Some Republicans Withdraw Support For Trump In Wake Of His Crude Comments About Women
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Joining me now is Stuart Stevens. He was a chief strategist for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign. He has been an outspoken member of the Never Trump movement since the beginning. He joins us on the line now. Mr. Stevens, thanks for being with us.
STUART STEVENS: Oh, it's great to be here. Thank you.
MARTIN: How are you feeling right now? I mean, what do you make of your Republican colleagues who are now speaking out, disavowing Donald Trump when you have done so months ago?
STEVENS: Well, this whole process of Donald Trump has been depressing, and it just gets more depressing. I worked for George Bush. I worked for Mitt Romney. And just the quality of the person - you could like or not like these people as political figures, but they were good and very decent people. And that Republicans have a representative of Donald Trump to me has just been sad, to use a phrase Donald Trump likes. I've felt that this was almost inevitable, that Donald Trump would force a separation between himself and the party. You know, Republican leaders that I know, for the most part, even those that are still supporting Donald Trump because of a binary choice, are not like Donald Trump. They believe in attempting to govern. They don't believe in his sort of tactics. They're sort of appalled by him. So I - it's...
MARTIN: ...Let's talk a little - it sounds like you're still trying to make sense of this and really what it means moving forward because it is a delicate line, right? We saw House Speaker Paul Ryan yesterday. He disinvited Donald Trump from his GOP unity event, but he hasn't taken away his support for Donald Trump because he still has to get Republicans elected.
STEVENS: Well, I think with Speaker Ryan, he's just in a unique situation because he's representing, you know, the House Republicans and third in line to the presidency. And I can't imagine those pressures. You know, clearly the best thing would be for Donald Trump to step aside. As you said in your earlier report, there are provisions then that he could be replaced. That would be the best for a national discussion about real issues.
MARTIN: Although you know he has said that's never going to happen.
STEVENS: That's true. I have no idea what Donald Trump will or won't do, but I can only speak to what would be best. And I would argue that would be best for Donald Trump and his long-term image or career of businessman because the next 30 days or, you know, 28 days here are going to be not pretty for Donald Trump. He has said a lot of things and done a lot of things which the public has not been exposed to yet, and the odds that they will come out and then - between now and the election are pretty great. These conversations, you don't sit on a bus like that and talk like that, you know, the only time you've done it. And he's been around a lot of microphones and been on a lot of TV sets and people are rolling tape. You know, one of the most amazing things about this is that he said this to Billy Bush when he knew he was mic'd. This wasn't captured by somebody by chance.
MARTIN: As you see this increasing schism - I mean, as someone who's been calling for the party to reinvent itself, do you see a kind of utility in this moment? I mean, is there an opportunity here as someone who's looking down the pike, trying to look at the future of the GOP?
STEVENS: You know, I - that's a great question. And I have no idea. You know, after 2012, the party went through this process, so-called autopsy, which I think Reince Priebus deserves a lot of credit for. And now the party's turned 180 degrees from that. I mean, everything that was recommended as far as outreach and becoming a party that must confront the fact that we have to get to be a national governing party, more non-white support. And now the party's done the exact opposite. So I really don't know the degree to which parties are learning organisms.
MARTIN: We'll have to leave it there. There's still obviously a lot to talk about, and we will continue to do so. Stuart Stevens, thanks so much for taking the time.
STEVENS: Look forward to it. Take care. Bye.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.