Buchanan, Schlafly Pound NR Anti-Trump Tirade

Conservative icons say ideological purity less important than leadership

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan delivered a one-two punch Friday against the National Review, which has used its latest issue to launch a full-scale effort to take out GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

The magazine includes essays from conservative writers who argue that Trump would be a disastrous nominee for president and that he lacks authenticity as a true conservative. Appearing on “The Laura Ingraham Show” on Friday, Schlafly swatted away those complaints.

“National Review is not the authentic conservative,” said Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum. “You know (magazine founder) Bill Buckley was for giving away the Panama Canal, which was an enormous issue with conservatives. And in 10 years, they never wrote a single article about the Equal Rights Amendment. So they were no help against that. So I don’t recognize National Review as the authority on conservatism.”

Buchanan, who worked in the Reagan White House and ran a pair anti-Establishment races for president in the Republican primaries that resembled Trump’s current campaign, said during a separate appearance on the show that Schlafly’s support for Trump serves as rebuke to the billionaire’s critics.

“She’s the first lady of American conservatism,” he said. “Phyllis Schlafly is a legend to those of us who grew up in the conservative movement.”


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Schlafly said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz would be a good president and noted that many Eagle Forum members support him. But she said Trump is responsible for placing the country’s most important issue — immigration — at the center of the national debate.

“We are just grateful for Trump for bringing out the immigration issue,” she said. “I’m not going to tell you Donald Trump is perfect or right on everything. That’s not my thing at all. I think that immigration is the top issue today. Just look at what’s happened to Europe. And, we don’t want what’s happened in Europe to happen to us.”

Schlafly said she is less concerned about ideological purity and consistency over decades. She said Reagan was imperfect but became the best president of the 20th century. Despite two lopsided off-year victories by the Republican Party in 2010 and 2014, conservatives have precious little to show for it, she said.

“We do respond when (Trump) says he wants to make America great again,” she said. “Yes, we do. Obama didn’t want to make us great again. He wanted to make us like everybody else. We don’t want to be about everyone else. That’s why people came to this country.”

The National Review’s broadside against Trump is like deja vu for Buchanan, who found himself on the cover of the conservative magazine in 2003 labeled an “unpatriotic conservative” for his opposition to the Iraq war. He said the magazine and other Establishment conservative writers are off-base in trying to run Trump out of the Republican presidential race.

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“Who designates these people spokesmen for the conservative movement?” Buchanan asked. “I mean, where did that come from? Is there somebody who gave them holy orders or something to be speaking for the conservative movement or conservative cause?”

Craig Shirley, a noted Reagan biographer, said during his own appearance on the show that the magazine is mistaken to hold itself out as the arbiter of the conservative movement.

“National Review is but one voice, not the voice of conservatism,” he said. “Reading people out of the movement is never a good idea — even people who are recent converts or still on an ideological journey, you know, moving from the left to the right.”

Shirley told Ingraham that National Review made a tactical mistake with its anti-Trump issue. Rather than packing all of its punch into a single issue, he said, it would have been more effective to roll out the articles one a time over weeks and months.

“Now, the debate is just about the efficacy of the magazine, should they have done it, and now they’re pulled out of the debate,” he said. “Then, you have the name calling instead of legitimate complaints, or issues, against Donald Trump.”

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