Ex-McCain Adviser Schmidt: Non-Trump Nomination at Brokered RNC Could Wipe Out GOP

In the early hours of Wednesday morning on MSNBC following the second edition of Super Tuesday, longtime Republican establishment operative and former McCain presidential campaign adviser Steve Schmidt warned his fellow cohorts to not wrestle the 2016 GOP presidential nod from Donald Trump because it’d danger the future of the party.

Schmidt’s lecturing of the party came as co-host Rachel Maddow asked him if “there an active market right now in people who are good at things like convention organizing, delegate work, the types of insider play that will be necessary to win a fight at the convention.”

Referring to fellow panelist and Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg, Schmidt replied that “Washington D.C. is filled with people who have the expertise to execute a plan laid out by somebody like Ben who would be able to look at the rules, to navigate the results and get to the outcome and the scenario that Ben just laid out.”

As he did when Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) removed his name from consideration for the House speakership, Schmidt acted as though he has nothing to do with the so-called Washington establishment (whatever that means anymore) and chided this group for its inability to understand the people:

Putting that aside though, I think that there's a reality here, and the reality is this, the Republican Party has seen a rebellion against its establishment, against its leadership in Washington, D.C. by the grass roots. Can you imagine a scenario where the result of the election would be that the person who got the most votes and most delegates and let's say he was short narrowly of the threshold to be nominated that it would be arrested away and the nomination would be given to whom? To a Washington insider. 

He cited Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio as two such possibilities but blasted those choices as “fantastical, and the consequences of it would be I think hard to — hard to imagine.” 

“It could put the House of Representatives majority into jeopardy. It could put the U.S. Senate majority into jeopardy. It would absolutely fracture the Republican Party,” Schmidt concluded.

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016 on March 9 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016
March 9, 2016
12:36 p.m. Eastern

RACHEL MADDOW: Steve Schmidt, as somebody who knows the Republican sort of consulting class very well and you know a lot of professional political operatives, is there an active market right now in people who are good at things like convention organizing, delegate work, the types of insider play that will be necessary to win a fight at the convention if the other campaigns are going to try to have an effort to take it in Cleveland?  Are people on market for that kind of work? 

STEVE SCHMIDT: Look, Washington D.C. is filled with people who have the expertise to execute a plan laid out by somebody like Ben who would be able to look at the rules, to navigate the results and get to the outcome and the scenario that Ben just laid out. Putting that aside though, I think that there's a reality here, and the reality is this, the Republican Party has seen a rebellion against its establishment, against its leadership in Washington, D.C. by the grass roots. Can you imagine a scenario where the result of the election would be that the person who got the most votes and most delegates and let's say he was short narrowly of the threshold to be nominated that it would be arrested away and the nomination would be given to whom? To a Washington insider. Perhaps to Mitt Romney? To Marco Rubio? I think it's fantastical, and the consequences of it would be I think hard to — hard to imagine. It could put the House of Representatives majority into jeopardy. It could put the U.S. Senate majority into jeopardy. It would absolutely fracture the Republican Party. 

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