The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Woman Who Killed #NeverTrump

Posted on | August 26, 2021 | Comments Off on The Woman Who Killed #NeverTrump

In June 2018, an article appeared in The American Spectator with the headline, “The Collapse of the Never-Trump Conservatives.” Written by Emerald Robinson, then chief White House correspondent for One America News (OAN) Network, and since with Newsmax, the article began thus:

With the installation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and a yet-to-be-named reliable replacement for the unreliable Anthony Kennedy, Donald Trump will have confirmed himself as the most consequential conservative president of the modern era (or a close second to Reagan if you’re nostalgic). This will be complete vindication for Trump supporters, which means it’s really the end for the so-called Never Trump conservatives. Of course, there have been so many humiliating defeats for that crowd that we are spoiled for choice. What was your favorite blunder, or blown prediction, which marked their ignominious end?
For some, it must have been in March when Bill Kristol, longtime editor of the conservative magazine the Weekly Standard, showed up in New Hampshire telling people he would run against President Trump in 2020. Or in April when the conservative website RedState was taken over and purged of writers who were “insufficiently supportive” of the president. Some go back to October 2017 when a Twitter spat broke out between Stephen Hayes and Brit Hume of Fox News over the Weekly Standard’s anti-Trump editorials. . . .

You can read the rest, and you might think it was just another magazine article. At the time, as my friend Donald Douglas pointed out, the response from Jonah Goldberg was a contemptuous dismissal, calling Robinson a “trollish, attention-seeking writer,” whose article was “gloating, smarmy, gleeful” and, of course, completely wrong. Everybody was doing just fine over there in NeverTrumpland, Jonah wanted us to believe, and perhaps they were, but six months later, the Weekly Standard was out of business, and many of Jonah’s Trump-hating friends were kicked to the curb. Goldberg himself was soon to be forced out at National Review, and in retrospect Emerald Robinson’s article was, to Never Trump, what Waterloo was to Napoleon Bonaparte.

She has now written a follow-up explaining how that happened. Rush Limbaugh read her article on his show, and this generated enough heat that Weekly Standard editor Stephen Hayes got booted off Fox News, and then the owners of the Weekly Standard began asking themselves, “What exactly is the purpose of this money-losing publication?”

Those who remember the 1990s and the first decade of this century will recall how closely the Weekly Standard and Fox News were once allied. So when Kristol’s publication began to defecate all over the Fox News audience — which is what their #NeverTrump stance amounted to — it was inevitable that a parting of the ways must eventually come, and when it did . . . ? Well, the big selling-point for the Weekly Standard was that they were “influential,” and an important element of their influence was that their writers — Kristol, Hayes, et al. — made regular appearances on Fox News. Once they got called out by Emerald Robinson (and her call-out was amplified by Rush Limbaugh) however, Fox News was forced to choose between (a) the network’s core audience, which solidly supported Trump, or (b) these pointed-headed neocon intellectuals who couldn’t park their bicycles straight.

“Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies . . .”

But there was something else going on at the time, which many of us either didn’t notice, or have since forgotten, but Ace of Spades remembers: Jim Swift, an obese former Hill staffer who spent six years working at the Weekly Standard, in 2018 launched a crusade to get Salena Zito fired from the Washington Examiner. This made no sense at all because (a) Zito was, and still is, a very popular reporter, and (b) the Examiner is owned by the same company that at the time owned the Weekly Standard, so that (c) Swift was trying to sabotage one of his own company’s star employees. The foolishness of Swift’s course of action, and the failure of his editors to rein him in, may have been a major reason why, instead of selling the Weekly Standard, the owners just fired the entire staff and shut it down. If Ace’s theory is right, then Swift — a talentless, no-neck blob of sweaty failure — may have had more to do with wrecking the #NeverTrump movement than anything else.


As it is, however, Ace’s theory is mostly speculative, even though the disgusting obesity of Jim Swift is a confirmed fact. He may not be ready to star in an episode of My 600-Pound Life yet, but he’s definitely looking like a high-risk candidate for Type II diabetes. For now, though, Emerald Robinson holds the title of Never Trump Slay Queen all to herself.



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