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Ed Schultz: Trump Didn’t Tap Into ‘Anger’ to Win, But Tapped Into Voters’ ‘Livelihood’

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – RT America anchor and former MSNBC host Ed Schultz told PJM that he believes President Trump “wants to win for the little guy” and the Democrats do not know how to counter his message so they are pushing for investigations into Russia’s election involvement.

Schultz praised Trump for pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as the “moral thing to do” for America, adding that Hillary Clinton lost to Trump because she did not pay attention to trade or the outsourcing of American jobs during the campaign.

Since recent fiery townhall meetings targeting members of Congress have been mostly focused on healthcare, Schultz said Trump might “slow down” the Obamacare replacement process.

“Trump’s not stupid. He will go with the people. If he has to slow down healthcare he will – that’s what I think. I think he’s pragmatic and he wants to win. I think he wants to win for the little guy. I mean, he’s made enough money and the other thing is Middle America went to Trump because he was not bought and paid for. He was the perfect Citizens United candidate. Think about it – he doesn’t owe anybody anything, so, but he believes in a tax cut. He believes in a better trade deal – that kind of makes him a little bit of a lefty on the trade deal. We’re going to have some level of protectionism,” Schultz said during an interview last weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

“You can’t do a bilateral trade agreement unless you have some sort of protectionism, and that’s the word that the conservatives have had a hard time with. Accept it. We’re the ones with the product. We’re the ones that can make sure. We want to make stuff again and that will put us in a very strong position. So, it ain’t about Wall Street. If he can get the middle class to revive, Wall Street will take care of itself,” he added.

Schultz continued, “If he deregulates Wall Street and helps the middle class and does these bilateral trade deals, he’s got a real chance to have a run, I think, and I think the Democrats know this and they don’t know how to counter it. You know where the Democrats are right now? They want to do investigations with the FBI and Russia. C’mon.”

The RT network is funded by the Russian government. PJM asked Schultz if Democrats’ calls for further investigation into possible ties between Russian officials and Trump’s campaign could prevent his overall agenda from moving forward. Schultz said the Democrats are “looking for anything legal to hang around Trump’s neck.”

“I mean, Keith Ellison is talking impeachment. The Congressional Black Caucus is talking impeachment. I mean, can we at least try to move America forward? I mean, they ought to be focused on saving healthcare. They ought to be focused on making sure we don’t privatize Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – that’s where the Democrats ought to be. Instead they are chasing down scandals and making them up. I am a little disappointed in them right now,” Schultz said.

“I don’t think Russia is the enemy of the United States. I don’t believe that at all. I don’t believe they’re going to invade Estonia. I don’t believe that they are going to punch into Romania. I don’t believe that. I mean, I think this is all big paranoia. They don’t have the conventional forces to do that, anyway. There’s no way that Russia could match the United States in conventional forces but they have retooled all of their nuclear arsenal, you know. They’ve got to carry a big stick,” he added.

Schultz argued that Trump did not tap into the “anger” of the American electorate but instead tapped into their livelihood through his message on trade. Schultz said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic members of Congress with whom he spoke three years ago were not familiar with TPP because it was negotiated in secret. The TPP was made public in November 2015, a month after it was signed by member countries.

“I tried to talk to a few congressional members, House members, they didn’t know what Trans-Pacific Partnership was, they hadn’t heard of it, it was done in secret, it was negotiated in secret. It was circumventing the law of the country and there was only a few people who really understood what this was going to do, and finally every union in America was against and if we had done that deal we would not have done any other trade agreements again. There would not have been a need to do any other trade agreements,” Schultz said.

“The Democrats missed it. The Democrats did not pay attention to trade. They did not pay attention to the outsourcing of jobs. They talked a good game but they didn’t do anything about it. Trump shows up, says I’m going to tear the deal up and do something better for you. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin believed him and said, ‘well, let’s give him a chance.’ Every single speech he gave he pounded on it. He was very focused on jobs and the mainstream media in America was saying, ‘well, Trump tapped into anger.’ No, he didn’t. He tapped into their livelihood. He tapped into their jobs – that’s how he won,” he added.

Schultz, who was critical of Republicans as an MSNBC host, described himself as a populist who does not agree with one party on everything.

“My job is different now. I do the news. I don’t do the commentary – this is a little out of my wheelhouse right now but, look, I’m a populist. I’m from the middle of the country, that’s where I cut my chops in this business and I think there has to be a level of common sense.  I don’t agree with Trump on everything and I don’t agree with the Democrats on everything,” he said.

Schultz said the Democrats are their own worst enemy because they do not understand Middle America.

“I mean, how the hell did Hillary Clinton lose Michigan? Because she thought she had it and didn’t understand what those people were doing. You know, I think they’re their own worst enemy – the Democrats are – because they didn’t understand where Middle America is. If you take New York and California away from the Democrats, where the hell are they? They’ve got nothing – that’s because they haven’t messaged properly – that’s because they’ve taken the labor force for granted and they haven’t gone after the proper trade deals,” he said.

“If the Democrats were true believers in workers, they would be for bilateral trade agreements where you can go cut a deal. If you cut a deal on a bilateral agreement you can, number one, make sure you don’t cheat on currency manipulation. You can control the product coming in. You can stay away from tariffs, and we’re the ones with the customers. Of course they want to do deals with us,” he added.