GOP Civil War: Conservatives Turn On National Review Over Anti-Trump Issue

››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

Right-wing media figures are criticizing the conservative magazine National Review after it released a comprehensive feature of conservatives blasting current GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump. The critics are claiming the magazine's criticism is "intellectual snobbery," that the magazine is "irrelevant," that it has "lost touch with the electorate," and that it is committing "suicide."

National Review Releases "Conservatives Against Trump" Feature

National Review Editors And 22 Conservative Pundits Condemn Donald Trump In Comprehensive "Conservatives Against Trump" Feature. National Review produced a January 21 feature criticizing Donald Trump's candidacy with an editorial and commentary from 22 right-wing pundits including Glenn Beck, Dana Loesch, and Erick Erickson. The publication's editors denounced Trump, calling his politics "those of an averagely well-informed businessman" and dubbing him a "philosophically unmoored political opportunist":

Donald Trump leads the polls nationally and in most states in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. There are understandable reasons for his eminence, and he has shown impressive gut-level skill as a campaigner. But he is not deserving of conservative support in the caucuses and primaries. Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.

[...]

Indeed, Trump's politics are those of an averagely well-informed businessman: Washington is full of problems; I am a problem-solver; let me at them. But if you have no familiarity with the relevant details and the levers of power, and no clear principles to guide you, you will, like most tenderfeet, get rolled. Especially if you are, at least by all outward indications, the most poll-obsessed politician in all of American history.

[...]

Any candidate can promise the moon. But politicians have records of success, failure, or plain backsliding by which their promises may be judged. Trump can try to make his blankness a virtue by calling it a kind of innocence. But he is like a man with no credit history applying for a mortgage -- or, in this case, applying to manage a $3.8 trillion budget and the most fearsome military on earth. [National Review, 1/21/16]

Right-Wing Media Figures Lash Out At National Review

Laura Ingraham: National Review Committing "Suicide At The Wishing Well." Talk radio host Laura Ingraham wrote on Twitter that National Review editor Rich Lowry's effort to stop Trump is akin to committing     "[s]uicide at the wishing well":

[Twitter.com, 1/21/16]

Fox's Van Susteren: National Review Saying "We Are Irrelevant" Because "Most Republicans Want" Trump. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren wrote on Twitter that National Review is saying "subliminally 'we are irrelevant'" because "most Republicans want" Trump:

[Twitter.com, 1/21/16]

Ann Coulter Praises Man For Cancelling His National Review Subscription. A Twitter user told conservative commentator Ann Coulter that he "cancelled NR way back when they dropped @AnnCoulter," and he criticized National Review's decision to go after Trump. Coulter praised the user, writing, "You are a gentleman and patriot":

[Twitter.com, 1/21/16]

Breitbart's Joel Pollak: National Review's Case Against Trump Is "Intellectual Snobbery." Breitbart News senior editor Joel Pollak wrote on Twitter that while he "usually" has "great respect" for National Review, the editor's criticism of Trump "sounds like intellectual snobbery & little else." Pollak also questioned why the magazine didn't wait to scrutinize Trump until the next Republican debate, which the magazine was set to co-host, saying it was "self-destruct[ing]":

[Twitter.com, 1/21/16, 1/22/16]

Breitbart's John Nolte: National Review Has "Lost Touch With The Electorate." Breitbart News' John Nolte on Twitter wrote that while he "love[s]" National Review and believes "they are vital to the cause," many people at the magazine have "lost touch with the electorate" and "don't get us anymore":

[Twitter.com, 1/22/16, 1/22/16]

Charlie Hurt: "I Don't Really See How It's Gonna Be All That Effective" Because Most Trump Supporters "Are Not Reading The National Review, Sorry To Say." On the January 21 edition of The Kelly File, Washington Times' Charlie Hurt predicted that National Review's anti-Trump effort would not "be all that effective," as most Trump supporters "are not reading The National Review, sorry to say." Host Megyn Kelly responded that Trump would likely laugh at the effort:

MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Charlie, speak of this effort by National Review. I mean it's extraordinary, but is it going to do anything?

CHARLIE HURT: Megyn, I don't really see how it's gonna be all that effective because most of the people that are out there supporting Donald Trump so jubilantly right now are not reading the National Review, sorry to say. Nor are they reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page or any of these other publications that are held in such high regard around here. But I have to say that, you know, I get that they are making these arguments, and it's good they are making these arguments, and I applaud that. But my goodness, when you look at the policies, many of which came from Republicans over the past 15 years out of Washington, why didn't we have the outrage over that? Where was this unified conservative outrage over the bank bailout in 2008? Where was the unified outrage over launching the trillion-dollar plus war that we were going to pay for with nothing but debt? Where has been all of the unified chorus of outrage over Republican politicians who come along and then supported amnesty over all these years?

KELLY: This is some of the stuff that explains the anger that fuels in large part Trump's candidacy, a badge he holds with honor, Roger. You tell me, you know him, but my impression is Trump will look at this and say, "Ha, I didn't think I'd have you anyway and I don't need you." [Fox News, The Kelly File, 1/21/16]

CNN's Jeffrey Lord: "Same Folks" Who Supported Mitt Romney Now "Concerned About Donald Trump's Conservatism." During the January 22 edition of CNN's New Day, conservative CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord said that while "I love my friends at National Review," the magazine in 2012 supported Mitt Romney, who was "not very much of a conservative." Lord said he was "amused that ... some of the same folks who were pushing Mitt Romney are now concerned about Donald Trump's conservatism":

JEFFREY LORD: One of the things that I must say that I take somewhat with a grain of salt -- I love my friends at National Review, but four years ago they were insisting that Mitt Romney was the guy, and he was a guy who was not very much of a Reagan fan, not very much of a conservative and they were pushing him for all they were worth. So I'm a little amused that the notion that the same folks, some of the same folks who were pushing Mitt Romney are now concerned about Donald Trump's conservatism. [CNN, New Day, 1/22/16]

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