Tuesday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” conservative commentator Monica Crowley said the Republican Party establishment is rooting against both Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump to win the nomination because if either wins the presidency, she said, “the establishment is done, it’s over.”
Partial transcript as follows:
HANNITY: All right, joining us now with reaction, FOX News contributor Monica Crowley and from The National Review, Rich Lowry is with us. All right, Monica, I don’t think you really doubt that it was Trump that put this in the forefront in terms of the country’s debate now on the issue of immigration. But with that said, the other candidates, especially Senator Ted Cruz, has also supported, you know, strong illegal immigration laws in the country. Thoughts.
MONICA CROWLEY, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course, that’s right. I mean, look, illegal immigration was the issue that launched Donald Trump as a serious contender for the presidential nomination, and in many ways, it’s the issue that has sustained him as the front-runner. So it’s no surprise that Donald Trump would want to protect his position on this and point out that other candidates, seeing the traction he’s got on the issue, have tried to bulk up their positions. So now you see Senator Cruz, who has always been very strong on this issue. But Marco Rubio, who had some problems with the “gang of eight” and spent a good deal of time trying to make it up to the conservative base and tried to reassure them that he learned his lesson from being duped by the likes of President Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer — but now they’re bulking up their positions. They are talking about building a wall. They’re talking about augmenting the border patrol and ICE. They are talking about mass deportations. I’m not so sure that those conversations would be happening to the extent that they are unless Donald Trump had really forced this to the forefront.
HANNITY: Rich, let me — let me bring you in here. All the headlines today about the pressure of the establishment to push John Kasich out of this race, the support, the financial support going to Marco Rubio — does that help Marco or does that hurt Marco in terms of they’re going to, quote, make him the establishment candidate? What are your thoughts?
RICH LOWRY, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think to some extent, it’s a double- edged sword. Look, the resources are good and necessary. The endorsements he got in South Carolina clearly helped him because Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy and Nikki Haley are young, fresh conservatives who are really popular on the right. But Bob Dole, Tim Pawlenty — those aren’t endorsements that particularly help him. So I don’t think this race is over, but clearly…
HANNITY: All right, so let me ask the question another way.
LOWRY: … major head of steam.
HANNITY: So why is there — I don’t know who the establishment hates more, Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, but they clearly hate them. Why do they hate these two men, and why are they so out of sync with the base of their party?
LOWRY: Well, I think with Ted Cruz, it’s very personal, and I don’t think that’s a worthy sentiment. You have Bob Dole saying he would support Donald Trump over Ted Cruz. And if you’re Bob Dole, that makes zero sense. But there are a lot of Washington lobbyists and others who are afraid that Ted Cruz actually believes things. He’s actually a rock-ribbed Reagan Republican who believes deeply in principle. And they sense about Donald Trump…
HANNITY: So they hate him for that.
LOWRY: Well, they hat him for that…
HANNITY: So they hate him for that!
LOWRY: … and for the way that he — they feel as though he treated them, you know, inside the Senate lunches and all this petty stuff. But they sense about Donald Trump — and Trump actually says this about himself at times, or suggests it, that, I’m a deal maker. I can get along with the establishment. So some of these types…
HANNITY: They hate him, too.
HANNITY: Let’s be honest here.
LOWRY: No, some of them…
HANNITY: The money — the money — the money that is now going to Marco Rubio from the establishment and the pressure to push John Kasich out and not let Kasich make up his own mind, is coming from people that feel this is a last-ditch effort to stop Donald Trump from getting the nomination. Let’s be honest about it.
LOWRY: Well, Sean, there’s…
HANNITY: They’re trying to kill Trump!
LOWRY: There was a Washington Post — sorry, a New York Times article a couple weeks ago when it looked more like this was going to be a Trump-Cruz race, and it quoted lobbyists and insider after lobbyist and insider saying, We prefer Donald Trump. We feel as though we can work with Donald Trump. Trump said it a couple of weeks ago himself — I can be a little bit establishment…
HANNITY: All right, I’m not…
LOWRY: … when I need to be establishment.
HANNITY: I’m not buying it!
LOWRY: Ted Cruz is genuinely a rock-ribbed Reaganite.
HANNITY: The article — I got it. But — and I agree with half your analysis but not the other half. Let me throw it to Monica. Monica, if they’re pressuring John Kasich to get out and they’re throwing all their money to Marco Rubio and the reason they’re saying and stating in the Politico and everywhere else is they want to stop Trump and take Trump out — isn’t that what the Republican establishment is doing here?
CROWLEY: Well, I think that’s exactly right because to Rich’s point, they hate Ted Cruz for all the reasons that Rich laid out, but they fear Donald Trump. And they want neither one to win the nomination because the truth is, the establishment cannot control them. If Donald Trump wins the presidency or Ted Cruz wins the presidency, the establishment is done. It’s over. The control over the Republican National Committee, the control over everything will revert to the sitting president, over whom the establishment has no control.
HANNITY: All right, last question, Monica.
CROWLEY: So they are in an absolutely desperate mode to try to stop both of them.
HANNITY: Rich called it a double-edged sword. Does the establishment now rallying behind one person, Marco Rubio — does that help him or hurt him? He said it’s a double-edged sword. What do you say?
CROWLEY: Well, I think in this environment, it actually hurts the candidate getting the bulk of the establishment support and money and endorsements because look, we’re at a point of diminishing returns. In any other year, these kinds of endorsements and big money would be helpful to a candidate. The more establishment support any one of these candidates gets, the more their numbers are driven down. And we’ll see tonight and going forward whether that holds true. But it’s certainly held true to this point.
HANNITY: All right, thank you both for being with us. We appreciate it. Thanks, Monica.
LOWRY: Thanks, Sean.
HANNITY: Thanks, Rich.
CROWLEY: You bet.
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