National Review Launches Conservative War On Donald Trump

National Review And 22 Conservative Media Personalities Call Trump A “Philosophically Unmoored Political Opportunist”

The conservative National Review Online (NRO) released a comprehensive feature of conservatives attacking current GOP front runner Donald Trump, highlighting the divisive 2016 Republican primary season. National Review editors and right-wing personalities such as Glenn Beck, Bill Kristol, and Erick Erickson criticized Trump as a “philosophically unmoored political opportunist” and “the very epitome of vulgarity.”

National Review Online Releases “Conservatives Against Trump” Feature

National Review Online Editors And 22 Conservative Pundits Condemn Donald Trump In Comprehensive “Conservatives Against Trump” Feature. National Review Online produced a January 21 feature ripping Donald Trump's candidacy with an editorial and commentary from 22 right-wing pundits. Conservatives such as Glenn Beck, Dana Loesch, and Erick Erickson joined the publication's editors in their denunciation, calling his politics “those of an averagely well-informed businessman” and 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 Online, 1/21/16]

Glenn Beck: “Trump's Potential Primary Victory Would Provide Hillary Clinton With The Easiest Imaginable Path To The White House.” In a January 21 article for National Review Online, Glenn Beck asserted that a Trump nomination would be “a crisis for conservatism” and argued that if he won, would “once again be no opposition to an ever-expanding government”:

Over the years, there have been endless fractures in the façade of individual freedom, but three policies provided the fuel that lit the tea-party fire: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, and the bank bailouts. 

Barack Obama supported all three. So did Donald Trump.


When conservatives desperately needed allies in the fight against big government, Donald Trump didn't stand on the sidelines. He consistently advocated that your money be spent, that your government grow, and that your Constitution be ignored. Sure, Trump's potential primary victory would provide Hillary Clinton with the easiest imaginable path to the White House. But it's far worse than that. If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, there will once again be no opposition to an ever-expanding government. [National Review Online, 1/21/16]

Erick Erickson: We Should Not Put A New Conservative In Charge Of Conservatism Or The Country." In a January 21 article for National Review Online, Erick Erickson argued “we should not put a new conservative in charge of conservatism or the country”: 

I will not be voting for Donald Trump in the primary. I take my conservatism seriously, and I also take Saint Paul seriously. In setting out the qualifications for overseers, or bishops, Saint Paul admonished Timothy, “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer . . . he must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:1,6).


Like the angels in heaven who rejoice for every new believer, we should rejoice for Donald Trump's conversion to conservatism.

But we should not put a new conservative in charge of conservatism or the country, so that he does not become puffed up with conceit and fall into condemnation. Republicans have wandered in the wilderness already by letting leaders define conservatism in their own image. Donald Trump needs more time and more testing of his new conservative convictions. [National Review Online, 1/21/2016]

Bill Kristol: “Isn't Donald Trump The Very Epitome Of Vulgarity?” In a January 21 the National Review Online symposium, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol argued that Donald Trump has “been a votary of wealth rather than of freedom” and called “Trumpism a two-bit Caesarism of a kind that American conservatives have always disdained.”

Let us, as conservatives, seek guidance from those we admire. The Federalist (No. 39) speaks of “that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.” Hasn't Donald Trump been a votary merely of wealth rather than of freedom? Hasn't he been animated by the art of the deal rather than by the art of self-government?


Isn't Donald Trump the very epitome of vulgarity? In sum: Isn't Trumpism a two-bit Caesarism of a kind that American conservatives have always disdained? Isn't the task of conservatives today to stand athwart Trumpism, yelling Stop? [National Review Online, 1/21/2016]

Brent Bozell: “Donald Trump -- Conservative Candidate Or Fake?” In a January 21 National Review Online symposium, Media Research Center's Brent Bozell argued that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump “might be the greatest charlatan of them all”, linking  Trump to liberal polices: 

The GOP base is clearly disgusted and looking for new leadership. Enter Donald Trump, not just with policy prescriptions that challenge the cynical GOP leadership but with an attitude of disdain for that leadership -- precisely in line with the sentiment of the base. Many conservatives are relishing this, but ah, the rub. Trump might be the greatest charlatan of them all.

A real conservative walks with us. Ronald Reagan read National Review and Human Events for intellectual sustenance; spoke annually to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Young Americans for Freedom, and other organizations to rally the troops; supported Barry Goldwater when the GOP mainstream turned its back on him; raised money for countless conservative groups; wrote hundreds of op-eds; and delivered even more speeches, everywhere championing our cause. Until he decided to run for the GOP nomination a few months ago, Trump had done none of these things, perhaps because he was too distracted publicly raising money for liberals such as the Clintons; championing Planned Parenthood, tax increases, and single-payer health coverage; and demonstrating his allegiance to the Democratic party. We conservatives should support the one candidate who walks with us. [National Review Online, 1/21/2016]

Katie Pavlich: Trump Is A “Con Man” Who “Bought Off Elected Officials In Order To Get His Way.” In a January 21 National Review Online symposium piece, Townhall editor Katie Pavlich argued that Trump has “made a living out of preying on and bullying society's most vulnerable, with the help of government”  and claimed “Trump isn't fighting for anyone but himself, which has been his pattern for decades”:

Trump has made a living out of preying on and bullying society's most vulnerable, with the help of government. He isn't an outsider, but rather an unelected politician of the worst kind. He admits that he's bought off elected officials in order get his way and to openly abuse the system.  

The rabid defense he gets from some quarters is astonishing. Trump's liberal positions aren't in the distant past--he has openly promoted them on the campaign trail. Trump isn't fighting for anyone but himself, which has been his pattern for decades.   Conservatives have a serious decision. Do we truly believe in our long-held principles and insist that politicians have records demonstrating fealty to them? Or are we willing to throw these principles away because an entertainer who has been a liberal

Democrat for decades simply says some of the right things?    In short, do our principles still matter? A vote for Trump indicates the answer is “No.” [National Review Online, 1/21/2016]

Dana Loesch: “Popularity Over Principle - Is This The New Right?”: In a January 21 symposium for National Review Online, Dana Loesch wrote Donald Trump doesn't “seem to care about” “conservative policies and conservative principles” that she “and many others [received] threats” over. Loesch argued that “the new Right” favors “popularity over principle” which is why Donald Trump is leading.

After 2008, I was on that fateful inaugural call to organize the first modern-day tea parties around the country. I stood on sidewalks with placards, phone-banked, went door to door, and traveled at my own expense to evangelize liberty and fire people up.


Why are other politicians excoriated when they change their minds -- as, for example, Rick Perry did on the question of whether HPV vaccinations in Texas should be compulsory -- but when Trump suddenly says he's pro-life, the claim is accepted uncritically? Why is it unconscionable for Ted Cruz to take and repay a loan from Goldman Sachs to help win a tough Senate race but acceptable for Donald Trump to take money from George Soros? Why is vetting Trump, as we do any other candidate, considered “bashing”? Aren't these fair questions? Just a few years ago, I and many others were receiving threats for promoting conservative policies and conservative principles -- neither of which Donald Trump seems to care about. Yet he's leading. Popularity over principle -- is this the new Right? [National Review Online, 1/21/2016]

Thomas Sowell: Donald Trump Is A “Glib Egomaniac,” And “A Shoot-From-The-Hip, Bombastic Showoff Is The Last Thing We Need Or Can Afford.” Contributing to a January 21 National Review Online symposium, Thomas Sowell wrote that" so many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor." Sowell continued, arguing “The actual track record of crowd pleasers, whether Juan Perón in Argentina, Obama in America, or Hitler n Germany, is very sobering, if not painfully depressing,” concluding that “A shoot-from-the-hip, bombastic showoff is the last thing we need or can afford”:

In a country with more than 300 million people, it is remarkable how obsessed the media have become with just one--Donald Trump. What is even more remarkable is that, after seven years of repeated disasters, both domestically and internationally, under a glib egomaniac in the White House, so many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor.


No national leader ever aroused more fervent emotions than Adolf Hitler did in the 1930s. Watch some old newsreels of German crowds delirious with joy at the sight of him. The only things at all comparable in more recent times were the ecstatic crowds that greeted Barack Obama when he burst upon the political scene in 2008. Elections, however, have far more lasting and far more serious--or even grim--consequences than emotional venting. The actual track record of crowd pleasers, whether Juan Perón in Argentina, Obama in America, or Hitler in Germany, is very sobering, if not painfully depressing.


A shoot-from-the-hip, bombastic showoff is the last thing we need or can afford. [National Review Online, 1/21/16]