Maddow: Trump’s Speech Could Be ‘Gateway Drug’ for KKK Becoming Mainstream in GOP

After her MSNBC colleagues determined that Donald Trump’s convention speech Thursday night was a message derived from talk radio to “white America” that he would “protect” them, convention co-host Rachel Maddow stated just after the midnight Eastern mark that Trump serves as “a gateway drug” to transforming the GOP into one featuring people like David Duke (and by extension the KKK).

Thankfully, MSNBC political analyst and establishment Republican Steve Schmidt chose not to attack his own party but rally to their defense in firmly asserting that such a scenario won’t happen and called on Trump to find the wherewithal to condemn that element of his supporters.

Maddow built up to this conclusion by claiming that David Duke’s effusive praise for the Trump speech had been “getting traction on social media” as he concluded on Twitter that he “couldn’t have said it better.”

With that as her backdrop, Maddow launched into her prediction that Trump’s candidacy might be a vehicle for which white supremacists like Duke could use to make themselves in the GOP’s “mainstream”:

[A] lot of people who are critical of Donald Trump generally look at praise like that from someone like Donald Duke and wonder if he's a gateway drug, if there is something beyond Donald Trump himself, that means a much greater transformation of the Republican Party into something that is going to be new to mainstream politics.

While he’s chosen in this election to attack conservatives like Mark Levin, former McCain/Palin campaign manager Steve Schmidt immediately fired back at Maddow in defense of Republicans: “Look, David Duke is a disgusting figure. He’s a racist, a bigot, he’s a cancer on the body politics and he's expressing himself as he has a First Amendment right to do, but I don't think that that has anything to do with Donald Trump.”

Of course, Maddow didn’t relent and kept pressing Schmidt that “there's a pattern of people on the really, really, really far right — the racist right saying that Trump’s giving the world more room for their views” to which Schmidt emphasized that, even though Trump has shown little reluctance to do so, he should “repudiate all the racists and bigots on the periphery of campaign.”

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The relevant portions of the transcript from the 12:00 a.m. Eastern hour of MSNBC’s Republican National Convention coverage on July 22 can be found below.

MSNBC: Republican National Convention
July 22, 2016
12:02 a.m. Eastern

RACHEL MADDOW: Chris Matthews in Cleveland. Steve Schmidt here with us. I’m just looking, trying to monitor and pay attention to some of the reaction tonight. One thing that’s getting traction on social media is the response to Donald Trump’s speech from David Duke, the former Klan leader who is thinking about running for Congress or some elected office again. He says great Trump speech, America first, stop wars, defeat the corrupt elites, protect our borders, fair trade, couldn't have said it better, meaning couldn’t have said it better myself and a lot of people who are critical of Donald Trump generally look at praise like that from someone like Donald Duke and wonder if he's a gateway drug, if there is something beyond Donald Trump himself, that means a much greater transformation of the Republican Party into something that is going to be new to mainstream politics. 

STEVE SCHMIDT: Look, David Duke is a disgusting figure. He’s a racist, a bigot, he’s a cancer on the body politics and he's expressing himself as he has a First Amendment right to do, but I don't think that that has anything to do with Donald Trump, but I don’t think you can hold him — 

MADDOW: But there's a pattern of people on the really, really, really far right — the racist right saying that Trump’s giving the world more room for their views.

SCHMIDT: I think Donald Trump would be well served to repudiate all the racists and bigots on the periphery of campaign. It’s something he should do and he should do it soon and he should make it crystal clear.

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Convention Watch Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Events 2016 Republican Convention Media Bias Debate Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racial Preferences Racism MSNBC Other MSNBC Video Government & Press KKK Rachel Maddow David Duke Donald Trump
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