During an exclusive interview with Fox News, the longtime political strategist argued that Warren was too caught up in policy, not relatable enough, and so extreme that she would drive voters to support Trump.
“Without question,” he would choose Warren as Trump’s opponent. “It’s just this outlandish worldview that Elizabeth Warren has that will drive people that may not be thrilled with everything that President Trump is doing — but under the circumstances of being given a choice between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren, they’re going to go with Donald Trump.”
“It’s incredible how badly the Democratic party is screwing this up for themselves. It’s amazing. They’ve got one left-wing nut after the next on television,” he told Fox News.
His comments came just days before he’s set to sit down at Politicon with Fox News contributor Donna Brazile who, like Priebus, served as chair of her respective party during the 2016 presidential election. He will expand on the atmosphere surrounding 2020 and talk about the direction of the country. Priebus will also participate in a panel on Republicans’ electoral prospects following Trump’s first term at Politicon.
Voters in the U.S., Priebus told Fox, mostly weren’t concerned with policies like reparations or “Medicare for all.” Instead, they focused on issues like manufacturing and jobs. Priebus argued that voters would have a harder time deciding between Trump and candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, or Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was a “close second” behind Warren for Priebus’ chosen nominee. “He’s a little Trumpy … I think his rhetoric flows well, better than Elizabeth Warren, with blue-collar workers in the midwest — kind of his middle finger type philosophy to just a lot of things that folks claim is unfair,” he said of Sanders.
According to Priebus, Trump and Republicans were “brilliant” to focus on the Democrats’ more progressive elements like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and her “squad” of progressive freshmen. “There’s nothing more you want to do than give people a stark contrast in the ballot box — so when people go to vote, they want to see night and day as far as a choice,” he said.
He added that “extreme” Democratic policies in Washington, D.C., were making it more likely that reluctant Trump donors would pull out their checkbook and support his re-election.
But none of the party’s frontrunners, he argued, were able to appeal to both a progressive base and midwestern voters. And although Biden was the more likable Democrat, he wasn’t credible on left-wing policies, Priebus said.
“So, they have nothing. They don’t have a complete candidate who can do both which is why you’re seeing people like [Michael] Bloomberg dipping his toe in, you saw the poll last week about Michelle Obama — that she would be the frontrunner. The Democrats are desperate,” he said.
Biden’s prospects, Priebus added, were much worse than Trump’s were during the 2016 primaries. He argued that Trump “was never really behind” and, as a consequence, Republican National Committee delegates didn’t have anywhere to go other than supporting Trump.
Biden, on the other hand, could face a brokered convention where he may need to shore up progressives due to the nature of Democratic politics. Democrats, he said, had “real tight race among three or four people and they also shell out most of their delegates on a proportional basis at their conventions … and in their primary battles.”
Priebus also put the kibosh on any chance that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton could enter the race and win in 2020. “I think she’s pretty much-damaged goods at this point,” he said. He argued that Warren faced the same flaw that Clinton did in 2016: neither were “likable.”
Trump, he added, delivered on his promise to “blow things up” in Washington and was immune to the controversies that would doom any other politician. “He’s judged by the American people on a different standard. He’s immune from all of these controversies.”
On impeachment, Priebus argued that the president should continue playing “the victim card” and attacking the way Democrats handled it — something he described as a “sham.” Impeachment, he predicted, could turn out to be a boon for Trump, especially since the Ukraine controversy implicated Biden.