Bill Kristol: 'Republicans Need To Incorporate What Is Healthy About The Trump Message'

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It's always amusing watching any of these Republican talking heads and politicians try to put a positive spin on the fact that Donald Trump has been rising in the polls since he announced he was jumping into the 2016 GOP presidential clown car.

On ABC's This Week, the perpetually wrong Bloody Bill Kristol and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) tried to do exactly that while discussing how the other Republicans should handle his entry into their primary. Kristol told the audience that Republicans should embrace the "healthy" parts of Trump's message. I hate to break it to him, but there's nothing "healthy" about what Trump is saying when it comes to the "health" of the Republican party. He's toxic and they know it.

Transcript via ABC:

STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama having some fun in Wisconsin this week out on the campaign trail. We're going to talk about it on the roundtable now. We're joined by Congressman Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma; Congressman Joaquin Castro, Democrat from Texas; Anne Gearan of the Washington Post, covering Hillary Clinton; and Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard.

We've got to start out talking about Donald Trump. And Congressman Cole, you're a student of politics, a student of presidential campaigns. Does this help or hurt your party?

REP. TOM COLE, (R) OKLAHOMA: Oh, I think it probably helps. It's good...

STEPHANOPOULOS: It helps?

COLE: Yeah, it doesn't hurt.

Look, I look at this as -- this is somebody making a statement. He's got a certain following. I don't think he's anybody's second choice. I think that's his big problem in the race. Anything that draws attention to the stage is fine.

But I don't think most people think Donald Trump is the Republican Party. He's never held an office, never really, you know, been associated all that much directly with the party. So, at the end of the day it adds to the color, but I don't think it hurts.

He gave up any chance of getting Latino votes this week?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, (D) TEXAS: Oh, absolutely. and he's energized the Latino community. In fact, America Ferrera wrote an incredible thank you note to Donald Trump this past week about him doing that.


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The other thing is that he's put the other guys in a very pad position. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, for example, took about three weeks to come out and condemn Donald Trump, which was absolutely surprising that they wouldn't have the spine early on to stand up and say something.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I've got to believe, Bill Kristol, that Donald Trump hears Jeb Bush attack and Marco Rubio attack and Mitt Romney attack him and says fine.

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: Yeah, absolutely. I think Cecilia said when you were talking with her earlier about the race that Donald Trump had done well despite these controversial comments. He's doing well because of these controversial comments.

Now, I do think he has a limit on how well he will do, because, ultimately, you can't win a presidential nomination just saying outrageous things. But he has tapped into real sentiments and the Republican Party needs to channel those sentiments.

Rick Perry had a little (INAUDIBLE). I don't agree with him. (INAUDIBLE) has done fine handling Trump. Rick Perry, just said there talking to you, look, I don't agree with him, he shouldn't have said what he said, but then he got right back on his message.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- they can incorporate the Trump message...

(CROSSTALK)

CASTRO: -- but you've had folks like Ted Cruz defend him, Bill.

KRISTOL: Fine. You know what...

(CROSSTALK)

CASTRO: -- it's a diverse party.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: Maybe it is a diverse party.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: You know what, some people are very upset about illegal immigration.

CASTRO: When your top -- when two of your ...

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: -- do actually murder people...

(CROSSTALK)

CASTRO: -- top candidates...

KRISTOL: -- murder people.

CASTRO: -- take three weeks -- when -- when the head of NASCAR comes out before Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, you've got a problem.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Meanwhile, Anne Gearan, we are probably going to see Donald Trump in the debates. He's clearly in the top 10 right now. He could dominate the stage.

GEARAN: Absolutely. I mean he -- he does an amazing thing, right?

He can just absolutely suck the oxygen away from other people. He can suck the attention away from other people. He's doing it right now. I think I have to disagree with you, Congressman. I think he's -- he's taking attention away from some of the candidates who are -- are saying things that eventually will probably be what the election is decided on.

And he'll be able to do that in debates. This -- presuming he lasts till that.

(CROSSTALK)

COLE: Well, I don't think so. And, look, he's actually providing a chance for these candidates to separate themselves finally and actually make the statements and reaction.

So, again, he's a foil in the debate, but I don't think that he's going to be a factor at the end of the day.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How long do you think he stays in the race?

COLE: You know, as long as he wants to, frankly. He's got enough money to stay in as long as he wants to. But he's got to balance off how much business he's losing with how much business he's gaining.

KRISTOL: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Bill, you've pointed out that the big danger for Republicans could be if Donald Trump, after the primaries are over, decides to pull a Ross Perot.

KRISTOL: Yes. If he runs third party, that's very dangerous.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Right.

KRISTOL: Republicans need to incorporate what is healthy about the Trump message, which is an anti-establishment, anti-Washington message. The genuine concern about the surge of illegal immigrants and the fact that some of them are criminals. That's not a ridiculous thing to say. The way he said it was crude and reprehensible.

CASTRO: But -- but -- but I want to point out, George, that, you know, what happened in San Francisco is a tragedy, to the young woman, and, you know, it's clear that somewhere along the line, the system -- the immigration system failed in allowing this man to still be on the street.

But I think what's egregious about Donald Trump is that he tries to imply because one guy committed a crime, that all immigrants and all people from Mexico are like that. And that is incredibly offensive.

KRISTOL: Well, he didn't quite say that. And to the...

(CROSSTALK)

CASTRO: No, he did say that.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: -- that every responsible Republican has denounced that.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: So I -- I -- well, you can disagree, but Rick Perry sat here and just did it.

CASTRO: Look at the quotes. That's one guy. You've got about 20 people running.

KRISTOL: Jeb Bush did it. Now, maybe I -- look, you don't respond...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jeb Bush...

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: -- to everything everybody says in a campaign.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: -- I haven't noticed anybody embrace those remarks. Quite the opposite.

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