Longtime White House correspondent Sam Donaldson said President Donald Trump’s supporters love him because they want a “white Christian country” back. However, he said Senate Republicans will gladly convict the president if public support for impeachment continues to rise.
Donaldson, the veteran ABC News anchor, said Sunday he believes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would gladly “throw [Trump] over” if data, such as last week’s Fox News poll, continue to show increasing support for impeachment. Donaldson told CNN’s Brian Stelter that many of the president’s rally attendees “love it” when Trump says “vicious” things about minorities or poor Americans because they want a return to an idealized Christian, Caucasian vision of the country’s past.
Donaldson argued that while much of Trump’s base voters love his intense rhetoric, Republicans in election years and in Congress could easily turn on him.
“The Trump rallies are his strong supporters–I mean, ‘lock her up,’ I mean, all the things he says, all the vicious, mean things he says, they love it,” Donaldson told Stelter Sunday. “There are these people in this country. They are good Americans otherwise. They’ll probably give you the shirt off their back, they’ll help you if you need it, but they have this fixation.”
He continued, “They want to return this country to the white Christian country that they believe it should be again. They don’t want the diversity, and they follow him for this, but they’re not the country. We are a diverse people, we are good and strong because of that.”
Donaldson said the news media and other naysayers of impeachment should consider how quickly Senate Republicans will turn against Trump should wider public opinion turn even more sour. He noted McConnell is currently in a Kentucky campaign that is tighter than he’d believed, suggesting he and other election year GOP lawmakers could easily decide to flip on Trump.
“These Republicans will suddenly decide, ‘Oh, we’ve been conned! How could we be fooled?'” Donaldson said. “I’m telling you something, if public opinion is strongly for the impeachment and the conviction of President Trump, he will be convicted in the Senate with the Republicans’ help.”
Donaldson has appeared on Reliable Sources and CNN several times over the past year to criticize the Trump administration’s media distraction tactics and other outright “lies” from former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In an April appearance, Donaldson ridiculed the White House for not holding a “daily” press conference in a record amount of time.
In November 2018, Donaldson took a direct shot at Trump’s most ardent defenders and rally attendees: “His small base is not gonna run this country. They don’t now, and they never will.”