Scarborough Battles Kristol: ‘There’s No Historical Precedent’ to Trump

‘I have been wrong and I’ve totally underestimated Trump and I apologize for that’

RUSH TRANSCRIPT:
SCARBOROUGH: "You are, I believe, the leader of the loyal opposition. Not so loyal, but the leader of the opposition to this March towards the trumpism of the Republican Party. What’s the smartest move for Republicans that don’t want Trump? What needs to happen?"
KRISTOL: "One has to puncture bubble of the trump power worshiping that’s been going on here and the bowing down to trump and “The voters have spoken.”
SCARBOROUGH: "Who’s been doing that?"
KRISTOL: "Joe Scarborough, for example."
SCARBOROUGH: "Can we read your tweets —"
KRISTOL: "I’ve been wrong. I have been wrong and I’ve totally underestimated Trump and I apologize for that."
SCARBOROUGH: "So why don’t you understand my question."
KRISTOL: "What percentage of the vote has Donald Trump gotten for a second. You say the voters have spoken. You said three --"
SCARBOROUGH: "Bill --"
KRISTOL: "Can I finish sentence."
SCARBOROUGH: "You know it doesn’t work that way."
KRISTOL: "You said three times “The voters have spoken.” Donald Trump may well be the nominee. You have been analytically right about trump and I have been wrong but we are entitled to oppose trump analytically, the first thing is to stop the cascade of “Oh, my I god the voters have spoken” and say wait a second, 56% of the voters have voted not for Donald Trump. 53% of delegates are not for Donald Trump. If Trump were to lose the nomination it’s not because the party spurned the voters, it would be the because the majority of the delegates as mark and John pointed out would have been committed to candidates other than Trump."
SCARBOROUGH: "I asked you a question and you didn’t respond. There’s no historical precedent to somebody doing as well as candidate trump did yesterday to winning New Hampshire, south Carolina and Nevada being stopped. That’s never happened before and there is momentum, a forward progress."
KRISTOL: "So we have to stop the momentum. I agree."
SCARBOROUGH: "There’s no cheering here."
KRISTOL: "But all the rules have broken as you yourself have pointed out."
SCARBOROUGH: "I’m looking at facts."
KRISTOL: "To your credit you have seen this was not going to be the historically Normal year and it’s not so maybe we don’t have to bow to history."
SCARBOROUGH: "How do you break history here?"
KRISTOL: "You need to beat him in Florida and Ohio, the first two winner take all state which is means there has to be a de facto agreement between the opposition candidates, between the resistance to trump, which I’m proud to be a part of because I think he’d be a terrible nominee and president, there has to be a de facto agreement between Rubio, Cruz and Kasich."
SCARBOROUGH: "Who has the authority to broker that deal right now?"
KRISTOL: "They need to. They need to defer to Rubio in Florida and defer to Kasich in Ohio and say basically — say — I don’t know if they can say this but imply at least that if you are a Cruz voter in Ohio and you look up the day before the primary and it’s Trump 42 percent, Kasich 35 percent, vote for Kasich. And the truth is if trump doesn’t win Florida and Ohio it remains very much of an open race. Now, trump is in the driver’s seat, no question. I don’t want to be foolish about this. But I don’t think people need to roll over and necessarily bow to the inevitability of the hostile takeover yet."
SCARBOROUGH: "Nobody’s suggesting --"
BRZEZINSKI: "Like people did for Hillary Clinton?"
>> The Democrats do this, by the way.
KRISTOL: "She has a — this is a good example. It’s very different and I think John tried to make this point. Hillary Clinton has a clear majority of the popular vote, a clear majority of the delegates. It’s hard to see how Bernie Sanders can catch her. Donald Trump has 35 percent of the popular vote and 47 percent of the delegates. That’s better than having 24% and 25% of the delegates, granted."
GEIST: "If we were talking about Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz in the position Donald Trump is in today, would you be making the same argument or is it your frustration that Donald Trump is in this position?"
KRISTOL: "No, I wouldn’t — well, I don’t know."
GEIST: "The candidate you liked Bert."
KRISTOL: "You guys have made this point correctly. If a different person were front-runner there would be a coalescing of the party behind the front-runner. There isn’t. That’s not because people are blind, people don’t want to coalesce Donald Trump because they don’t think he’s an appropriate nominee. That’s a fact, that’s not just a cycle — it’s also an opinion or value judgment but if a lot of Republicans have that judgment, it will influence things and that’s why he’s not going to wrap it up the way a Mitt Romney or John McCain did when they were in similar positions."
HEILEMANN: "Again, just going even further on this topic I think about the notion of what bill is advocating, I think as you talk more and more to Republicans who want to stop Donald Trump, who will say to you either privately or sometimes publicly they would rather vote for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump and the people who will try to stop him, their attitude is we know what would happen at a contested convention if we took the nomination away from Donald Trump with a plurality of the delegates. We would alienate his supporters and lose the presidential election. But their position is it would be better for us to lose the election than to have Donald Trump tear the party in half as the nominee. Now you can say that’s suicidal, but that is the posture of people and the view is that Trump would have huge negative effects down ballot."
SCARBOROUGH: "Here’s the problem --"
KRISTOL: "And would also lose the election. And shouldn’t win the election, I agree with that."
SCARBOROUGH: "So here’s the problem in 2016. Outside of Harry Reid, I can’t name a lot of politicians that have the er to sway a state. That’s what’s remarkable about Harry Reid. Every close race in Nevada is going to go his way. I’m from Florida. There’s nobody in Florida that has that authority. Nobody in Ohio — I understand what you’re saying, that would have made great sense 20 years ago, I’m just curious —"
KRISTOL: "I’m not —"
SCARBOROUGH: "I’m not saying you are. I want this drama to continue. It’s better for us. But is there somebody that can step up and broker that deal?"
KRISTOL: "No. The candidates have to make their own case, the candidates have to the a better job, as people have said. There will be a lot of money spent exposing Donald Trump’s record. He has been relatively under attack — he’s not been much attacked in paid TV. People like me have written editorial bus voters haven’t seen a lot of ads exposing aspects of trump’s record. The odds are it won’t work. If you were a betting man, you have to bet trump will be the Republican nominee but it’s not inevitable and there will be a vigorous fight over the next few weeks."
BRZEZINSKI: "Bill Kristol, thank you very much."

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