Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed national political correspondent for One America News, Neil W. McCabe, to the newsmaker line to weigh in on Donald Trump’s announcement to run for president in 2024 and the fate of the RNC’s Ronna McDaniel.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now, our very good friend, former top political correspondent for The Star News Network, now with One American News Network as “Top Gov” tracker, reporting from Florida on all things Governor Ron DeSantis, Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Good morning, Michael. Good morning, Crom. And let me just say quickly, I’m so grateful to my bosses at One America News to allow me to come on. People ask me all the time where to find One America News. They can go to oann.com and download the OAN live app.
Leahy: Oann.com. One America News. Neil, you are down in Florida where all the action is taking place. Were you at Mar-a-Lago or did you watch Mar-a-Lago when Donald J. Trump announced he was running for president again?
McCabe: It won’t surprise you that I watched the speech on the OANN app. Chanel Rion was at Mar-a-Lago. I am in Orlando for the Republican Governors Association meetings, and not a lot of people here, not a lot of governors. Governor Ron DeSantis, the hosting governor, we were told that he wasn’t coming at all.
In fact, a staffer for the Republican Governors Association told me to my face he would not be here, but he actually was here last night. Yesterday morning, he was at a press conference 400 miles away at Fort Walton Beach, which is in the panhandle in Florida, where he sort of dismissed Trump, saying, hey, look at the score Tuesday.
And obviously, DeSantis won, and there are four new congressmen from Florida. So Florida Republicans did very well. Not as well as Republicans in other parts of the country.
Last night, DeSantis gave a speech at a dinner called A Blueprint for the Country: The Florida Model. Closed to the press, but interesting counterprogramming, while the 45th president announced that he was going to try for his old job.
Leahy: So what was your take on the Donald J. Trump announcement of Mar-a-Lago? By the way, Chanel Rion from One America News Network was there, but his daughter Ivanka was not there. What was your take on what Trump said?
McCabe: I thought that the real Achilles heel of the Trump administration, not to look back, was the fact that Ivanka and her husband basically set up this parallel operation that basically jacked up the staff and jacked up the messaging. And if Ivanka says she’s going to have nothing to do with her father’s political future, I say, finally, some good news. (Leahy chuckles)
Leahy: But Jared was there, right?
McCabe: The guy’s made a lot of money, God love him. And so I think that Trump set as positive a tone as we can possibly get out of the guy.
Leahy: That’s a very good way of putting it. I had a similar reaction. I mean, he wasn’t whining about 2020 being stolen, wasn’t looking back.
McCabe: When Reagan ran in 1980, nobody wanted to hear the stories about how he arrested the Berkeley protesters in 1968. It’s over. He’s got to do something else. Fortunately, Jimmy Carter gave away the Panama Canal, and Reagan was able to reboot with a new issue.
Trump needs new issues for a new time and needs to talk about the future. And it’s one thing that’s over and over again in politics is the voters refuse to thank politicians. They have zero gratitude. In the first election after World War II, they threw out Winston Churchill.
McCabe: It’s like George H. W. Bush had this great victory in Kuwait, and he said, good, what’s next?
Leahy: Okay, so what’s next? What’s next for Donald J. Trump?
McCabe: What’s next is, he’s got to get on the stick and he’s got to figure out who he’s backing for the Republican National Committee. If he backs Ronna McDaniel again, a lot of people are just going to say, we’re done with you guys.
Leahy: Isn’t she just a total failure?
McCabe: Well, I think so. As an old Celtics fan, I’ll tell you, the coach is expected to win when you have the talent. And it’s like, you had the talent, you had the issues – like these, they talk about poor candidate quality. What?
Kari Lake was poor candidate quality? Like, she was Mick Jagger, right? Joe Kent. Joe Kent is this kid with gorgeous hair. He’s a Green Beret. His wife was killed deployed in Syria. In any cycle that is a great candidate.
People beg, Hollywood begs for candidates like Joe Kent; they could not deliver. And so maybe it’s the fact that nobody who works for the Republican National Committee voted for Trump, or even likes Republicans. Maybe it’s a cultural shift to have it …
Leahy: Does she lose her gig as chairman of the Republican National Committee?
McCabe: Yes, David Bossie is working the phones now. He should have taken her out a year ago. There was an opportunity to take her out after she – without going into the details, but she made a disastrous mistake, so bad that she had to have a Zoom call with everyone, all the different committee people from all over the state, and she became like an emotional, bubbling, babbling mess.
Leahy: She’s not up to the job, let’s be honest, right?
McCabe: They should have taken her out then. They didn’t take her out because they just figured, alright, we’ll just leave it. What could go wrong? Same thing with McCarthy. McCarthy played prevent defense for four quarters because he didn’t want anything to jeopardize his precious red wave. And then it didn’t happen.
Leahy: Does she lose her gig, and who replaces her?
McCabe: Well, Lee Zeldin is emerging as, I would suggest, a Ron DeSantis candidate. And so the Trump people would be backing David Bossie.
Leahy: Oh! Bossie versus Zeldin? Oh, my goodness. And look, Bossie is a pugilist, right? The guy knows how to throw a punch.
McCabe: And Zeldin, there are a lot of people in New York who are saying all the right things publicly, but privately there are a lot of people who are upset with the way Zeldin ran that $50 million campaign, including the fact that he flew around in the helicopter with his entourage from Capitol Hill like he was the Beatles landing at Shea Stadium.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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