Longtime GOP strategist demands Republican presidential hopefuls be honest 'where they stand' on Trump
Donald Trump speaks to the press in the James Brady Press Briefing Room. (Shutterstock.com)

Former Republican National Committee spokesman and GOP campaign strategist Tim Miller demanded in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Friday that potential Republican challengers to former President Donald Trump be upfront and honest about what they really believe about his behavior.

This comes shortly after Trump published a racist attack on Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police lieutenant who shot insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt as she tried to force her way into a barricaded area of the Capitol complex where members of Congress were located.

"Tim, as a veteran of the last time this played out in 2016, I think it has been good for the country and largely salutary that he is not on Twitter," said Hayes. "He puts out crazy stuff every day. It's disgusting, vile, provocative, whatever. It doesn't dominate news cycles. But at a certain point, saying the police officer that killed Ashli Babbitt is a 'thug', who 'murdered' her, is going to be a thing that other Republican candidates will have to answer for as the primary goes on, don't you think?"

"Yes," agreed Miller. "It's giving me a little PTSD ... do you respond to this, do you ignore this guy, do you attack him? You saw in 2016 everybody tried a bunch of different strategies and none of them seemed to work. I think that Ron DeSantis right now — this is why he's delaying getting into this race. Because the sooner he gets in, he's going to be forced to make decisions such as this."

This kind of division and indecisiveness, continued Miller, "is how Trump successfully alpha-dogged the 2016 field."

"I think there are some differences now," Miller added. "His shine has worn off a little bit and he's not the new fish. He has lost a couple of campaigns. Some of the people do not believe he lost the campaign, but others do. So, we will see if it as it is as effective this time — by the way, my — they should become an issue. Ignoring him is not the path out of this. We have tried that for eight years now. We are coming up on year eight of his campaign. And if these Capitol Police officers were heroes — if he's going to make racist attacks on them, we should know whether Republican candidates stand on them, and the idea of ignoring it has not worked in the past."

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