WashPost’s Robinson: Trump Is ‘Driving a Truck Bomb into the Middle of the Republican Party’

While the left constantly goes after conservatives for any and all rhetoric they view as inciting violence, they almost never follow their own prescriptions and that was certainly the case on Tuesday night as MSNBC’s The Last Word featured liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson warning that Trump has marked the end of the Republican as he’s been “driving a truck bomb into the middle of the Republican Party.”

Host Lawrence O’Donnell teased Robinson’s appearance with anticipation right off the top of the show: “Well, it's the end of the Republican Party as we know it. According to my first guest, who has seen it all in American politics, but has never seen anything like Trump.”

Following the show’s usual opening clip video, he read extensively from Robinson’s column in Tuesday’s Post: 

“History will remember 2015 as the year when the Republican Party as we knew it was destroyed by Donald Trump. An entity called the GOP will survive, but it can never be the same....Trump has given voice to the ugliness and anger that the party has spent years encouraging and exploiting. He let the cat out of the bag, and it’s hungry. The party might nominate Trump, in which case the establishment will have lost all control. Or party leaders may have figured out some way to defeat him, in which case they will have lost the allegiance of much of the base. In either event, the GOP we once knew is irredeemably a thing of the past.” 

O’Donnell gave Robinson “the floor” moments later to “[m]ake your case about how this is the end of the GOP as we know it” and thus Robinson began by admitting that his “case is, don't know what's going to happen in 2016, but we kind of know what happened in 2015.”

The liberal columnist and MSNBC political analyst then declared:

We may not believe it, but we know what we saw was Donald Trump, you know, driving a truck bomb into the middle of the Republican Party. I mean, it is — there is now a chasm between Trump's part of the Republican base, his 30 percent, 35 percent, whatever it is, of the Republican base and the party establishment with a whole bunch of people kind of in the middle trying to figure out what's going on. 

As if he had the Republican Party’s best interests at heart, Robinson fretted that he does not foresee “how they put that back together and come out with a Republican Party that we all have known for many years.”

Predicting that “[t]hey can come out with a party, and a lot of people will be in it and it will decide it stands for something and maybe will get itself back together at some point,” Robinson concluded that “it won't be the same party because I think that coalition has been exploded essentially.”

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on December 29 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
December 29, 2015
10:01 p.m. Eastern

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Well, it's the end of the Republican Party as we know it. According to my first guest, who has seen it all in American politics, but has never seen anything like Trump. 

(....)

10:02 p.m. Eastern

O’DONNELL: “History will remember 2015 as the year when the Republican Party as we knew it was destroyed by Donald Trump. An entity called the GOP will survive, but it can never be the same.” That’s not be talking. Every word of what just said came from Eugene Robinson's column today in The Washington Post and Eugene Robinson just happens to be with us tonight so you'll be hearing more directly from him. In his piece, Gene says: “Trump has given voice to the ugliness and anger that the party has spent years encouraging and exploiting. He let the cat out of the bag, and it’s hungry. The party might nominate Trump, in which case the establishment will have lost all control. Or party leaders may have figured out some way to defeat him, in which case they will have lost the allegiance of much of the base. In either event, the GOP we once knew is irredeemably a thing of the past.” Tonight in Iowa, Donald Trump, as usual, told his audience what they want to hear and this time, he was actually talking about his audience. 

DONALD TRUMP: My crowds are the smartest people. I know it. Look at the people. They like to say well, you know, they're lower this, lower that. Oh, they're disgusting. 

O’DONNELL: Here's what we know about the crowds that Trump calls the smartest people. 66 percent of them believe President Obama is Muslim. 61 percent of them believe President Obama is not an American citizen. They're very, very wrong about those two things and those two things about the Trump audience explain the most important things you need to know about the rise of Donald Trump. Joining us now, as promised, Eugene Robinson. Also with us, Congressman Tom Davis, former Republican congressman from Virginia and Joy Reid, MSNBC national correspondent. Okay, Gene, you have the floor. Make your case about how this is the end of the GOP as we know it. It's gone. 

THE WASHINGTON POST’s EUGENE ROBINSON: Well, look, my case is, don't know what's going to happen in 2016, but we kind of know what happened in 2015. We may not believe it, but we know what we saw was Donald Trump, you know, driving a truck bomb into the middle of the Republican Party. I mean, it is — there is now a chasm between Trump's part of the Republican base, his 30 percent, 35 percent, whatever it is, of the Republican base and the party establishment with a whole bunch of people kind of in the middle trying to figure out what's going on. I don't see how they put that back together and come out with a Republican Party that we all have known for many years. They can come out with a party, and a lot of people will be in it and it will decide it stands for something and maybe will get itself back together at some point, but it won't be the same party because I think that coalition has been exploded essentially.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center