by Jon N. Hall 4/20/18
Although the truly florid lunacy over the Trump presidency is confined to the political left, there is another breed of anti-Trumpism on the political right: the Never Trump movement. These folks are the conservatives, the libertarians, and (especially) the establishment Republicans who were staunchly against Trump from the moment he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 to announce his candidacy.
Never Trumpers got heavyweight support from the February 15, 2016 issue of National Review, the cover of which was emblazoned with “Against Trump.” Since “never” means never, there seems to be no assuaging these folks, many of whom are the stars of conservativism, i.e. intellectuals whom many right-wingers admire. Here’s a list of well-known Never Trumpers. Some Never Trumpers, however, may be faux conservatives.
During most of the 2016 campaign, I was not a Trump supporter, as I thought Trump would do nothing less than take down the whole Republican Party with him. In fact, I wrote maybe 15 articles for American Thinker urging primary voters, convention delegates, party committees, and anyone interested to back someone else. I mydamnself voted for Ted Cruz in the Missouri primary, and not because I was hot and heavy for Sen. Cruz but because I feared ruination of the party. And if primary voters didn’t do as I urged, then I wanted them to be ignored by delegates. Even so, in the first of those 2016 articles calling for the GOP to go with someone else, I indicated that I would vote for Mr. Trump if he were the nominee, and that I did. So this kid was never a Never Trumper.
On Dec. 29, 2017, the New York Times ran “Why I’m Still a NeverTrumper” by Bret Stephens. Stephens starts his column well, and even acknowledges the several successes of Trump’s first year. But he then admits that he still wishes Hillary Clinton were president and wonders whether he’s really a conservative. (My dear Bret, you seem to have gone over to the Dark Side.)
Some of President Trump’s most visible and vocal supporters are on FNC, the Fox News Channel. Because Fox News has long been the bête noire of the radical left, when Never Trumpers rail against Fox News, they need to be aware of whom they’re getting in bed with.
On March 30, the Washington Post ran “Why I left Fox News” by Colonel Ralph Peters. The article seems to have created a stir. When one Googles the first sentence of the article, 992,000 hits come back. The article was also run in McClatchy newspapers. Col. Peters is not a regular at the Post, but he does have his own column (archive) at the other Post, the New York Post, Alexander Hamilton’s old newspaper, which happens to be owned by News Corp, a Rupert Murdoch company, as is 21st Century Fox, which owns Fox News. (Let’s hope the good colonel doesn’t burn all his bridges.)
Over the years, I’ve appreciated Col. Peters’ appearances on Fox News, but this article has problems. Peters trots out Fox’s attacks on institutions, as though there are no problems with America’s institutions. Don’t pretend that there’s nothing wrong with our institutions, colonel, they’re the problem. Peters also talks about “Fox’s assault on our constitutional order,” but provides no examples of such.
What probably provoked Peters’ article was the March20 BuzzFeed leak of his Fox News resignation email, which was followed the next day by an article in the Post by Max Boot: “A conservative commentator revolts against Fox News.” But whereas Peters showed some grace and equanimity in his article and even thanks his Fox colleagues, Boot isn’t so nice. The last paragraph of Boot’s article contains one of the more deranged statements I’ve encountered by a Never Trumper (italics added): “Fox News’s creation in 1996 by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes was one of the most damaging developments in modern American history.”
It’s a pity that there are no editors at the once-decent Washington Post charged with protecting their writers from making fools of themselves. Incidentally, you can find Mr. Boot on the list of Never Trumpers above. He supposedly endorsed Hillary Clinton, (and yet, he thinks he’s a conservative).
The reason Boot might have it in for Fox is because he didn’t acquit himself well there in July of last year when he appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight, which you can watch at RealClearPolitics. That appearance was the day after Col. Peters had appeared on the same show; watch the whole exchange at RCP, or just the fiery moments at Twitter. Tucker may be the most gentlemanly host on cable news, but don’t call him a Nazi, a quisling, or a Putin accommodationist unless you’re ready to rumble.
The reason some Never Trumpers have it in for Fox News is not because the company hired Tucker Carlson to take over the time slot of Mr. Big, (i.e. Bill O’Reilly). Mr. Carlson isn’t a Trump apologist, (I can make that assessment because I watch the guy every night). Rather, the reason Never Trumpers have their panties in a bind over Fox News is because of the guy who follows Carlson: Sean Hannity, who refers to the MSM as the “Destroy Trump Media,” which he promises never to be.
Democrats and the radical left have put their hopes for getting rid of Trump in the Mueller probe. But that all seems to be boomeranging; what the Democrats have accused Trump of doing is what they actually did. For months now, Hannity’s program has doggedly focused on Democrat scandals and they hate him for it. Hannity’s show may well be the tip of the spear in uncovering wrongdoing in the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. And it’s the loons of the Left that Never Trumpers are now grouped with. The Never Trumpers are more concerned about possible crimes that candidate Trump may have committed than with the demonstrable undeniable crimes committed by candidate Clinton. They care more about getting Trump than with cleaning up the corruption, the institutional rot, at the top of the FBI and the Department of Justice.
What happened in the 2016 general election still seems a miracle, especially when one factors in the GOP’s success on the state level: Trump had coattails to burn. A cogent case might be made that the most important thing Trump did was to save us from the Dragon Lady. Had Mrs. Clinton won, it’s doubtful that any of what we’ve been learning on Fox News about the DOJ, the FBI, the FISA court, the Steele dossier, etc. would have come to light. America will cease being America if we continue to have a two-tiered justice system. Mrs. Clinton, her campaign, and all Deep State malefactors need to face the music.
Trump could denuclearize North Korea, could get the economy humming along at 4 percent growth, turn water into wine, and many Never Trumpers would persist in their disdain of the Donald. Why? Could it be a deep fear about not being taken seriously, of being irrelevant? Perhaps they’re more concerned about being shown to have been wrong than about everything blowing up.
A wise old Defense Secretary once said that “You go to war with the army you have.” Well, you run a country with the president you have. If Trump has some deficiencies, then let us work to help him. He’s done some fine things since in office, some very conservative things; even Bret Stephens admits it.
Without Fox News, America would be much deeper into socialism than she already is. Fox News is all we conservatarians have on the boob tube. If Rupert’s son decides to lurch left in the programing on Fox News, it’ll be enough for this kid to finally “cut the cord.”
Jon N. Hall of Ultracon Opinion is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. • (198 views)