Like many Americans, Rachel Maddow can’t figure out if Donald Trump running for president is a big, elaborate joke.
“I can’t tell if this is politics or whether it’s just PR from a celebrity,” Maddow said on her show Tuesday, adding that she never understood Trump’s fame, anyway.
But regardless of whether Trump’s campaign is for real, it has important implications for the other Republican candidates, the MSNBC host pointed out. Namely, with Fox News limiting the early Republican primary debates to 10 candidates, he could crowd out more traditional (read: serious) contenders.
“If he's going to be there in the debates … do the other candidates have to strategize about that?” Maddow asked MSNBC correspondent Casey Hunt, who attended Trump’s campaign kickoff Tuesday.
“He definitely could make it onto the debate stage,” Hunt said. “He could push off someone like John Kasich, who is the sitting governor of Ohio or Bobby Jindal.”
“I’ve talked to some Republicans who said the [Republican National Committee] made a big mistake in ceding [the debate] criteria to media organizations,” Hunt added.
As the presidential race has heated up, Maddow has consistently criticized Fox News for what she thinks are “flexible, irrelevant and opaque criteria” for inclusion in the early presidential debates.