Nicolle Wallace Labels Anti-Trump Effort ‘Illegitimate,’ Then Hits GOP for Not Speaking Out Sooner

Appearing on Monday’s NBC Today, political analyst Nicolle Wallace condemned Republicans for not speaking out sooner against Donald Trump, following instances of violence at rallies for the GOP frontrunner. However, only one week earlier, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Wallace condemned Trump’s opposition within the party as “illegitimate.”

On Today, Wallace told co-host Savannah Guthrie: “I mean, the whole notion that Republicans waited until the last 48 hours to say the things they're saying about Trump. As much responsibility lies with the folks running against Trump as lies with the Trump campaign this morning for where we are.”

Compare that statement to her March 7 Morning Joe comments: “There are legitimate anti-Trump movements, they are the candidacies of his opponents. And then there are illegitimate anti-Trump movements. I think to the degree the party bosses look like they’re on the scale, those are completely illegitimate anti-Trump efforts.”

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On Monday, Wallace also noted that the violence at Trump events was “going to become a referendum on the people now that have endorsed Trump.”

On February 1, Wallace all but endorsed Trump over Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whom she accused of having “a lack of civility”:  

I'll give you the honest scoop. I am an establishment Republican....what the establishment has sort of concluded, if I may deign to speak for the establishment tonight, is that they could live with a President Trump or nominee Trump a lot easier than a nominee in Ted Cruz. That Ted Cruz's lack of civility toward his colleagues, not just in the Senate, I mean, that is well known.

Perhaps Wallace should examine her own role in boosting Trump before casting stones at other Republicans.

Here is a transcript of the March 14 exchange on Today:

7:11 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And now let's turn to NBC News political analyst Nicolle Wallace, we’ve also got MSNBC host and political correspondent Steve Kornacki over at the board. We'll get to you and your maps in a moment, Steve. Nicolle, I mean, just take a step out and let's look at this last few days in the Republican campaign. What's going on here? And what does it say about our future?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Chaos on the Campaign Trail; Challengers Criticize Trump for Inciting Violence]

NICOLLE WALLACE: Nothing very good. You know, I worked for a president for eight years who was protested around the world, and never once did I hear him defend the use of violence on any side. I mean, the whole notion that Republicans waited until the last 48 hours to say the things they're saying about Trump. As much responsibility lies with the folks running against Trump as lies with the Trump campaign this morning for where we are.

MATT LAUER: “I might look into paying the legal fees,” for a man who sucker punched a guy at a rally. It's extraordinary.

WALLACE: It’s extraordinary. And you know, Dr. Ben Carson is, as you said, so careful with his words. This is really going to become a referendum on the people now that have endorsed Trump. Chris Christie is one of the first establishment figures to join his cause. You’ve now got Ben Carson, who ran one of the most civil campaigns for the presidency in history. It will now be to them – if Donald Trump comes off the campaign trail as he’s expected to do after tomorrow's results – if he can regroup and set a new tone, it will be an extraordinary test for his candidacy.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC