Historian Meacham: GOP 'sold their soul for power and the check bounced'

Presidential historian Jon Meacham on Tuesday said that Republicans "sold their soul" to President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE "and the check bounced."

"I think Republicans who are only now saying out loud what they had to know in their hearts, which was that ultimately this unconventional nominee — they sold their soul for power and the check bounced," Meacham, who also serves as executive editor and executive vice president at publishing giant Random House, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."


The perspective from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author comes as the president is battling multiple controversies, including allegations of an affair by adult-film star Stormy Daniels and special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE’s continuing investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential race.

The Trump administration has also been plagued by high turnover, including the recent firing of former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonReport: Trump UK ambassador fired deputy for mentioning Obama in speech Overnight Defense: Ex-Navy secretary slams Trump in new op-ed | Impeachment tests Pompeo's ties with Trump | Mexican president rules out US 'intervention' against cartels Pompeo-Trump relationship tested by impeachment inquiry MORE and the resignation of senior economic adviser Gary CohnGary David CohnGary Cohn says he's 'concerned' no one is left in White House to stand up to Trump Trump says US will hit China with new round of tariffs next month Gary Cohn bemoans 'dramatic impact' of Trump tariffs MORE, among others.

"They haven’t gotten what they wanted," Meacham said of Republicans. "They have a Supreme Court justice [Neil Gorsuch], they have a tax bill, but you know what? One of those other Republican presidents who would be a more conventional and dignified figure would have given them that and they wouldn’t have to be pulling out of races saying that this president is untenable."

"So I think this late discovery of what should have been discernible is fascinating," Meacham said.

Co-host Joe Scarborough, a former GOP congressman who left the party in 2017 because of Trump, agreed that Republicans will pay a heavy price in the fall.

“I’m a big believer in having the courage to compromise, having the courage to be pragmatic and meet people halfway," Scarborough said. "But this Republican Party basically did a deal with a man who as [Speaker] Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea Duncan Hunter pleads guilty after changing plea Trump campaign steps up attacks on Biden MORE said the day or two before he endorsed him was racist and made one of the most racist comments you could make and then he went ahead and endorsed him."

"We’ve seen that time and time and time again. There’s some things that you don’t compromise on and if somebody gets your endorsement, it has to come at a price, and that price has never been paid by Donald Trump. And now the price is going to be passed on to the Republican Party this fall," Scarborough concluded. 

Their comments come shortly after a recent Fox News poll showed Democrats' advantage over Republicans in the midterms elections is narrowing.

According to the poll, Democratic candidates are ahead of Republicans by only 5 points on a generic ballot. Forty-six percent of voters said they would support Democratic candidates in the midterms, while 41 percent said they planned to back Republicans.

A Fox News poll in October showed Democrats were leading by 15 points on the generic ballot.

On the RealClearPolitics average of polls, the generic ballot lead for Democrats is 5.8 points, down from a 10.7-point lead on Oct. 30.