Steve Schmidt: Trump is 'inciter-in-chief' and Republican leadership resembles something from The Handmaid's Tale

Longtime public affairs strategist talks about the state of the Republican party, why U.S. politics is now a game of 'incitement, not persuasion,' and more.



Steve Schmidt, the man who led Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial campaign, helped run George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential campaign, and spearheaded John McCain’s 2008 bid for the White House, stopped by PRWeek for a special episode of The PR Week.

Speaking to Steve Barrett, PRWeek's VP, editorial, Schmidt discussed why he left the Republican Party after 29 years, whether the party has a future post-Trump, out-of-touch political leaders, why there's no such thing as "alternative facts, only lies," and more.

Schmidt also discussed Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, gave his thoughts on the Edelman Trust Barometer and its place in communications, the hypocrisy of Davos, Howard Schultz and a potential presidential run, why it was a mistake to select Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate, his podcast Words Matter, and much more.

His role on the McCain bid was famously reprised on-screen by Woody Harrelson in HBO's 2012 film Game Change, and Schmidt went on to spend eight years at Edelman as vice chair, public affairs, leaving the firm this summer.

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