They haven't—at least so far—accused Donald Trump of "holding a gun to the head" of the GOP. But it's early days yet in the 2024 Republican primary.
MSNBC's Morning Joe certainly headed in that direction today, with Jonathan Lemire claiming that Trump is attempting to "blackmail" the GOP into nominating him.
Lemire noted that, via aides, Trump has floated the possibility that he would not necessarily support the Republican nominee if he's not nominated. If that were to occur, it would "fracture" the GOP vote, ensuring defeat. And so, that possible refusal to support the nominee amounts to "blackmail."
LEMIRE: But he did make that point. That he's going to stay in no matter what. And he's also been, not necessarily from the stage, but otherwise, his aides are putting out there, like, he's not necessarily going to guarantee that he'll support whoever the Republican nominee is, if it's not him.
So he is setting up the groundwork her that he's in this for the long haul, no matter where this race goes. Almost assuring a fractured party and, therefore, defeat for the Republicans in November of 2024, unless he is the nominee.
So he's almost playing a little -- he's doing a little blackmail here with the GOP, with all the legal peril surrounding him.
This underlines why liberal journalists can't really quit pushing Trump, because they would love to fracture the GOP, have Trump run like Ross Perot, and win again in 2024.
And how strange is the spectacle of a "news" show flyspecking the Republican race from a peanut gallery filled exclusively with non-Republicans? Willie Geist hosted today's show in the absence of Joe and Mika. He's the closest thing Morning Joe has to a fair-and-balanced voice, though in more recent times he has become ardently anti-Trump. Then there was confirmed liberal Jonathan Lemire. And to top off the trio, none other than Jen Psaki---Biden's former press secretary who is soon to debut her own MSNBC show.
Would it kill Morning Joe to put an actual Republican on the panel? Maybe the MSNBC equivalent of CNN's Scott Jennings? It certainly would make discussions livelier, and more informative about what is actually happening inside Republican hearts and minds!
On Morning Joe, Jonathan Lemire says that Donald Trump is attempting to "blackmail" Republicans into nominating him was sponsored in part by GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Polident, and Abbvie, maker of Skyrizi.
Here's the transcript.
6:12 am ET
WILLIE GEIST: Jon mentioned the line from former President Trump: "I am your retribution." It was kind of the core of his argument about grievance. Here's exactly what he said at CPAC.
DONALD TRUMP: Our enemies are desperate to stop us because they know that we are the only ones who can stop them. They're not coming after me. They're coming after you. And I'm just standing in their way. That's all I'm doing. I'm standing in their way. If you put me back in the White House, their reign is over. Their reign will be over, and they know it. And America will be a free nation once again. I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution. I am your retribution. Not going to let this happen.
GEIST: So, Jen, it really is extraordinary to listen to a former President of the United States, a guy who lived in the White House just over two years ago, frame himself as the outsider. Put me, send me to Washington. Put me in the White House. And I'll be the one who can take it back for you. I'm the one who can stand in the way of they, them, whoever he's talking about there. Not a surprising speech from him.
JEN PSAKI: No.
GEIST: We know that's what he says all the time. Still an extraordinary lane for him to try to be in.
PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it certainly is. And I think what I heard there, Willie, was it wasn't about party, it was about him! So, them and they could be everyone! I mean, he also had some language in his speech where he kind of said, we're not going to go back to the party of, and he named a number of prominent Republicans from the past.
I also think one of the most interesting things he said this week, not surprising, again, was when he was asked in a gaggle about what he would do if he were indicted. And what he said was, oh, absolutely -- whether he would leave -- absolutely, I wouldn't think about leaving.
Meaning, this isn't even about winning the Republican primary. This is about him, him leading his movement and his intention, as we've all been speculating, to stay in the race no matter what happens.
JONATHAN LEMIRE: Yeah, and to pick up on that point, Willie, this is a lot of same old, same old from Trump on Saturday, at really great length. Nearly two hours. Some people in the back were leaving as he was talking.
But the one thing that was new, he went through all of the investigations he's currently facing. And there are many. So that took some time. And he, of course, discredited them.
But he did make that point. That he's going to stay in no matter what. And he's also been, not necessarily from the stage, but otherwise, his aides are putting out there, like, he's not necessarily going to guarantee that he'll support whoever the Republican nominee is, if it's not him.
So he is setting up the groundwork here that he's in this for the long haul, no matter where this race goes. Almost assuring a fractured party and, therefore, defeat for the Republicans in November of 2024, unless he is the nominee.
So he's almost playing a little [inaudible], he's doing a little blackmail here with the GOP, with all the legal peril surrounding him.
GEIST: Yeah, that is a big piece of the story for him, going into 2024.