Washington chattering class fails to recognize Trump appeal?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 31, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: Charles Krauthammer has called you a rodeo clown.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Charles Krauthammer is a totally overrated person who really dislikes me personally. I never met him. I mean, he's a totally overrated guy, doesn't know what he's doing.

TUR: Goldberg has compared you to a failed man who mistook flattery for insight. George Will --

TRUMP: I went to the best school, got great marks, everything else. I went out. I made a fortune, a big fortune, a tremendous fortune, and then I get called by a guy who can't buy a pair of pants, I get called names? Give me a break.



DOUG MCKELWAY, FOX NEWS: I can assure you he is wearing pants today. Our question -- he'
spared Kirsten Powers so far, anyway. Our question is, is the Washington chattering class, or "Special Report," are they failing to recognize the nationwide appeal of the Donald, Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, I think you left out the best one. There was one night in which he was upset by something I said. He stayed up for hours tweeting about me, and the best was that he re-tweeted the release of my book. He said "Things that Matter" by Charles Krauthammer, out in paperback," and then he added, "book sucks."


KRAUTHAMMER: The shortest review in the history of book reviewing.

MCKELWAY: Kirsten, are we failing to appreciate the appeal?

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY: You know, honestly, I think maybe a little bit. I think that we're quick to say he's not going to be the nominee, meaning we're going to write him off. But there is something about him and something about Bernie Sanders, I think, that is resonating with the American people. They are really tired of Washington politicians. They're tired of people who don't understand them and aren't talking about things that they care about. So I think in that sense he is tapping into that. I still think he says a lot of things that are highly problematic. I have been really critical of him.
I don't know why I haven't gotten attacked yet. But maybe tonight's my night.


MCKELWAY: Jonah, we live inside the beltway or in the bubble. Are we out of touch with Americans? I saw a focus group on another network, and people were saying of Donald Trump in New Hampshire, he's successful. I want to be successful. He knows how to win. He speaks his mind. He's not a politician.

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW: I actually understand the appeal of Donald Trump. But at the same time I sort of reject the premise. Most Republicans, most people in the base who I talk to quite a bit actually don't like Donald Trump and he isn't their first choice. We're talking about a guy who is in first place because one out of five voters are infatuated or amused or entertained by the guy. That is not necessarily the groundswell that a lot of people are calling it. In a crowded field it does well.

But the Republican base or the segment of the Republican base who likes Donald Trump has every reason to be mad at how things have been going over the last six years. The only thing I can say to them is they're wrong when they think that Donald Trump is the logical vehicle for their political ambitions and desires.

KRAUTHAMMER: Can I just say that it's good to see Jonah in pants?


GOLDBERG: For the record you said I'm wearing pants. You can't confirm that I bought them. I invite you FOX's camera crews to come with me on a pants buying expedition.

KRAUTHAMMER: You rent them.


MCKELWAY: All right, item number two, the latest on the OPM data breach.
The administration has not budged on that 22 million people who were affected by the breach. There's a relatively new item that's come light that over a million fingerprints were obtained in this data breach. In the age of biometrics, that's very troubling.

KRAUTHAMMER: I just received a notice from OPM that I was a member of the breach, which I didn't even know since I haven't worked in the government for 35 years. But I was a referee for somebody who has security clearance.
So the net here is extremely wide and I'm waiting to be hacked or blackmailed.

MCKELWAY: Kirsten?

POWERS: Well, you know, I think one of the things is there's a lot criticism now that the Obama administration isn't going after China on this, basically blaming China, even though people know that it was China.
And I think that the reason they can't do that is because we're doing the same thing to China. People are sort of speculating that this is weakness on the part of the Obama administration, but Edward Snowden in his leaked documents, you know, leaked that we were doing the exact same thing. We were actually getting personal information or Chinese people.

MCKELWAY: Kirsten makes a good point. Hold your cyber fire until it's needed at some future date. Don't reveal your capabilities.

GOLDBERG: I'm not going to get on my tirade about how we need to have cyber letters of mark where we hire privateers to go after Chinese more. I am open to the idea that Obama doesn't want to do this because he's being strong in some other capacity in a secret. It's just that I don't know any other realm of foreign policy where Barack Obama has been particularly strong.

MCKELWAY: Let's finish up with winners and losers. Jonah, we'll start with you.

GOLDBERG: My winner for the week, and I could have done this the last three weeks in a row, is the Center for Medical Progress which has done incredible work getting an important issue which Kirsten has written about, which Charles has written about, which I have written, getting the issue of the partial birth abortion and the medical selling babies essentially for parts. My loser of the week is the obvious one. It's this Walter Palmer, the guy who killed Cecil the lion. Even if you think big trophy hunting is fine and baiting animals off their reservations is fine, it's indisputable he's still the loser of the week.

MCKELWAY: Kirsten, quickly?

POWERS: Those are great. My winner is actually, sorry chattering class, Donald Trump, just for having -- he's at the top of the polls. I think that people are surprised. I think I'm surprised, frankly, a lot of people are surprised. And I think the loser is right now the GOP because they're going to have to contend with him in the debate. They're going to have to contend with him being an actual player in this cycle.

MCKELWAY: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Winner, ironically, are the lions of Africa precisely because of the moron who shot Cecil the lion. There's a huge reaction. People were not aware that this stuff was going on. I think it's going to have a long range effect.

My loser is the Olympics. Awarded to Beijing for the winter games, buffed and withdrawing, showing that this grotesque extravaganza is now going become the province of dictatorships because they're the only ones who can shove it down the throats of their people.

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