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On Tuesday's edition of MSNBC's "OutFront," longtime Republican strategist Mike Shields was cornered by anchor Kate Bolduan and fellow commentator Ashley Allison after he tried to defend House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for his statement on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago meeting with neo-Nazi livestreamer Nick Fuentes.
"You advised Kevin McCarthy, you know him well," said Bolduan. "What is McCarthy doing here with that statement today? He knew he was likely going to be asked. He did not outright condemn what Trump did."
"Yes, he did," said Shields. "I mean, he flat-out condemned it and said no one should be meeting with Fuentes ... I don't know how much stronger you can get standing at the White House for the incoming Speaker-elect to make a statement on this."
"You could go the route of Mike Pence actually, and that would be stronger, and everyone kind of agrees that it would be stronger," said Bolduan. "You could go the route of Mitt Romney, who called it 'disgusting' or just say what Mike Pence said. He thinks [Trump] should apologize, he should denounce those individuals. He said it showed very poor judgment. He could go that route."
"So you're going to sort of split hairs on how strongly someone condemns something. If they're condemning it, they're condemning it, they're saying it was wrong," said Shields. "Kevin McCarthy is the incoming Speaker-elect ... he's not going to get into presidential politics." He then said McCarthy will remove "anti-Semitic" Democrats from committees and "has a very strong record on this."
Allison, a former Democratic strategist, objected to Shields' characterization.
"'Splitting hairs' on condemning anti-Semitism?" said Allison. "You can be as strong as you want and you can say it over and over and over again, and that's what true leaders do. You should say to Donald Trump, you should not meet with him, whether you knew who it was or not, there are so many more ways that Kevin McCarthy could be a stronger leader and condemn these actions. I don't expect him to do that because he is playing the game of politics for himself. He barely is going to be the Speaker of the House, and he wants to keep that. And he wants to play both sides ... I'm not going to laud Kevin McCarthy tonight or any time in the near future as a hero because he said, oh, Donald Trump didn't know who Fuentes was. But there's no space for that in the Republican Party. Say more, do more, be a leader."
Mike Shields and Ashley Allison on Kevin McCarthy www.youtube.com
On CNN Tuesday, following the convictions of the far-right militia the Oath Keepers' leaders for seditious conspiracy and various other offenses in connection with the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti broke down how the verdict spells trouble for key allies of former President Donald Trump.
In particular, Mariotti zeroed in on longtime Trump associate Roger Stone, who was flanked by Oath Keepers acting as bodyguards in D.C. shortly before they joined the attack.
"We know that Oath Keepers were in contact with individuals close to former President Trump, including Roger Stone and Michael Flynn," said anchor Jake Tapper. "How might this verdict today, this guilty verdict for two of the five seditious conspiracy and guilty for all five for obstructing official proceedings, a potential 20 years in prison each for the seditious conspiracy charge — how could this impact Donald Trump's associates like Roger Stone and Mike Flynn?"
"Well, they have to be concerned, because — particularly the individuals, like you said, Roger Stone, who have very specific and personal ties to these groups," said Mariotti. "You know, Jake, when I represent clients who are, you know, part of a series of cases that are getting charged, I usually track the different cases and sentences and the results in a spreadsheet and keep my clients up to date on how all those cases are going, working their way through the courts. If I represented Roger Stone here and I was giving him advice, I would tell him, you know, we need to be very concerned about your involvement, your relationships with these groups."
All of this matters, said Mariotti, because the January 6 investigation at the Justice Department is "ongoing."
"You don't want yourself to get caught up in a seditious conspiracy charge," said Mariotti. "I mean, what I think the Justice Department proved today is they can try seditious conspiracy cases, and they can win and get a conviction on these facts, on the January 6th conspiracy. And I think that's — that's something that was a question mark up until now, there was doubters out there — and everyone associated with the January 6th conspirators, I think, have to take note of that and be concerned."
Renato Mariotti says Roger Stone could be next after Oath Keepers trial www.youtube.com
Coulter isn't the only well-known Republican who is hoping that Trump won't be the GOP's next presidential nominee. Others include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
During a late November discussion on SubStack, Coulter argued, "No, don't tell me, 'Oh, you're voting for Mitch McConnell or Romney if you're for DeSantis.' No, DeSantis is the true right-winger. Trump is the j*****s RINO."
Coulter, during the conversation, pushed back against the view that Trump maintains a firm grip on the Republican Party even after its many disappointments in the 2022 midterms — which found a long list of Trump-backed MAGA candidates losing to Democrats.
"He is so done," Coulter remarked. "He is on his last legs…. There are so few Trump diehards…. Trump won't be the nominee."
One anti-Trump conservative who clearly doesn't share that view is Lincoln Project co-founder and former GOP strategist Rick Wilson. The Never Trumper, during a late November interview with The Guardian, predicted that Trump will be the Republican Party's 2024 nominee and crush DeSantis in the primary.
Wilson told The Guardian, "Has Ron DeSantis been to the rodeo? Has he been out there in the fight? Has he actually faced up against a full campaign of the brutality and the cruelty that Donald Trump will level against him? He has not. It's like he's walked onto the field onto third base and thought he hit a grand slam home run…. Even Trump in a weakened state still has an innate feral sense of cruelty and cunning that Ron DeSantis does not have."
Wilson commented that whenever a pundit claims that the GOP is ready to move on from Trump, it doesn't happen. "I've just been to this f*****g party too many times now," Wilson told The Guardian.
Interviewed by Newsweek, Coulter compared Trump's 2024 campaign to his activities in 2012.
Coulter told Newsweek, "They've been saying, 'It's 2016, again' through three losing election cycles. No, it's 2012, again. That's when Trump tried to run for president by activating the crazies, crashed and burned. 2016 was the exception, when — instead of birtherism or a stolen election — he ran on my book, 'Adios, America!' Then, he blew off his promises on immigration, and went right back to his losing streak."
Watch Coulter's SubStack discussion at this link: