The GOP was a ‘hollow, bankrupt, principle-less husk’ of a party ripe for Trump to takeover: Heilemann
Composite image of John Heilemann and Nicolle Wallace (screengrabs)

MSNBC commentator John Heilemann explained how the Republican Party was ripe for the taking from someone like President Donald Trump.

Host Nicolle Wallace, on Wednesday, explained that the conservative Wall Street Journal blamed Trump if Democrats win in Georgia next week in the runoff elections. But the reality is that Trump is only a symptom of a larger diseased GOP.

"We are right here on the precipice, right?" said Heilemann. "This is like -- I think the phrase you might have been looking for there is the crescendo of crazy, and this is it, right? We've finally gotten here. As we got further away from the election, we sort of thought, okay, Trump's madness, the madness of the king, will exhaust itself at some point when it starts to become clear that he's played out all the string, that all of the challenges have failed, that all of the legal theories are bogus, that no one's standing up with him. But it hasn't happened."

He cited a column by David Ignatius about the need for continued concern while Trump and the GOP are still in power.

There's still danger," Heilemann agreed. "Genuine danger that lies ahead. And I think that's a separate topic. On the political front, I mean -- a separate and very serious topic. On the political front, I agree about the Wall Street Journal, and as you know not a fan of Moscow Mitch myself, but I think they're 100 percent right."

He explained that the Republicans should be favored in the runoff in Georgia, but that Trump's support of a $2,000 stimulus put the GOP in the hot seat.

"The reality right now is, on the basis of everything we've seen in terms of turnout, the early vote, and you've got Donald Trump and others down there creating a kind of chaos that is absolutely -- we don't know yet what the final tally is going to be, obviously, but everything they are doing is working to depress Republican turnout, rather than enhance Republican turnout," said Heilemann. "And so I think the Wall Street Journal is exactly right."

He continued: "We're into the crescendo of the crazy, but we're also into a period where Trump's madness may have a dire consequence, political consequence, for the Republican Party as it heads into the Biden era with potentially losing both of those runoffs in Georgia on January 5th."

Wallace agreed, but said that McConnell shouldn't get off scot-free and deserves a lot of blame.

"More than anything we've learned about Donald Trump, I think the lesson of these four years is that Donald Trump did not stage a hostile takeover of the Republican Party, as so many of us said in 2016, but that the Republican Party was a hollow, bankrupt, principle-less husk of what was a formerly great party when Donald Trump came along," said Heilemann.

Trump is not the cause, he explained, he's a symptom of a deeper "rot" in the GOP.

"And we're seeing that right now in the most vivid way possible," Heileman went on. "This period in the post-election, the number of Republicans willing to acquiesce in Trump's refusal to be part of the peaceful transition of power, his desire to continue to cling to power under any circumstances. This is what the Ignatius column is about, about worrying signs that things are afoot, potentially, in the Department of Defense, in other agencies..."

See the full discussion in the video below:

The GOP was rotten before Trump - he just took over the principle-less shell that was left