Can and should Donald Trump win the Presidency? "Morning Joe's," Mika, Scarborough and Geist discuss that w/Ari Fleischer, you decide. "

Donald Trump holding a press conference after speaking at the City Club of Chicago, Maggiano's Little Italy Banquets in the Chicago Loop,June 29,  2015  (See below links discussing the Trump talk and press conference)

Donald Trump holding a press conference after speaking at the City Club of Chicago, Maggiano’s Little Italy Banquets in the Chicago Loop,June 29, 2015 (See below links discussing the Trump talk and press conference) But, this post is primarily about today’s Morning Joe discussion of the current status of the  Trump-Hillary choice and the dilemma facing Republicans and Independents.

Joe Scarborough: … Do you think Donald Trump is temperamentally fit to be Commander-in-Chief?

Ari Fleischer: … I think it is a roll of the dice… I think Hillary is a worse roll of the dice.


Scarborough: … I didn’t say this but this is what everybody is saying. Is Donald Trump a sociopath?


Ari Fleischer [Former George W. Bush Press Secretary]: I am going to hold my nose and vote for him- if he wins, I am going to hold my breath. The problem I have is that if Hillary wins…I know what she has done, I know how she governs and I think it is going to be worse [with her].

–The Republican Party’s summer of its discontent

The Republican Party’s core members, aka the base, are in the midst of a political nightmare. 

For the last half century, the modern Republican Party became and stood firmly as a three-legged stool: Strong national defense that projects military power in close cooperation with our allies; modern economic conservatism focused on free markets, free trade, free enterprise and limited government; and traditional values exercised in support of the nuclear family, protection of the unborn and the individual’s right to self-defense, including the right to bear arms.

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, won the nomination by engaging in a hostile takeover of the Party in defiance of key elements of the Party base’s core beliefs– as embodied by its symbolic three-legged stool.

Trump prevailed with a bare majority of the elected delegates– and forty-five percent of the Party’s primary voters would have preferred almost any other Republican candidate.

–Winning back the Party’s Base

However, most of these anti-Trump Republicans and many independents were and are willing to vote for Trump if he will pivot to act more “Presidentially,” aim his shots at Hillary and the Obama Administration’s record and try to unify and grow the Republican Party by promoting a positive message of individual freedom and respect for our fellow citizens, a strong national defense, economic growth and economic opportunity. [To decide if the Donald Trump of today has made any progress over the last year at acting “Presidential,” read about Trump’s remarks to the City Club of Chicago on June 29, 2015 and his press conference that followed his City Club of Chicago remarks.]

Ari Fleisher, one of George W. Bush’s former Press Secretaries appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” show today and made clear, in a very thoughtful discussion why Donald Trump may still have a chance to win over currently disaffected Republicans and independents– and thereby become President of the United States.

But, with 14 weeks left until the presidential election, golfer and golf course owner Donald Trump is running out of time to pivot. [See the transcript, below, of this morning’s discussion between former Florida Republican Congressman and show co-host Joe Scarborough, co-host Mika Brzezinski (Daughter of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski), Morning Joe regular panelist and sometime co-host Willy Geist and guest Ari Fleischer].


–The three issues Trump should have been discussing the last few days

Morning Joe Scarborough: The United States of America paid a ransom of $400 million in cash, piled up high in an unmarked cargo plane, to Iran…

Willie Geist: It coincided with the release in January of the four Americans held there. This was money, an installment on a settlement that the Obama Administration had reached on an old arms deal from 1979. They say it is purely coincidental and not a quid pro quo and that It was not one of the terms of release of these four men.

Joe Scarborough: It was a quid pro quo. I said that back in January and got attacked for it. This is what you call pretty good evidence of a quid pro quo. It’s great reporting [in this Morning’s Wall St. Journal] by Jay Solomon and Carol Lee.

Geist: …This is a story that since last night and this morning, Donald Trump should have been all over. And, also, the story from Sunday of Hillary Clinton saying that FBI Director Comey…

Scarborough: [Hillary Clinton] lying about what Director Comey said—

Geist: And, not just a conventional, but a smart campaign would have seized on-

Ari Fleisher: And, the news of 1.2 % annual GDP growth

Geist: [A smart campaign would have focused on] these three stories and been talking about them all day and not the story of the Khans-

Scarborough: So, Ari, you have the stories of the $400 million pay-off to Iran on an unmarked plane, the slowest economic recovery since 1949 and the Democratic nominee for President lying about what the FBI  Director said. What’s wrong with Donald Trump?

Fleischer: The fundamental problem is that he is such a good counter-puncher that he is knocking himself out. That’s it. I mean he is so focused on attacking [New Mexico Republican Governor] Susana Martinez, Judge Curiel—[The so-called] Mexican from Indiana and of course the Khan family [that he is not] setting his sights on President Obama and Hillary’s third term and that we have a weak economy— [Trump] has no discipline, he is too thin-skinned and he is blowing this election for Republicans.

Joe Scarborough: By the way, you look back at the guy you worked for, George W. Bush…and whether it was him bringing in Muslims working for him after 9/11 and him saying don’t you dare question these people’s patriotism…

–The Election: A choice, not a vote of confidence  

Fleischer: And, after Trump went after the Khan family, I re-tweeted what President Bush said about that. Look, there is something about the American nature, and that is to be inclusive and welcoming and what Donald Trump is trying to prove in this race is that he can win without honoring that tradition. That is very worrisome to someone like me. My fundamental problem, though, is that Donald Trump was my 16th choice for President in the Republican Primary-

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski: Yeah, right-

Ari: [But] Hillary was 19th . And, I would probably prefer Bernie Sanders over Hillary.

Mika: Are you still in that position?

Ari Fleischer: Yes, I am still there. And there are some 60 million Americans, 65 million Americans [who are still there] –

–Is Trump stable enough to lead?

Mika: That doesn’t make me feel better. The Wall St. Journal reports this morning that President George W. Bush delivered an incisive critique of Donald Trump’s policies on isolationism, nativism and protectionism, though he never used the nominee’s name himself. ..The former President was quoted, “As long as everybody feels welcome, I think we will succeed.” Ari…Don’t talk about Hillary. I am not asking about Hillary…I am asking you about Donald Trump. Is he really fit to lead?

Fleischer: You can’t do it that way.

Mika: I am doing it that way.

Fleischer: This is not a vote of confidence for one candidate to the exclusion of the other. It is a choice.

Joe Scarborough: …Do you think he is stable enough to lead?

Fleischer: I am going to hold my nose and vote for him- if he wins, I am going to hold my breath. The problem I have is that if Hillary wins…I know what she has done, I know how she governs and I think it is going to be worse [with her].

Mika: Why are you going to be holding your breath if he wins:

Fleischer: Because I will be holding my breath even worse if Hillary wins.

Mika: Well, wait a minute.

Fleischer: That’s the problem. You keep acting as if there is no choice in this election.

Mika: No, I am asking about your candidate.

Joe Scarborough: All right, hold on a second [Joe, turning to Mika], we make people answer questions on this show, so let me do this.  Ari …  This is a Republican talking to a Republican about the future of our Party and Country. Do you think Donald Trump is fit, temperamentally fit to be Commander-in-Chief.

Fleischer: I am worried about it. I think it is a roll of the dice… I think Hillary is a worse roll of the dice.

Scarborough: Do you think that Hillary Clinton is temperamentally fit to be President of the United States.

–Judging Hillary by the results of her actions

Fleischer: I think she is temperamentally fit because she is such a smooth politician she knows how to say the right things but every time she acts, she acts wrongly. Look at the way the world is today. Look at the Middle East. Look at what’s happened on her watch as Secretary of State. This is the fundamental issue, guys.  It is not a one person race. It is a several person race.

Scarborough: So, he is worried about whether he is temperamentally fit.

Mika: He is going to hold his breath.

–Trump a socio-path?

Scarborough: … I saw somebody write- I think it was Greg Sargent on a blog in the Washington Post- He wrote exactly what Republicans have been calling me about over the last few days, which is to say—We can’t stand Hillary. We think she is bad for America, but we’re asking ourselves—I didn’t say this but this is what everybody is saying. Is Donald Trump a socio-path.  Am I voting for a socio—and I know you have heard it because I have heard it. And, all my Republican friends have heard it.

Fleischer: I don’t know Donald Trump but I know a lot of people in his organization who know him. And, they say he is a remarkably different person—and you have said it yourself, Joe–in private than he is with his public persona…His public persona is so off right now and he is putting himself on a losing path.

Scarborough: Yeah

Fleischer: That’s the irony. He is such a good counterpuncher. He is about to lose a winnable race because of his counterpunching.

Willie Geist: What does it say to you when somebody like General Michael Hayden, earlier on this show, former head of the CIA, an NSA guy you worked with, says he could never vote for Donald Trump.

Fleischer: It gives me tremendous pause.

Mika: But not enough to not vote for him!

Fleischer: Because, what do you do? You don’t vote at all? I was raised to believe you vote. That you have to have a choice. You make a choice and you cast the hard vote.  


 Morning Joe, MSNBC, 6:03 am to 6:11 am [CST], August 3, 2016        


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  • 1. I;m surprised that a sociopath who trolls chicagonow hasn't posted yet. He thinks the late Breitbart is a divinity.
    2. On the pivot, Gwen Ifill was looking for it 2 months ago. Charles Krauthammer said today it is not going to happen.
    3. The reports on both CNN and FNC this afternoon was that despite Trump saying his campaign was unified, there is dissension. Trump knows he can't win so he brings up the "rigged" ploy again. Newt Gingrich brought up about the same point Joe was trying to get. I don't know whether Joe was acting as a devil's advocate or MSNBC's position, but CNN and FNC agreeing on something is highly unusual.
    4. I still wonder what the Trumpsters think of Pence endorsing Ryan or Melania endorsing Michelle.
    5. I don't know about wafflers like Fleischer, but a vote for Gary Johnson is still available.Fleischer's former boss is certainly not supporting the Republican nominee.

  • In reply to jack:

    Colbert seemed more interested in the statement on Morning Joe: "Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can't we use them." Maybe Fleischer should worry about that.

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