A Balanced View of Trump
By David Henderson
I rarely find a balanced view of Trump. I gave one about a month ago. I’ve now found another.
Here’s Richard Brookhiser on what William F. Buckley, Jr. thought of Trump:
Buckley wrote about Trump the politician once, in an article for Cigar Aficionado, which ran in the spring of 2000 after Trump’s brief pursuit of the nomination of the Reform party, Ross Perot’s then-rudderless vehicle. Buckley ID’d Trump as a demagogue, narcissist division. “When he looks at a glass,” Buckley wrote, “he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America.” This was a political as well as a personal judgment: Trump sought office not to accomplish anything, but to advance and gratify himself. Candidate Trump had issues in 2000, and more in 2016, and beyond. But Bill knew his man. They had been fellow New Yorkers for decades. Bill did not regularly read Page Six, but his wife Pat did. Bill had observed every step of Trump’s public career. He knew Trump was gilt all the way down.
Brookhiser, “WFB Today,” National Review, February 16, 2018.
Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. Indeed, he was my editor between early August and late January of 1986-87 when I was the economics editor for National Review. He’s a good editor.
I quote the above because it expresses, better than most, my main problem with Donald Trump’s character.
I quote it for another reason also: because it’s from an article in which Brookhiser also explains why it’s important not to give up on Donald Trump but, instead to work with him or at least bargain with him.
Admiring Trump is different from voting for him, or working with him. Politics is calculation; “to live,” Whittaker Chambers told Buckley, who quoted it ever after, “is to maneuver.” But to admire Trump is to trade your principles for his, which are that winning — which means Trump winning — is all.