Much of what Donald Trump says "resonates" both inside and outside the Republican Party, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Wednesday, and what he says "throws a monkey wrench" in the predictability most candidates rely on.
"He is unpredictable," Steele said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
program. "The other piece of it, though, is he has base support. He has an energy on the ground."
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While Trump has come under some fire over statements he made concerning the Mexican border and immigrants in his campaign announcement
on Tuesday, "there are a lot of folks who look at the Mexican border the way he pronounced it yesterday," Steele said.
"I think that affords him the opportunity to not only be on that stage, but to say something that is going to make the party very uncomfortable over the next few months."
Steele noted that there are concerns among establishment leaders that Trump's campaign will become a circus, or "more about the cult of personality than actually running for the presidency of the United States," and if Trump follows the approach that he showed in Tuesday's speech, that could happen.
Recent polls also show that 59 percent of the voters say they will not vote for Trump, said Steele, but there is still a significant base of voters for him to work with, and those people will be excited about him.
"It's a real problem going into the early debates if he's on that stage," said Steele. "The argument will be framed by Donald Trump, not by Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or others."
Meanwhile, Bush has to prove that he is the top-tier candidate in the wide field of Republicans seeking office, and that he's the person everyone has to deal with, said Steele.
"That first moment on the stage in August will be a defining moment for the Bush campaign," Steele said about the early GOP debates. "They'll see whether or not he is and has what it takes to be the leader of the party.
"Right now, that space is all over the place. It's occupied by guys like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, Marco Rubio," he said. "Then you'll have Scott Walker get into this race, Chris Christie. That will also change the dynamics. So Bush has a heavy load to pull here."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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