During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about new French President Francois Hollande having a girlfriend, advertising executive Donny Deutsch insisted Americans would soon accept the same: "I think we're ready for it....the culture that grew up on the internet, that is not going to keep prisoner candidates or people because they've had some personal mishaps, infidelities. I think the rest of the world has grown up, we're going to eventually get there." [Listen to the audio]
NBC's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman chimed in: "Don't you just love the French?" On the April 18 edition of Rock Center, correspondent Ted Koppel shared that sentiment during a report on the French election, happily observing: "Monsieur Hollande is now living with a journalist to whom he is also not married. That's okay. It might be an issue in the United States, but not here. How civilized, how French."
Hollande had four children with a previous girlfriend, somehow that makes him "grown up" and "civilized"?
In June of 2011, Deutsch appeared on Today and pleaded that Americans "have to stop being shocked and amazed" by political sex scandals and that "we as a society have got to become a little more anesthetized to this."
On Tuesday, Lauer responded to Deutsch's declaration: "You think the United States is ready for an unmarried first couple in the White House?" The lone voice of dissent in the conversation was attorney Star Jones, who interjected: "Absolutely not! Are you out of your mind? I'm from North Carolina! Do you believe – my grandmother is 94 years old. She's just laid out right now. You tried to kill my grandmother. This does not happen in America."
Snyderman ran to Deutsch's defense, arguing people would "fine" with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his girlfriend being president and first lady.
Deutsch concluded: "Here's the branding, we are no longer – there's no such thing as a traditional family in this country anymore. You could actually use it as a selling point."
Here is a transcript of the May 22 exchange:
MATT LAUER: There is a new president of France, the socialist Francois Hollande. Okay, that means France also has a new first lady, she is Valerie Trierweiler and she and Hollande are not married. They've been together for six years. She is a reporter who covers politics. She wants to keep her job, and she wants to keep her privacy. She says that their marital status is none of anybody's business.
NANCY SNYDERMAN: Don't you just love the French?
LAUER: How would this go over here in the United States?
DONNY DEUTSCH: I think we're ready for it, to tell you the truth. I think there's a culture coming forward, the culture that grew up on the internet, that is not going to keep prisoner candidates or people because they've had some personal mishaps, infidelities. I think the rest of the world has grown up, we're going to eventually get there.
LAUER: So you're ready – you think the United States is ready for an unmarried first couple in the White House?
STAR JONES: Absolutely not! Are you out of your mind?
DEUTSCH: I disagree with you.
JONES: I'm from North Carolina! Do you believe – my grandmother is 94 years old. She's just laid out right now. You tried to kill my grandmother.
DEUTSCH: I don't agree with you.
SNYDERMAN: You know what? I just think that Donny's right-
JONES: This does not happen in America.
SNYDERMAN: I think if Bloomberg ran for president and Diana Taylor was like the First Lady, they would say, fine. Here's the issue. I don't think she could cover politics as a reporter and keep her job.
DEUTSCH: Here's the branding, we are no longer – there's no such thing as a traditional family in this country anymore. You could actually use it as a selling point.
JONES: The United States is never going to want to have an unmarried couple as-
DEUTSCH: I disagree with you. By the way, would you have said we were going to have a black president 20 years ago?
JONES: Yeah actually, I would.
DEUTSCH: Then you're smarter than most people.
LAUER: And let's make sure that we understand the difference in our countries. According to a recent survey, more than half of couples living together in France and raising children together are not married.
SNYDERMAN: That's right.
LAUER: They're co-habitating.
SNYDERMAN: That's sort of their norm.
LAUER: So it's a cultural difference.
JONES: Well, as Fiddler said to Kunta Kinte, "You in America now and it don't work like that."
-- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.