MSNBC Hosts Spar Over Whether Dem Debaters Could Handle Trump in 2020

Donny Deutsch said he didn't 'see anybody on that stage tonight that would beat Trump'

June 27, 2019

MSNBC hosts Donny Deutsch and Lawrence O'Donnell sparred during post-debate coverage over whether any of the 2020 Democrats can beat President Donald Trump in 2020.

Deutsch, who hosts a weekly show on Saturday nights, said he believes Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) cannot beat Trump on a debate stage in the general election.

"I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist and he's on a stage with her, the Democrats lose," Deutsch said. "I think she's delightful. I think she's wonderful. I'm a big fan. I just don't think she has what it takes to beat this president, the same way at least an idealized version of Joe Biden is. Don't shoot the messenger. It's just facts. We got to get Trump out."

Nicolle Wallace, who hosts a daily show on MSNBC, said he's "in a safe space here" and followed up by asking him whether any of the Democrats in the first debate could defeat Trump.

"I'm still sticking with an idealized version of—the Joe Biden we want, okay? The Joe Biden we want and then you pair him with the right candidate, yes," Deutsch said. "I, still in my heart of hearts, don't see anybody on that stage tonight that would beat Trump."

O'Donnell pushed back hard against Deutsch, calling his commentary "pure guesswork a year and a half away from this point." O'Donnell went on to tell Deutsch his prediction provided "zero value," prompting Deutsch to fire back.

"Lawrence, it's understanding human behavior," Deutsch said. "Don't tell me it has zero value."

"It's understanding human behavior, and I guarantee you, 90 percent of our audience agrees with me," he insisted.

"It's a wild guess, Donny," O'Donnell said. "There's no science in it. There's nothing in it."

"There's no science in any of this," Deutsch said.

"You can put any name you want in the wild guess that you just made, and it doesn't make it true," O'Donnell said.

"I'm understanding what Donald Trump—the way he connects with this country and the strength he exudes," Deutsch said. "We need to exude a stronger strength. It's not a policy discussion."

"This is the pure guesswork section of the discussion," O'Donnell said.

"This is a guy who's done this for thirty years and watched human behavior," Deutsch said, referring to himself.

Deutsch has notorious confidence in his interpersonal skills. In his 2005 book Often Wrong, Never In Doubt, Deutsch has a chapter called "It All Comes Back to Babes," in which he highlights his business relationships with women, saying, "Part of my job in all business relationships is some sort of seduction."