MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace chuckles after Times reporter explains why Trump has no hope of pivoting to an empathetic campaign
MSNBC “Deadline: White House” anchor Nicolle Wallace (screengrab)

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace struggled to stifle a chuckle in a conversation about President Donald Trump's struggle to run a campaign that can contend with most Americans' needs in a horrific pandemic.

"I think to Nick [Confessore's] point earlier, there should be a sense of nervousness in the Trump camp," began Democratic strategist Basil Smikle. "You don't see -- you talked about enablers. You don't see Republicans engaged in their obsequious behavior with respect to the president at this juncture. He's the president of the United States. They should be more allied with him, but instead, they're focused on local campaigns. The president has lost several cases at the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act case notwithstanding. There's a lot of things they should be rallying around, but they can't."

Wallace noted that poll numbers aren't merely about the horse races, but looking at how Americans "feel" about their leadership, which can be greater indicators of the rationale behind their support for a given candidate. In the campaign of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, former President Barack Obama was miles ahead of Romney when it came to questions about which of them "understands the problems of people like me."

"There's no scenario where Donald Trump even competes with Joe Biden -- who drips empathy," said Wallace.

"Right," agreed Confessore. "Well, it would certainly be hard for him at this stage of the game."

Wallace couldn't help but laugh.

"If you look at his strategy, what strikes me about his strategy, it's to tweet pictures of black people rioting to stoke fear and racial resentment," Confessore's continued. "It's not because that's the best possible strategy for him. It's because it's the only strategy he's capable of executing with any consistency over time. The problem is a majority of Americans are sick of what he's doing on Twitter and elsewhere. They want something different. It was possible to paint Hillary Clinton as out of touch. It wasn't necessarily true. She had a long history of issues. Joe Biden doesn't have those problems. He hasn't settled on an effective message against Biden. If he has, it's not sticking. I think Biden has this level of trust. He doesn't have the rich, target-rich environment that Hillary Clinton provided for Donald Trump. So, it's not going well for the president."

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