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Politics & Policy

Ponnuru: Trump Has No History of Conservatism

National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru appeared on today’s Morning Joe to discuss the magazine’s latest cover story, “Trump: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly”: 

BRZEZINSKI: “The cover of National Review. ‘Trump, the Good, the Bad and Ugly,’ Ramesh you co-wrote the article.”

SCARBOROUGH: “Hey Ramesh, it’s interesting that you wrote it with Rich Lowry because Rich is so close to Donald and I’m surprised that actually Jack Lowery [sic] allowed that to happen.”

PONNURU: “Well, Rich couldn’t be here today because Trump has prevailed on the FCC to ban him from the airwaves.”

SCARBOROUGH: “Yeah, of course. So, ‘The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.’ What’s the good from the corner of the conservatives here that hasn’t found a lot of good in Donald Trump?”

PONNURU: “Well, I think for one thing he has brought a sense of drama and showmanship that has been lacking in Republican politics for a long time and that shouldn’t be underestimated. He captured the attention to have people and the other Republican candidates who I think are better conservatives, better public servants, ought to learn from that. Another thing is that I think he does have a point, half a point, at least, on immigration. There has been a reluctance on the part of Republican politicians to stand for reductions in immigration. A lot of Republicans would like to see. There’s been a distrust on the part of voters of Republican politicians when they promise enforcement because they haven’t followed through on it and Trump’s exploited that fact.”

GEIST: “Ramesh, the headline’s ‘The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.’ Inside it reads that Trump ‘wrongs the right.’ That’s the headline in the piece. What way does the right not see eye to eye with Donald Trump?”

PONNURU: “Well, Donald Trump doesn’t have a history of conservatism. In the past he’s been for abortion. He’s been for higher taxes, he’s been for national health insurance.”

SCARBOROUGH: “Explain and we know that, explain why he’s now leading among the evangelicals.”

PONNURU: “Well, it’s interesting. In just the last two weeks, if you look at the RealClearPolitics averages, he’s lost about a quarter of his support in the polls. So I would be very surprised if evangelicals or others end up voting for him in those kinds of numbers when an actual primary comes around. But I think, there’s a couple of things. One, there’s the immigration issue. Two, it’s his reputation for being tough and blunt; and then three, it’s just a total disdain and contempt for the political class including the Republican political class on the part of conservative voters.”

BRZEZINSKI: “All right. Ramesh, thank you very much.”

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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