Chuck Todd: If Trump Goes Third Party, He Will Make Hillary President

During an appearance on Sunday’s Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd did his best to play up a doomsday scenario in which Donald Trump would run as a third party candidate for president. 

Speaking to colleague Carson Daly, Todd insisted if Trump “runs as a third party it likely makes Hillary Clinton president, or whoever the Democratic nominee is.” 

The NBC News Political Director initially conceded that he’s “not going to try to predict anything Trump might do” especially because “I think there's a lot of us that thought he wouldn't get as far as he did. We didn't think he would ever file. That he wouldn't turn in his financial disclosure.” 

Todd then made sure to suggest that Trump would secretly love to run as a third party candidate and take credit for helping to elect Hillary Clinton: 

I could picture him deciding if he feels unwelcome with the Republicans, if he runs as a third party it likely makes Hillary Clinton president, or whoever the Democratic nominee is. And you know what, in his mind he would say I'm the reason why she elected and I could picture him wanting to have that honor. 

On ABC’s Good Morning America, This Week moderator George Stephanopoulos was much more reserved in his assessment of Trump’s impact on the 2016 race, as he chose not to bring up a potential third party run for the billionaire: 

You still have these huge numbers of Republican voters say they're not going to consider voting for him. But he's tapping into something very, very real. This dissatisfaction, this anger out there in the electorate. He speaks like an outsider. He's blunt. The big challenge for the other candidates is how not to get drowned out by Donald Trump. 

And that’s why he’s getting so much support right now. Now I think the big challenge for the other candidates is how not to get drowned out by Donald Trump. And how do they harness that same energy he's tapping into right now. Eventually a lot of his votes are going to go elsewhere. No one else is able to grab that same kind of energy right now. 

See relevant transcripts below. 

NBC’s Today 

July 26, 2015

CARSON DALY: Let’s move over to Donald Trump, who’s in Iowa. He signaled this week that he wants to run for a Republican but he is prepared to run as a third party candidate. Do you believe he'll actually do that if he doesn't get the Republican nomination? 

TODD: Look, I’m not going to try to predict anything Trump might do. I think there's a lot of us that thought he wouldn't get as far as he did. We didn't think he would ever file. That he wouldn't turn in his financial disclosure. So, I’m through making predictions about how long Trump stays wherever. I think he's reportedly looking into how he could get on the ballot in 50 states as an independent candidate.

He has the resources to do it. It would cost anywhere from $3-10 million to do it. And Carson, I could picture him deciding if he feels unwelcome with the Republicans, if he runs as a third party it likely makes Hillary Clinton president, or whoever the Democratic nominee is. And you know what, in his mind he would say I'm the reason why she elected and I could picture him wanting to have that honor. 

DALY: It’s a good point. Chuck thanks as always. 

--

ABC’s Good Morning America
July 26, 2015

DAN HARRIS: For more on these two frontrunners, let's bring in ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos who will be hosting This Week later this morning. So, just a week ago, you had Donald Trump insulting John McCain's war record, and a lot of people were saying, okay so now this is probably the end, but here he is, still going strong, so at this point in time, in your view, does he have a real chance of winning the Republican nomination? Or, is he going to go the way of Herman Cain in 2012? 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I don’t know if he’ll go the way of Herman Cain but I don't think he has a chance for the nomination. You still have these huge numbers of Republican voters say they're not going to consider voting for him. But he's tapping into something very, very real. This dissatisfaction, this anger out there in the electorate. He speaks like an outsider. He's blunt.

The big challenge for the other candidates is how not to get drowned out by Donald Trump. And that’s why he’s getting so much support right now. Now I think the big challenge for the other candidates is how not to get drowned out by Donald Trump. And how do they harness that same energy he's tapping into right now. Eventually a lot of his votes are going to go elsewhere. No one else is able to grab that same kind of energy right now.

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential NBC Today Chuck Todd Hillary Clinton Donald Trump

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