‘Circus’ Host McKinnon Puts Brakes on ‘Blue Wave’ for Dems in Midterms

Appearing on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on Thursday, political strategist and co-host of Showtime’s The Circus, Mark McKinnon, warned anchor Andrea Mitchell against buying into Democratic Party predictions of a “blue wave” in November’s midterm elections, explaining that “a lot of good things are happening for Donald Trump right now.”

Talking about President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greeting American detainees freed from North Korea at Andrews Air Force overnight, McKinnon hailed the Korean peace process: “Well, this may be their best moment yet of the presidency, right? I mean, sure they wanted to be out there. And this is a huge development in what could be his signature achievement, peace in the peninsula.”

 

 

Later in the discussion, he looked ahead to the midterms and observed: “I think that if you think about it hypothetically, as I do as a strategist, and say, listen, if you’re a Republican running in a year in which you have the lowest unemployment in a couple of decades, highest consumer confidence in a couple of decades, peace breaking out in the Korean peninsula, that’s a pretty good peace and prosperity message to run on.”

McKinnon cautioned liberals: “So, everybody’s getting really excited about the blue wave, just take a – hesitate here a moment because we’re still six months out and a lot of good things are happening for Donald Trump right now.”

While promoting his political documentary series earlier in the segment, a clip played of McKinnon’s fellow Circus host John Heilemann grilling Republican Iowa Senator Joni Ernst about the Stormy Daniels scandal: “So Mayor Giuliani went on television last night and said that the President did, in fact, pay the porn star $130,000 and the President basically lied two weeks ago. So what do you think about that?”

Ernst replied: “I guess I can't comment because I don't know the timeline and I’m not really following Stormy Daniels.” Heilemann was dumbfounded: “Really?” The lawmaker confirmed: “No.” The journalist proclaimed: “You’re the only American who’s not.” Ernst shot back: “Yeah, and thank God I’m not, because I’m actually focused on my job, which is in the Senate.”

Heilemann then proceeded to demand Iowa voters react to the controversy. One person after another dismissed the topic as irrelevant. Following the clip, an amazed Mitchell noted: “They believe it, they don’t care.”

McKinnon explained:

Yeah, so I mean, we’re obsessed with it because there’s obviously legal, political implications in the short term, maybe in the long term, but out in America, this is baked in. I mean, people really don’t care about it. If you’re for Trump, you just don’t see it as relevant. If you’re against him, you think it’s a big deal. But it’s baked in and it’s not persuading anybody one way or the other.

Mitchell wondered: “And Iowa is still Trump country?” McKinnon declared: “Oh, yeah, no question about it. It’s solid Trump country, especially out there where Joni Ernst was, out in the rural parts of Iowa.”

Here is a transcript of the May 10 exchange:

12:52 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: Joining me now, Mark McKinnon, former policy adviser and media consultant to President George W. Bush and John McCain. These days, co-host of The Circus on Showtime on Sunday nights. You gotta listen to those ratings.

MARK MCKINNON: You’re such a rock star, you’ve been up at this all night, you’re like a teenager, still going strong.

MITCHELL: A teenager might not be as tired as I am. But, I mean, he was out there, the Vice President was out there. I mean, maybe they napped during the day, I’m not sure they did.

MCKINNON: Well, this may be their best moment yet of the presidency, right? I mean, sure they wanted to be out there. And this is a huge development in what could be his signature achievement, peace in the peninsula. So the title of our show this next week is War and Peace. War on the domestic legal front and peace breaking out on the peninsula.  

MITCHELL: You’re right on it. In fact, we’ve got a clip. Let’s watch.

JOHN HEILEMMAN: So Mayor Giuliani went on television last night and said that the President did, in fact, pay the porn star $130,000 and the President basically lied two weeks ago. So what do you think about that?

SEN. JONI ERNST [R-IA]: I guess I can't comment because I don't know the timeline and I’m not really following Stormy Daniels.

HEILEMANN: Really?

ERNST: No.

HEILEMANN: You’re the only American who’s not.

ERNST: Yeah, and thank God I’m not, because I’m actually focused on my job, which is in the Senate.

HEILEMANN: Okay, fair enough.

ERNST: So thank you.  

HEILEMANN: Do you think the President had an affair with Stormy Daniels, that porn star?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [IOWA VOTER]: Don’t care.

HEILEMANN: Don’t care?

MAN: Don’t care.  

HEILEMANN: Doesn’t matter?  

Do you believe Stormy Daniels had an affair with Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [IOWA VOTER]: Oh, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN B [IOWA VOTER]: Honestly, it’s a personal matter of his. Unless you were there, it’s hard to tell if it actually did happen or not.

MITCHELL: They believe it, they don’t care. I mean, that’s –  

MCKINNON: Yeah, so I mean, we’re obsessed with it because there’s obviously legal, political implications in the short term, maybe in the long term, but out in America, this is baked in. I mean, people really don’t care about it. If you’re for Trump, you just don’t see it as relevant. If you’re against him, you think it’s a big deal. But it’s baked in and it’s not persuading anybody one way or the other.

MITCHELL: In other words, it’s discounted.

MCKINNON: Discounted.

MITCHELL: They saw Access Hollywood and that didn’t matter.

MCKINNON: Yeah. This is not a surprise, this is not a surprise to voters at all.

MITCHELL: And Iowa is still Trump country?    

MCKINNON: Oh, yeah, no question about it. It’s solid Trump country, especially out there where Joni Ernst was, out in the rural parts of Iowa. And you know, I think that if you think about it hypothetically, as I do as a strategist, and say, listen, if you’re a Republican running in a year in which you have the lowest unemployment in a couple of decades, highest consumer confidence in a couple of decades, peace breaking out in the Korean peninsula, that’s a pretty good peace and prosperity message to run on. So, everybody’s getting really excited about the blue wave, just take a – hesitate here a moment because we’re still six months out and a lot of good things are happening for Donald Trump right now.

(...)


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