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Bill Kristol Slaps Back at Trump on NR Icon Buckley's Conservative Activism


By    |   Friday, 22 Jan 2016 09:10 PM

Donald Trump is wrong to say that National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. would not have devoted an issue of the magazine to attacking his presidential aspirations, Bill Kristol told Newsmax TV on Friday.

"In early 2000, remember Trump was thinking of running as a Reform Party candidate," Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" in an interview. "Buckley dismissed Trump as a narcissistic and a demagogue, the kind of person who would not qualify to be president."

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In an essay that year for Cigar Aficionado magazine, Buckley said:

"Look for the narcissist. … But whatever the depths of self-enchantment, the demagogue has to say something.

"So what does Trump say? That he is a successful businessman and that that is what America needs in the Oval Office.

"There is some plausibility in this, though not much," Buckley continued. "The greatest deeds of American presidents — midwifing the new republic; freeing the slaves; harnessing the energies and vision needed to win the Cold War — had little to do with a bottom line."

Trump invoked Buckley, who died in 2008, in a tweet bashing the conservative magazine for its full-court press against his Republican presidential campaign in its Feb. 15 issue.



Kristol, however, told Malzberg that next month's issue continued Buckley's legacy as exemplified by the Cigar Aficionado essay.

"Bill Buckley … always thought one of his jobs was to try to persuade his fellow conservatives not to go off down foolish paths and follow false preachers," he told Malzberg. "The people at National Review should be proud that they're following in Bill Buckley's footsteps."

Kristol is among the 22 conservatives who contributed essays to National Review's report. He called it an effort to remind voters of "some of the things people have just willfully forgotten" about Trump.

"Willfully forgotten what Trump has done over the last 25, 30 years. Not just about conservatism. What kind of businessman is he? What kind of human being, honestly, is he?

"What kind of demonstration has there ever been of an attachment to American principles, let alone conservative principles?" Kristol asked.

"We've got to call this as it is — and we'll jump off the next bridge in six months."

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Donald Trump is wrong to say that National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. would not have devoted an issue of the magazine to attacking his presidential aspirations, Bill Kristol told Newsmax TV on Friday.
bill kristol, donald trump, national review, issue
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2016-10-22
Friday, 22 Jan 2016 09:10 PM
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