Chuck Todd: Is Trump ‘Reap What You Sow Issue’ for GOP?

Building on comments he made on NBC’s Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd wondered if Donald Trump’s attack on John McCain were a “reap what you sow issue here for the Republican Party?” 

Todd brought up the “reap what you sow” argument during an interview with Rick Perry as he played up how the “party embraced Donald Trump four years ago...during his whole birther craze at the time and you actively reached out for him. In hindsight was that a mistake for the party in general to embrace Trump four years ago?” 

Perry, who has been one of Trump’s harshest critics, rejected Todd’s assumption and instead chose to highlight how as governor of Texas he made a conscious effort to reach out to minorities, something that the national Republican Party should do as well. 

During the show’s panel discussion, Todd repeated a line he made on Today that numerous Republican campaigns were “desperately hoping this is the moment” when they could finally go after Trump, which gave colleague Andrea Mitchell an opportunity to complain that the GOP never condemned Trump for his inflammatory rhetoric about Mexican immigrants: 

I think the Republicans -- it's interesting to note that as Democrats are saying, they did not stand up against him when he talked to so abusively about President Obama -- With the birthers. Collectively. And the Republican candidates this is year did not-- collectively there were some, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio obviously...Rick Perry. But all of them collectively did not stand up when he's talked about Mexico and immigrants with such racial rhetoric. It was only when they -- when he attacked John McCain that the group-

Todd then asked Thomas Friedman of the New York Times whether or not the GOP “reap[s] what they sow” regarding their supposed support Trump, which gave AEI’s Danielle Pletka and opportunity to call out the Meet the Press moderator for being “unfair to the Republicans”: 

I think you were being a little unfair to the Republicans. I think everybody is at the beginning stages of this process. It started too early. It's starting earlier and earlier every year. There's more and more time for clowns, for ridiculous behavior.

And I think the Republicans haven't found their ground yet. And that’s one of the reasons why when he came out---I don’t think there’s anybody in the Republican Party who thinks calling Hispanics--I don't think there's anybody in the mainstream of the Republican Party that thinks that it is okay to denounce one group as rapists.   

See relevant transcript below.

NBC’s Meet the Press

July 19, 2015

CHUCK TODD: Is this a reap what you sow issue here for the Republican Party? There was an -- the party embraced Donald Trump four years ago. Mitt Romney sought his endorsement. A lot of you did one-on-one meetings courting Donald Trump back in 2011 after he dropped out, during his whole birther craze at the time and you actively reached out for him. In hindsight was that a mistake for the party in general to embrace Trump four years ago? 

RICK PERRY: Well, his Twitter handle is TheRealDonaldTrump and I'll suggest to you, we're seeing the real Donald Trump now. 

TODD: And that is what? 

PERRY: Well, we're seeing an individual who's more interested in throwing invectives and this hyperbolic rhetoric out there rather than laying out solutions. Listen, we need somebody, as I laid out ten days ago, two weeks ago, about how the Republican Party needs to be reaching out to people of different cultures and races and ethnicities.

What we've done in the state of Texas, for instance, to let African-Americans keep more of what they work for, graduate from high school at some of the highest rates, as a matter of fact, at the highest rate in America. That's what the Republican Party needs to be about. That's what we need to hear. And frankly, that's what Americans are begging for. A leader that has solutions to give them hope that the best days are in front of us as a country. 

--

TODD: Look, I’ve talked to campaigns who are desperately hoping this is the moment. 

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, in fact the way he really hurt himself with the group, at least the evangelicals in Iowa last night was not about John McCain. What people were talking about afterwards is what he said about communion, what he said about confession and God, and what he said about his marriages. So that's the rhetoric and the language that he has to worry about in Iowa. That's what may have really hurt him with that group. I think the Republicans -- it's interesting to note that as Democrats are saying, they did not stand up against him when he talked to so abusively about President Obama -- 

TODD: As collectively, there were plenty – 

MITCHELL: With the birthers. Collectively. And the Republican candidates this is year did not-- collectively there were some, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio obviously. 

TODD: Rick Perry. 

MITCHELL: Rick Perry. But all of them collectively did not stand up when he's talked about Mexico and immigrants with such racial rhetoric. It was only when they -- when he attacked John McCain that the group -- 

TODD: Let me bring Tom in here because Tom, you write about this larger sometimes narrative about the state of American politics. And I put the question to Rick Perry, did the Republican Party reap what they sow, but are we reaping what we sow? The reality show atmosphere of how politics gets covered, where we have made it easier for Donald Trump to blow up our campaign process? 

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Well, we've turned politics into sports, Chuck. It's PSPN, politics sports network, not just ESPN, and when you do that, someone takes it to its logical conclusion—

TODD: That’s what you just did. 

FRIEDMAN: And that's what Trump is doing. The tragedy is it's happening at a time when we're in an incredible high speed in terms of a change and the pace of change.

TODD: Globally, millenials, generationally, this is all over the place. 

FRIEDMAN: Governance matters, Chuck, all the time but right now, good governance matters more than ever.

TODD: Danielle, I interrupted you. You wanted to pop in on this. 

DANIELLE PLETKA:  I think you were being a little unfair to the Republicans. I think everybody is at the beginning stages of this process. It started too early. It's starting earlier and earlier every year. There's more and more time for clowns, for ridiculous behavior. And I think the Republicans haven't found their ground yet. And that’s one of the reasons why when he came out---I don’t think there’s anybody in the Republican Party who thinks calling Hispanics-

BILL RICHARDSON: Trump called Hispanics rapists. He said that. That was wrong and it should have been denounced by everybody in the Republican Party. 

PLETKA: I don't think there's anybody in the mainstream of the Republican Party that thinks that it is okay to denounce one group as rapists.  

RICHARDSON: Ted Cruz defended him. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential NBC Meet the Press Rick Perry Chuck Todd Andrea Mitchell Donald Trump

Sponsored Links