Ex-GOP Rep After Attending Trump Rally: ‘The Most Homogeneous Environment I’ve Been in in Decades’

On Tuesday night, former Florida congressman and now-MSNBC commentator David Jolly shared his experience attending the Trump rally in Tampa. The #NeverTrump Republican began by slamming the “verbal assaults” to the press, specifically referring to the heckling CNN reporter Jim Acosta faced earlier in the evening and noting the excitement of the crowd when President Donald Trump used what he described was “anti-immigration rhetoric” and the revival of the “Lock Her Up” chants aimed at Hillary Clinton. “What was most remarkable to me though, and probably the thing that I will never forget and I am wrestling with tonight is how homogeneous the crowd was,” Jolly told Brian Williams. “And we can decide whether or not we want to assign culpability to the president for cultivating a constituency that tonight was 99% caucasian, working class, or is that a broader national conversation we need to have. But I’ll be honest you. And I gut check myself. I asked friends and I asked other folks in the media, look around. How many African Americans, how many black Americans do we see tonight? And you could count them on one finger. And some of them were specifically positioned for camera shots.” Jolly declared that this was a “white working class audience” and gave Trump credit since they “felt he was speaking for them, not just to them.” “Look, the Tampa Bay community is a very diverse community. I represented a very diverse community,” Jolly continued. “I walked into a rally tonight that was probably the most homogeneous environment I’ve been in in decades.” Jolly said he attended the rally “out of respect to those who support Donald Trump,” but later on he expressed concern about just how big the “big tent” was at the Trump rally. “What we saw tonight was a big tent Republican Party. Unlike the big tent conversations we had in the past ten year about  whether or not there was room for moderates, tonight we saw a big tent that invited in extremists, the QAnon crowd, the Wikileaks crowd, the Seth Rich crowd. This is a different Republican Party,” Jolly said.  “And, you know, there will likely be a day some time in the near future perhaps on your show where I join Steve Schmidt in making a statement very much like he did.” His reference to Schmidt was about his publicized renouncement from the Republican Party earlier this year. Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.

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