MSNBC Analyst Applauds ‘Principled Conservatives’ like Joe Scarborough Who Have Quit GOP

If you’re a regular NewsBusters reader and not chuckling after reading the above headline, kudos to you. Wednesday night on MSNBC’s The Last Word, former CIA official and MSNBC analyst Ned Price expressed hope that more Republicans and “principled conservatives” follow supposed compatriot Joe Scarborough in rejecting Trump by leaving the party.

Price, who donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, fretted that, in light of the Donald Trump Jr.-Russian lawyer meeting, “we are living in this crazy netherworld of Donald Trump where Republicans are still clenching on, clinching to this idea that maybe if they stick with him for long enough, they can get health care and some elements of their agenda.”

The real punchline came when he offered up the Morning Joe co-host and fiancé of Mika Brzezinski as a conservative leading the charge against Trump (while overdoing the degree in which Krauthammer has abandoned the right):

At some point, they will have to grow a spine and have to realize this is an individual who is not good for their country and their party. There are principled conservatives who have already done that, Joe Scarborough, this network, just declared that last night. Others like Charles Krauthammer have essentially agreed. But we have not yet seen that from our elected officials. 

Whether it’s perusing the NewsBusters archives or watching any of the Washington Free Beacon’s supercuts on Scarborough’s love/hate relationship with Trump (here and here), such a descriptor for Scarborough could only be made by someone who’s either not serious or a head-in-the-sand lefty. This space happens to think Price falls into the latter category.

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If that wasn’t enough of an eye roll, he concluded: “The question is, what will precipitate them doing that? Donald Trump, maybe he was prophetic. Maybe it will take him actually shooting someone on Fifth Avenue before they decide to leave his side.”

Faux Republican and The Atlantic writer David Frum also sought to impart knowledge on the GOP, fretting “how disoriented Republicans are this week” as he’s been “following social media or watching Fox News to watch some of the cynical reactions” to the Russia story.

“[T]he rug’s been pulled out of everybody. What Trump has done to the entire Republican Party — what he has so often done to his designated spokesman, made liars out of all of them. They have for months been repeating the no evidence of collusion, no evidence of collusion, it’s a hoax. It’s a made up story. And today, Donald Trump is saying it’s fine. Actually, it’s all true. And it was a good thing. And anybody would do it and now how does a Paul Ryan react? What is the answer he can give? He doesn’t know where this story goes,” Frum added.

Here’s the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on July 12:

MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
July 12, 2017
10:55 p.m. Eastern

CHRISTOPHER WRAY: If I am given the honor of leading this agency I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice, period. full stop. My loyalty is to the constitution and to the rule of law.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Members of Congress take an oath saying the same thing but you’d never know that if you listened to Paul Ryan today. Joining us Ned Price former Senior Director and Spokesperson for the National Security Council and former CIA analyst, also an MSNBC National Security Analyst and back with us David Frum. Ned Price, Paul Ryan, could not bring himself to say that he would not commit a crime with the Russians if the Russians offered him help in his re-election campaign today. Lindsey Graham tried to teach his colleagues this lesson today. a lot of us didn’t think they need to be taught that lesson but apparently they do.

NED PRICE: I hate to say it, Lawrence, but Paul Ryan is emblematic of the Republican Party when it comes to this and Lindsey Graham is not. Republicans have been tripping over themselves trying to find a way to excuse the inexcusable behavior of Donald Trump Jr. Look, my favorite response today came from Dana Rohrabacher who might as well be the Representative from Leningrad who said look, we should listen to everybody no matter who they are and apparently that everybody includes Russian government operatives. But the important point here I think is that this is not new. And in fact, this tendency on the part of Republican leaders and I’m using that term leaders loosely, Republican leaders to protect President Trump against these unexplained Russia ties predates the election. In late summer of last year, the Obama administration approached Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, gave him the full brief on Russian meddling in the hopes he would go along with a bipartisan show of force to show the Russians we would not take in this and to encourage states to work with the Federal government to protect their own systems. He wouldn’t sign on to it. it was an abdication of leadership. He was putting party above country. That is consistently what we’ve seen from Republicans across this country.

O’DONNELL: David, a politician saying I won’t answer a hypothetical, every single campaign question to a candidate is a hypothetical. If you are elected, will you do X. they’re all hypothetical’s.

DAVID FRUM: Well I mentioned in an earlier segment how disoriented Republicans are this week. That it is a bizarre thing if you’re following social media or watching Fox News to watch some of the cynical reactions. But understand, I mean, the rug’s been pulled out of everybody. What Trump has done to the entire Republican Party — what he has so often done to his designated spokesman, made liars out of all of them. They have for months been repeating the no evidence of collusion, no evidence of collusion, it’s a hoax. It’s a made up story. And today, Donald Trump is saying it’s fine. Actually, it’s all true. And it was a good thing. And anybody would do it and now how does a Paul Ryan react? What is the answer he can give? He doesn’t know where this story goes. The story can only get bigger. He must sense this. He’s in a race against time too pass the measures he wants to pass before the bottom falls out. He must also sense he’s losing that race against time. That the ObamaCare is not going to be repealed before the end of July, maybe not ever. That makes the tax cut plan not work. And so the deal he did with Donald Trump, he is not going to get paid. Meanwhile Donald Trump has impunity from Congress.

O’DONNELL: And Ned, this is not just any member of Congress. This is the Speaker of the House. His member in his party look to him for guidance in all things. He was asked publicly for guidance on this. He refused to give the guidance that Lindsey Graham did today.

PRICE: Well, he was asked for guidance whether he would commit a crime in the conduct of his campaign. In any other world, that answer would be a simple no. But we are living in this crazy netherworld of Donald Trump where Republicans are still clenching on, clinching to this idea that maybe if they stick with him for long enough, they can get health care and some elements of their agenda. At some point, they will have to grow a spine and have to realize this is an individual who is not good for their country and their party. There are principled conservatives who have already done that, Joe Scarborough, this network, just declared that last night. Others like Charles Krauthammer have essentially agreed. But we have not yet seen that from our elected officials. The question is, what will precipitate them doing that? Donald Trump, maybe he was prophetic. Maybe it will take him actually shooting someone on Fifth Avenue before they decide to leave his side.

O’DONNELL: We were just going to get David Frum’s answer to what it would take. But we are now out of time.

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