Donald Trump is drawing scrutiny for his comments on immigration, but also drawing large crowds on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The polls just came out and I’m tied with Jeb Bush. And I said, oh, that’s too bad, how can I be tied with this guy? He’s terrible. He’s terrible. He’s weak on immigration. You know, the sanctuary cities, did you know he had five of them in Florida while he was governor? Can you believe this? I didn’t know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Donald Trump referencing his rise in the polls that shows him in a close race with Jeb Bush before a crowd of thousands Saturday in Phoenix. And we’re back now with the panel. Brit, I talked to Jeb Bush earlier this week in New Hampshire. I asked him about Donald Trump. Take a quick listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Donald Trump, is he bad for the GOP?
JEB BUSH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I already stated my views about Donald Trump.
BAIER: You’re done?
BUSH: I’m done.
BAIER: You’re through?
BUSH: I’m through. I gave my views. I just think that we need to be much more hopeful and optimistic about our ideology. We have the winning ideology. Limited government, personal responsibility, individual liberty creates more prosperity and more advantages than any other form of political philosophy. We should focus on that and not get into a food fight that only brings energy to someone who I doubt will be president and is not a constructive force for our party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Not a constructive force for our party, Brit.
HUME: Well, I take it as that’s kind of like calling him terrible, which is what Trump called him. Look, there’s a segment of the Republican electorate that’s been present for some time that’s angrier with the mainstream GOP leadership in Congress and on the campaign trail than it is with the Democrats, at least in terms of what you hear these people saying. Donald Trump has captivated them for the moment. And he, and by doing so, he’s basically eclipsed Ted Cruz, who was their previous horse.
He will have a run. But I think the chickens will come home to roost sooner or later. It will turn out people will begin to realize he hasn’t long been a Republican. In fact, for many years he gave more money to Democrats, praised Hillary Clinton, told — said that Mitt Romney was too mean on immigration for taking positions weaker than the one that he’s taken now, and over time his moment will fade. It will take a while. He’s got a lot of money. He will be with us a while. And he could be a third-party threat.
BAIER: That’s really something. His — it’s there now. His moment is there now. He’s burning hot.
PACE: He is. And we’re in a phase in the campaign where name recognition goes a long way, certainly. I think the bigger problem for the rest of the Republican field right now is exactly what you saw in your interview with Jeb Bush. That they’re going to continue to be asked about things that Trump says, and even people like Jeb Bush who want to try to avoid restating things they’ve already said, are going to have to come back again and say it one more time, and it’s going to pull them off of the messages they are trying to present to voters, that in Bush’s case tries to be more hopeful, more optimistic.
BAIER: Karl, isn’t there something here, though, that suggests that this anti-establishment, anti-politician on both sides of the party, is striking a cord?
ROVE: Look, there are — I would define them slightly differently than Brit, but I think he’s got the — people are angry about the condition of the country and angry that Republicans haven’t been able to stop Obama dead. And it’s — they are there. He appeals to that. But he — right now he’s getting the shoppers. Take a look at where he’s coming in the polls. He’s taking it from Ted Cruz, from Mike Huckabee. Everybody has had their moment, and they’ve had their moment by getting these people who are shopping around. And are they ultimately going to settle on him? I doubt it. Fox News poll says that of all Americans, 30 percent think he’s honest and trustworthy, and 44 percent do not. By comparison, Hillary Clinton is at 45-52. In a Fox poll, 64 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of conservatives and 55 percent of Tea Partiers said that he was a side show, not a serious candidate. He has got a lot to do to overcome that. I doubt that he does. But he does represent a threat for a third party. You’ll notice how artfully his people are saying it now. Every one of them (inaudible). What third party? Why would we? We’re winning. Which is different than no, we would never go third party. So there is a threat to the Republicans from this. No doubt about it.
BAIER: He’s answered the question straight on, saying he would consider it.
WILLIAMS: Yes, which is, you know, Ross Perot all over again, who got I believe 19 or 20 percent of the vote back when.
The thing about Trump is, look, this is a big field. So everything Karl said I just want to underline. You know, like 60 percent of Republicans say they don’t trust this guy and wouldn’t have anything to do with him. But we have got a big field. You only need so much. He has got name I.D., he’s got money, and he’s to the right of everybody else, which is why he’s taking away from Cruz.
HUME: On what? On immigration?
WILLIAMS: No, no, no, taking away from Cruz in terms of support.
HUME: I thought you said he’s to the right of everybody, on what?
WILLIAMS: He’s to the right of everybody, but specifically on immigration at the moment. But my point is, guess what? If in this larger field, we go down to super Tuesday next year, Brit, this guy could still be around.
ROVE: He’s going to hurt the people that he’s hurting now if he stays in the race. He’ll keep hurting them, which means that the Ted Cruz and the Mike Huckabees and to a lesser extents, the Ben Carsons and Marco Rubio, to a lesser extent, they are not going to be able to get liftoff, and it’s going to end up being him versus a couple of others who do get liftoff.
WILLIAMS: So interesting to me that he hangs around like this at a time when Jeb Bush is raising money, you would know a lot about this, out of the roof, at historic levels.
ROVE: — right here at the beginning. We got seven months until the primary. We have got plenty of time.
HUME: It’s a good idea to remember what happened in 2012, when the mantle of front runner passed on an almost weekly basis from one candidate to another. Newt Gingrich had two moments in the spotlight. Herman Cain shot up to No. 1.
PACE: Michele Bachmann.
HUME: Rick Perry when he first entered the race shot up to No. 1. This is a stage when sentiment is soft. People are fickle. And Donald Trump is having his moment. Whether he’s a staying power is to be doubted.
BAIER: Last word, Julie, getting on that stage in Cleveland, pretty important.
PACE: It’s a huge deal to be on that debate stage, where I think it will be most interesting to watch. Donald Trump can take a shot at opponents, but he does not take shots at him very well. Watch how he reacts in that kind of situation.
BAIER: Panel, thank you. I bet it’s not the last time we talk about that. That’s it today. I’ll see you tomorrow for “Special Report” on Fox News Channel, 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 3:00 Pacific. And you can catch more of our contender series profile of Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Tuesday. Have a great week. Chris will be back next week, and we’ll see you next “Fox News Sunday.”
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