shocked at myself. I don’t even know if it’s a good thing that I said it. That just came out.”

The Georgetown Law graduate covered a lot of ground during the interview, including pressing the president on whether or not he had pneumonia while hospitalized for COVID-19 and his views on white supremacy.

“They were actually really simple,” Guthrie told the New York Times of her questions to Trump. “I’m just really grateful and relieved that it was OK because it could have gone the other way so easily.”

Guthrie, who was highly praised for her performance at the town hall, admitted that confrontation makes her uncomfortable. “In fact, I kind of would like to avoid it,” she told the New York Times. “But I also don’t like talking points. I believe that the viewers expect us to ask the questions.”

Elsewhere in the New York Times interview, Guthrie spoke of her upbringing in Arizona, her husband of six years Michael Feldman and their two young children, daughter Vale and son Charles, whom the couple is raising Jewish and Christian.

“I’m always so fundamentally aware of not being the center of the universe,” she said of her religion. “Having a faith really helps you know your place in the world. And I really value that. And I find it endlessly fascinating. Believing in God, loving God, believing in a compassionate God, just absolutely spreads through everything I feel and the way I look at the world.”

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