In 2012, Stuart Stevens served as the chief strategist for Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and tried to prevent President Barack Obama from winning a second term; in 2020, he is a Never Trump conservative who is rooting for former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. And when Stevens appeared on MSNBC's The 11th Hour" on Thursday night, he stressed to host Brian Williams that many GOP incumbents — from President Donald Trump to members of Congress — could be in trouble in November.
Promoting his new book, It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump, Stevens told Williams: "This is a very negative environment for Republicans…. There are external forces out there that make this a very tough race for incumbents in the Republican Party."
Stevens, who is now working with the conservative anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project, said of Biden's campaign, "I don't think they're gonna be overconfident, given what happened in 2016. I've been very impressed with the Biden campaign…. I think the Democrats have done some very good ads." And he went on to discuss the state of the Trump-era GOP — which Stevens believes has betrayed traditional conservative views — and slammed Trump for the fondness he shows for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"It's heartbreaking…. It's making my heart hurt," Stevens said of the 2020 GOP. "One thing the Republican Party stood for was a realistic foreign policy…. From the beginning, Trump has been an apologist for Putin. It's a disgrace."
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