LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham said on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday that the “Bush GOP is over” even if Establishment Republicans “might not know it yet.”
Ingraham, who was promoting her book “Billionaire at the Barricades: The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump,” said that the conservative populism trumpeted successfully by President Donald Trump is the “winning agenda” that touched “the heart of the working-class person in this country.” Noting that Trump has struggled against the Establishment members from both major political parties ever since he announced his presidential candidacy, Ingraham said, “It’s time for a new generation of conservatives” to take over Washington, D.C.
“We’ve tried the Establishment Republican things — it hasn’t won since 2004 nationally. So that — the Bush GOP — is over. I mean, they might not know it yet, but it’s over,” Ingraham said. “It doesn’t mean we can’t work with them on certain issues. We can. But that era is gone.”
“And I think Trump is much closer to Reagan in his philosophy on trade and American prosperity and the working class than he is to Bush, and than he ever would be to Bush and to most of these Republicans on Capitol Hill thwarting him,” she added. “And he’s smoking them all out.”
Ingraham noted that she wrote her book because she thought “it was important to explain to people” that Trump was elected “because conservative populism wins when properly articulated and passionately fought for.”
“And going back to the days when I worked for President Reagan, all the way up through the Mitt Romney attempt to win in 2012 and everything in between, the populist revolution is real. It’s happening,” she said. “The working class is like kind of tired of being kicked to the curb. So it was time to tell that story with a lot of personal anecdotes along the way — how I became sort of this believer.”
Noting that she ate dinner Monday night with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who also is a conservative populist, Ingraham said that Bannon, like Trump, “understands that to have a winning agenda you have to touch the heart of the working-class person in this country.”
“Reagan understood it, 1980. That’s why he got all those Reagan Democrats in the South, and the Midwest, the old Rust Belt, to turn out and switch parties. That sentiment is still there,” she said. “There was a populist strain through most Republican candidates, but Trump really embodied that.”
The GOP-led Congress hasn’t been fully on board with the president’s legislative agenda, leading to heightened levels of tension and frustration between Trump and his own party. After a series of failures to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and exhibiting a glaring lack of willingness to tackle the president’s “America First” agenda, the GOP Congress has failed to fall in line with the wave of conservative populism that propelled Trump into office.
As a result, Ingraham said, “It’s time that the GOP Establishment either get on board with the Trump agenda or move on.”
“It’s time for a new generation of conservatives and thinkers to come forward who connect with the upset and the concern of the regular working person in the United States,” she said. “When you’re in Washington for decades, and your whole life is shuttling between a think tank and fundraiser and lobbyist event, you lose touch with the people. Sometimes you lose touch from where you came.”
“And I think it’s time for a lot of these people just to move on. They clearly don’t understand that you can’t campaign on repealing Obamacare and then 10 months later saying, ‘Oh no, that was just too hard,'” Ingraham added. “You can’t do that.”
Ingraham noted that she included the word “barricade” in her new book’s title because “Trump has to clear a lot in order to be successful.”
“He’s brash. But the public believes like, maybe it’s time we need kind of a wrecking ball to go in and kind of remake politics,” she said, noting that the new president has made championing “the American middle class that’s been hammered because of globalization” his key priority while refusing to “play the parlor games of Washington.”
But this strategy has “upset” Establishment Republicans and Democrats alike, whether it’s been exhibited through pushing for repealing and replacing Obamacare, enforcing immigration laws, or calling out political correctness and the politicization of sports.
Ingraham pointed to flagrantly anti-Trump ESPN host Jemele Hill, who was placed on a two-week suspension beginning Tuesday after she called for a boycott of Dallas Cowboys advertisers following the owner’s decision to fall in line with Trump on standing for the national anthem. During the past couple of weeks, Trump has repeatedly called out football players who choose to protest racial injustice in the U.S. by kneeling during the anthem. Hill supported those players and has also dubbed Trump to be a “white supremacist.”
“How is the NFL oppressing African-Americans? I think we’ve given great opportunity to really talented players, and to me that’s something to really celebrate,” she said, noting that Trump was unafraid to be politically incorrect in calling out players who refuse to honor the flag and the national anthem by standing.
“This is not politics. This is athletics. But the Left — all they have is the grievance culture. All they have is race, and they’re going to keep going back to that as long as they can,” Ingraham said. “So Jemele doesn’t seem to get that, but she just echoes what the Left is all about right now — it’s about … less speech for their critics and more speech for them. So she wants to keep the race thing going.”