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Tipsheet

NBC Analyst ‘Virtually Certain’ Ten Percent of Republicans Would Let Trump Kill Their Parents and Grandparents

On MSNBC’s Thursday broadcast of “Morning Joe,” NBC national affairs analyst John Heilemann asserted that a significant number of Trump supporters are so manically devoted to the president that they would agree to let him kill their parents and grandparents if asked by pollsters. Upon receiving immediate looks of bewilderment from a couple of the other panelists on the program, Heilemann quickly tried to walk back his comments.

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“Can I just say quickly, I just, just -- no, I like the idea that, you know, you see as the example, the bad example of, like, what would be the core that would say it was okay for Donald Trump to dissolve media institutions, because media institutions are super unpopular,” Heilemann managed to babble out in his typical speech pattern before continuing more coherently: “I would like a pollster to test this question: How many people in the Republican Party think that it would be okay for Donald Trump to dissolve their own grandparents?”

A cocked eyebrow from Commentary associate editor Noah Rothman and quizzical glances exchanged between guest co-hosts Willie Geist and Kasie Hunt did nothing to give Heilemann pause.

“I’m virtually certain that if it was a Donald Trump-related question, you’d get like ten percent that would be, like, Donald Trump has the power to do whatever he wants, including kill my parents,” Heilemann insisted.

At this point, Hunt grimaced at Heilemann with a clear mixture of confusion and mild shock, even as most of the other panelists maintained stonier-faced dispositions. Even so, Hunt’s reaction finally seemed to signal to Heilemann that he had gone just a bit too far in his rambling. Shifting ever so slightly into reverse, Heilemann defended himself: “I’m being hyperbolic. Don’t…look so appalled!”

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“I’m not appalled, I was just working through how it would look like,” Geist responded.

Heilemann jumped back in: “I’m trying to make the point, I think it’s just a -- I think it’s kind of -- it’s a test.”

“I know what you’re saying,” Geist reassured, but Heilemann continued to talk over the guest host in his quest to find a more suitable line of argument:

“[T]here are some people who…just hear the question as: The media is trying to test my loyalty to Donald Trump. And if it’s a question of whether Trump has the authority to do anything, they will say ‘yes’ no matter what that thing is.”

Tying in Trump’s famous quip from the 2016 campaign trail in which the then-candidate joked about being able to shoot somebody on Firth Avenue without losing any voters, Geist chimed in: “It’s [Trump’s] test question of ‘I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and they’d stay with me.’”

Heilemann accepted the assist from Geist, claiming “that was where I was trying to get to, although bringing a little closer to home to make it their own parents or grandparents.”

“Boy, this show got dark, real fast,” Geist remarked.

A transcript of the segment in question can be found below and a video of it can be viewed via Mediaite here.

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(…)

JOHN HEILEMANN [NBC/MSNBC, NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST]: Can I just say quickly, I just, just -- no, I like the idea that, you know, you see as the example, the bad example of, like, what would be the core that would say it was okay for Donald Trump to dissolve media institutions, because media institutions are super unpopular? I would like a pollster to test this question: How many people in the Republican Party think that it would be okay for Donald Trump to dissolve their own grandparents? I’m virtually certain-

KASIE HUNT [NBC, CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT]: Wait-

HEILEMANN: [continuing] -that if it was a Donald Trump-related question, you’d get like ten percent that would be, like, Donald Trump has the power to do whatever he wants, including kill my parents. You know, like, that’s the [garbled] to which -- I’m being hyperbolic. Don’t make -- look so appalled!

WILLIE GEIST [NBC/MSNBC, HOST]: I’m not appalled, I was just working through how it would look like.

HEILEMANN: I’m trying to make the point, I think it’s just a -- I think it’s kind of -- it’s a test.

GEIST: I know what you’re saying.

HEILEMANN: There are certain things that -- there are some people who, they — to Noah’s point — that they just hear the question as: The media is trying to test my loyalty to Donald Trump. And if it’s a question of whether Trump has the authority to do anything, they will say ‘yes’ no matter what that thing is.

GEIST: It’s his test question of ‘I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and they’d stay with me.’

HEILEMANN: That was where I was trying to get to, although bringing a little closer to home to make it their own parents or grandparents.

GEIST: Boy, this show got dark, real fast.

HEILEMANN: It’s the era we live in buddy.

(…)

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