Presidential campaign strategist: 'The Rock' would be 'formidable possible candidate'

The former campaign manager for Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE's (R-Ariz.) presidential run on Thursday called actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson "a formidable possible candidate" against President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE in 2020.

The comment comes as Johnson, a former college football player at the University of Miami and WWE wrestling star, told Rolling Stone in an interview published this week that while Trump has proven that virtually anyone can, “not everybody should run for president.”

Steve Schmidt, who is also an MSNBC contributor, weighed in on the 45-year-old actor's prospects on "Morning Joe."


“If Dwayne Johnson wanted to run for office in this country, he would be a serious candidate," Schmidt told MSNBC co-host Joe Scarborough. "The next president will always have oppositional virtues to the last president. And so when you look at Dwayne Johnson, there is an element to his personality of genuine kindness, interest, he’s a nice person who takes time with every fan."

"You read the things that he talks about. He’s smart, he’s articulate, he understands there are things he doesn’t know and seems interested in learning them," Schmidt said.

"He has a type of humility that’s profoundly oppositional to Donald Trump. So when I look at Dwayne Johnson, I don’t look at him as a celebrity. I look at Dwayne Johnson as someone who possesses qualities of character that are quite oppositional to the incumbent president that makes him a formidable possible candidate."

Scarborough, a former GOP congressman who left the Republican Party last year over opposition to Trump, compared the president and Johnson to "a nasty lawn boy" and "a lawn boy," respectively, noting neither have what he considers the necessary experience.

"But Steve, that’s like saying you let the lawn boy do brain surgery on your mother and he was kind of nasty lawn boy, didn’t know how to do brain surgery and he killed your mother, but there’s another lawn boy across the street who is nice and has a better way about him when he’s mowing your lawn and collecting payment for mowing your lawn," Scarborough protested.

"I mean, The Rock doesn’t know more about government than Donald Trump. But yet, we’re talking about The Rock, we’re talking about Oprah. I could go down the list, Mark Cuban ... Bob Iger," he added, naming other celebrities who have been named as possible presidential contenders.

"I mean, people who are effective in their own ways, but, again, are we doomed to continue electing presidents that have no idea how to make the government work?” Scarborough asked.

Schmidt maintained that if Johnson put in the work, he could make a serious bid for office.

Johnson has downplayed making a run for the White House, citing his feeling that Americans want a more experienced person in the White House than Trump, a former real estate mogul who won the presidency without any prior political experience.

“What I'm sensing now is that we have to pivot back to people who have a deep-rooted knowledge of American history and politics and experience in policy and how laws get made. I think that pivot has to happen,” Johnson told Rolling Stone.

"I think in a lot of people's minds, what Trump has proved is that anybody can run for president," he added. "And in a lot of people's minds, what he's also proved is that not everybody should run for president.”