Magazine | September 12, 2016, Issue

Official Transcript: The McLaughlin Group (Celestial Edition)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Issue One! Gipper Two or Trump Is Through! As polls widen in the swing states, some Trump supporters are urging the Manhattan billionaire to follow the lead of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election strategy and move to appeal to the moderate center of the electorate. Others urge the style of Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign, “Let Trump Be Trump!” What is the correct strategy for the Republican nominee with fewer than 90 days left to go — Reagan 1980 or Reagan 1984, I ask you, President Reagan!

(laughing) John, really. Come on. This is heaven. Give it a rest. Come and have a drink with us.

Incorrect! I ask you the same question, William F. Buckley Jr.!

John, President Reagan and I are going to the sunroom for a cocktail. Stop barking at everyone. And take a look around the place. There aren’t that many Jesuits up here. Don’t make them regret the one they’ve allowed in.

The answer is, 1980!

I actually agree with that. And although the Eleventh Commandment forbids me to speak ill of a fellow Republican, I’d like to say that the fellow down there with the orange whatnot and the hair and so forth –

— isn’t actually a Republican, so fire away!

You make a fair point, Bill!

How about that drink?

Issue Two! Huma Ruma? Huma Abedin, the close associate and right hand to Democratic nominee and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is under fire for her carelessness with classified information. She is reported to have left top-secret documents on the front seat of her car during a state visit to India. In addition, there have been reports that she interceded in government business in order to help Clinton Foundation donors. Are Huma’s days with the candidate numbered? I ask you, syndicated columnist Jack Germond.

I’m available to answer that, by the way.

Mort Zuckerman! Editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report and publisher of the New York Daily News! Why are you here? You are not dead!

No, but I just wanted you and your booker to know that I’m available in any case. I have my own very powerful satellite link and am happy to appear. Just say the word.

Good to know! Jack Germond, is Huma Abedin on the way out?

What? Who knows? Stupid question. And let go of my robe.

You are all mistaken! She is in fact on her way out.

I could have sworn I was in heaven.

You are!

Highly unlikely if you’re here, too. And I’m not kidding. Let go of my robe.

Issue Three! Iran Up a Big Tab! Revelations this week that the Obama administration did, in fact, pay $400 million to Iranian officials to secure the release of Americans held in captivity. This after weeks of denying any such deal took place and, in fact, lying about the entire transaction. Will this scandal finally turn the media against the president they’ve protected and covered for these past eight years? I ask you, Bob Novak.

John, once again you’ve asked a question that no intelligent person needs to ask. Of course not. The liberals in the media will cover for this guy until he’s safely appointed the president of Harvard University. It’s not Trump who could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. It’s this guy.


She’s not here, John. Still alive and kicking and fit as a fiddle.


Same deal.

Again, happy and willing to appear anytime.

Predictions! On a scale of one to ten, one being utter impossibility and ten being metaphysical certitude, what are the chances that all of us can agree to meet back here every Friday for this roundtable discussion? I ask you, syndicated columnist Jack Germond.

Zero. I have a figure-drawing class on Fridays.

President Ronald Reagan!

Oh, well, John. Gosh. You know I’d love to. But there are things to attend to up here and, well, gosh, Nancy keeps me pretty busy and she’s the boss –

William F. Buckley Jr.!

I’ll say a four. No, a three. I tape Firing Line on Fridays, you see. Regrets, etc., etc.

Robert Novak!

Nine. I’m not busy.

The answer is, ten!

So, you don’t need me? Are you sure?


In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


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The Week

‐ So far the candidates have stuck with what they do best: Hillary lying and Trump firing people. ‐ It is clear why Hillary Clinton did not want to give up ...
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