As Libs Battle on MSNBC, Wallace Reminds: Trump Is ‘Real’ Enemy to Be ‘Killed’ Politically

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While waiting for the results in the Iowa caucus on Monday night, MSNBC turned into a fight between liberals as the network’s journalists and guests fought over “oligarch” Michael Bloomberg vs. Bernie Sanders.

But it was former Republican and Deadline: White House host Nicolle Wallace who provide the awkward moment of the early evening. She repeatedly referred to Donald Trump as the “enemy” and then made a political metaphor about how “a Republican would take Mike [Bloomberg's] money and say, ‘Help me kill Trump.’” 

An uncomfortable Brian Williams joked, “Uh, look at the time.” This came after Wallace, worried about all the Democratic fighting, tried to re-frame the battle, pointing out who the real “enemy” is: 

 

 

The enemy is the guy in the Oval Office who thinks there are good people on both sides in Charlottesville. The enemy is the guy in the Oval Office who just got a permission slip to cheat in presidential elections. The enemy is a guy who calls his generals dopes and losers who he didn’t want to go into battle with. I am nauseous when I see Democrats fight amongst themselves. I know that Republicans get no say —  I've said I'll vote —  if you pick an automobile, I will vote for it. I feel so wary when I see these really, really intense fights around someone trying to help y'all win. 

This exchange followed as MSNBC political contributor Jason Johnson of The Root called for calm:  

JOHNSON: You can fight Mike Bloomberg on the issues. You can talk about stop and frisk. You can talk about how the people who worked for Bloomberg had to sign an NDA so they can't talk about things he's done. That is all fair and reasonable. But when you reduce this to name calling instead of policy, you're doing the exact thing Bernie supporters complain about. It's like JUST calling him a socialist. 

WALLACE: Can I tell you what Republicans would do? A Republican would take Mike's money and say, “Help me kill Trump.” 

JOHNSON: Exactly. 

WILLIAMS: [Seems a little uncomfortable.] Uh, look at the time. [Wallace laughs.]  

This outburst came after Bernie Sanders for President national co-chair Nina Turner called Bloomberg an “oligarch,” adding: “We should be ashamed of that as Americans. People who believe in democracy, that the oligarches, if you have more money you can buy your way.” 

As soon as the interview ended, Johnson sprung to his defense: 

I disagree with a lot of things Mike Bloomberg has done as a mayor. But oligarchy in our particular terminology makes you think of a rich person who got their money off of oil in Russia, who is taking advantage of a broken system. Mike Bloomberg is a rich guy. America is full of rich guys.

Earlier in the night, MSNBC’s Steve Schmidt attacked “sociopath” Trump as having unlimited power. 

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more: 

MSNBC's Iowa coverage
02/03/2020
7:35 PM ET

NINA TURNER (Bernie Sanders for President national co-chair): We should be ashamed of that as Americans. People who believe in democracy, that the oligarches, if you have more money you can buy your way. To your point — 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think Mike Bloomberg is an oligarches? Come on. 

TURNER: He is. He skipped Iowa. Iowans should be insulted. Not going to New Hampshire. Buying his way into this race period. The DNC changed the rules. They didn't change it for Senator Harris. They didn't change it for Senator Booker. They didn't change it for Secretary Castro. 

(....)

7:39 PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And because Jason Johnson had such a reaction to something just said, I'd like you to react to something just said. 

JASON JOHNSON: Yeah, look, calling Mike Bloomberg an oligarch has implications in this country that I think are unfair and unreasonable. I disagree with a lot of things Mike Bloomberg has done as a mayor. But oligarchy in our particular terminology makes you think of a rich person who got their money off of oil in Russia, who is taking advantage of a broken system. Mike Bloomberg is a rich guy. America is full of rich guys. And Just because you're rich doesn't mean that you're an oligarch who abuses his power. The power that Mike Bloomberg was given power by the voters of New York. So, I think using that kind of terminology — Fine. It's great in the Iowa caucuses and the Bernie supporters are going to love that thing. It ain't the kind of language you should be using. I thin itt's dismissive, unfair and the kind of thing that blows up in your face if you become the nominee and you have to work with Mike Bloomberg three or four months from now. That's the issue Sanders people never want to remember. 
7:49

NICOLLE WALLACE: I think this is a really important debate and I'm really glad you didn't let it get boiled down to the use of a word. It is not about a word. Here's the other -- and I understand different views about the system. The enemy is the guy in the Oval Office who thinks there are good people on both sides in Charlottesville. The enemy is the guy in the Oval Office who just got a permission slip to cheat in presidential elections. The enemy is a guy who calls his generals dopes and losers who he didn’t want to go into battle with. I am nauseous when I see Democrats fight amongst themselves. I know that Republicans get no say —  I've said I'll vote —  if you pick an automobile, I will vote for it. I feel so wary when I see these really, really intense fights around someone trying to help y'all win. 

JOHNSON: My thing is this. Like I said, I am an American citizen. I have no particular loyalty to the Democratic Party or any other party like that. But what I do think is this: I do think if you're trying to build a coalition to get Donald Trump out of office, this sort of cute red meat stuff is fine on Twitter. But it's not how you're actually supposed to be operating a campaign. You can fight Mike Bloomberg on the issues. You can talk about stop and frisk. You can talk about how the people who worked for Bloomberg had to sign an NDA so they can't talk about things he's done. That is all fair and reasonable. But when you reduce this to name calling instead of policy, you're doing the exact thing Bernie supporters complain about. It's like JUST calling him a socialist. 

WALLACE: Can I tell you what Republicans would do? A Republican would take Mike's money and say, “Help me kill Trump.” 

JOHNSON: Exactly. 

WILLIAMS: [Seems a little uncomfortable.] Uh, look at the time. [Wallace laughs.]  

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential MSNBC Video Nicolle Wallace
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