Source: Hot Air
It would be great. And he’ll probably do it eventually, after a mob smashes up an FBI office somewhere while chanting “Hang Merrick Garland” or whatever.
Fox News Digital asked Trump for comment this morning and he offered to do whatever he can to cool public passions. “If there is anything we can do to help, I, and my people, would certainly be willing to do that…. It is a very dangerous time for our country,” he said in one part of the interview. Then he went on to accuse the FBI of “breaking into” his house, speculated that they might have planted evidence, and warned that “[t]he people of this country are not going to stand for another scam,” with “terrible things” potentially to come.
All of which seems unhelpful if the goal is to calm people down.
Steve Doocy has had an interesting week on “Fox & Friends.” A few days ago, while the GOP toed the line that searching Mar-a-Lago to recover improperly retained documents was the end of the republic, he sounded a few skeptical notes. That’s unusual for anyone who works in conservative media but really unusual for someone who hosts one of Trump’s favorite shows.
Seriously what has gotten into Steve Doocy this week? pic.twitter.com/05oOvOrT9M
— The Recount (@therecount) August 12, 2022
He was back at it this morning, urging Trump to turn down the heat for real, not just as a veiled threat in a back-channel message to Merrick Garland:
This morning Fox’s Steve Doocy repeatedly criticized the right’s “harmful rhetoric” against the FBI (rhetoric that’s been frequent on Fox). He seemed to be speaking to Trump here: “It would be great if he called for an end to the violent rhetoric against federal law enforcement.” pic.twitter.com/NPk2YncaGE
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 15, 2022
You can keep your Shep Smiths and Carl Camerons. The guy whose true feelings about Fox I’m most eager to hear after he leaves the network is Steve effin’ Doocy. He was the most outspoken advocate on the network for the COVID vaccines last year, now here he is resisting the narrative that Trump is a “deep state” martyr because of the search. Slowly but surely, he’s breaking away!
Or maybe he just has a conscience and is understandably disturbed by what he’s been reading in the news:
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of a spike in threats to federal law enforcement officials since the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, two senior law enforcement officials told NBC News.
“The FBI and DHS have observed an increase in threats to federal law enforcement and to a lesser extent other law enforcement and government officials following the FBI’s recent execution of a search warrant in Palm Beach, Florida,” the document, dated Friday, reads, according to one official…
The FBI also warned that it has seen personal identifying information of possible targets of violence, such as home addresses, as well as identification of family members as additional targets, the official added. All three sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.
One reason I’m skeptical of the “Trump just locked up the nomination!” spin following the Mar-a-Lago search is that odds are fair that some unhinged fan of his is going to kill someone over this — there’s already been an attempt — and that’ll jog the memories of the non-MAGA American majority. Oh, right: Trump is a chaos agent whose movement thrives on threats and intimidation. Maybe we shouldn’t make him the most powerful person in the country again.
The backlash that follows will inevitably lead some Republican voters to start to tilt back towards DeSantis on electability grounds. Look no further than another Fox host, Laura Ingraham, for the logic they’ll use:
People conflate Trump with people’s overall sense of happiness in the country. Donald Trump’s been a friend of mine for 25 years, and I’m always very open about this on my show. But, you know, we’ll see whether that’s what the country wants. The country I think is so exhausted, they’re exhausted by the battle, the constant battle, that they may believe that, well, maybe it’s time to turn the page if we can get someone who has all Trump’s policies, who’s not Trump. Right?
“I love Trump — but he has so much baggage. He can’t win a general election anymore. They destroyed him!” That’ll be the excuse used by GOPers who want a different nominee but don’t have the balls to admit it to their Trump-loving friends. And his latest legal troubles strengthen that excuse, even if for the moment everyone on the right is compelled to stand in solidarity with his claims of being the innocent victim of a witch hunt.
I’m also skeptical that Ron DeSantis is maneuvering to make himself Trump’s “understudy” rather than his opponent in a 2024 primary. DeSantis is an opportunist, and he’s reacted to the Mar-a-Lago search by doing what any good opportunist would do: He’s kept his options open. He denounced the incident in fiery terms, as all Republicans with national ambitions were required to do, but I think he’s playing the long game here. “Let’s see where things stand on New Year’s Day,” I suspect he’s telling himself. If the GOP really has rallied to Trump by then, making the odds against a successful primary challenge prohibitive, then yeah, I think DeSantis will reluctantly embrace the “understudy” role and start campaigning to be Trump’s VP nominee instead.
But for all the hype about Republicans ditching him for Trump, there’s been no momentous shift in the polling. A few days ago, Politico found that Trump’s lead over DeSantis had grown from 53/23 before the Mar-a-Lago search to 57/17 afterward, an underwhelming bounce that may or may not prove durable as other news events replace the search in voters’ minds. If DeSantis wins his race in Florida by, say, 10 points this fall and can boast of having pulled off a landslide in what’s supposed to be the ultimate swing state, that achievement may convince undecided Republicans to prioritize electability in the next nominee instead of martyrdom.
And like I say, if any crazed Trumpers end up killing people, the public sense that we can’t do this again for another four years will be make an impression on Republican voters even if most of them are in fact prepared to do this again for another four years.
So, no, DeSantis isn’t licked yet. By siding with Trump on the search, he simply passed the litmus test he was required to pass this week to remain viable in a potential primary challenge to Trump should circumstances begin to favor him again. Stay tuned.