National Review: America's most celebrated conservative magazine devotes entire issue attacking Donald Trump

The National Review's front page banner reads 'Against Trump'

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 22 January 2016 14:31 GMT
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Trump's rhetoric "helps extremists portray their terrorism as a clash of civilisations between Islam and the West"
Trump's rhetoric "helps extremists portray their terrorism as a clash of civilisations between Islam and the West" (Getty Images)

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America’s most celebrated conservative magazine has launched a broadside against Donald Trump - devoting an entire issue opposing the Republican frontrunner and carrying a frontpage banner that reads “Against Trump”.

An editorial in the National Review, which describes itself as the country’s “most widely read and influential magazine conservative news”, labelled the tycoon a “menace to conservatism”.

It also contained 22 essays by conservative thinkers explaining why they believe Mr Trump should not be the Republican candidate for the presidency.

“Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favour of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” the editors say in their piece.

It added: “Trump’s political opinions have wobbled all over the lot. The real-estate mogul and reality-TV star has supported abortion, gun control, single-payer health care à la Canada, and punitive taxes on the wealthy.

“(He and Bernie Sanders have shared more than funky outer-borough accents.) Since declaring his candidacy he has taken a more conservative line, yet there are great gaping holes in it.”

It then went on to attack the 69-year-old on foreign policy issues, saying that he had appeared unsure how to deal with Isis, was fixated on Iraq’s oil and too quick to heap praise on Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump with Sarah Palin, who backed him in his bid to be the republican presidential candidate, at Iowa State University on Tuesday
Donald Trump with Sarah Palin, who backed him in his bid to be the republican presidential candidate, at Iowa State University on Tuesday (Getty Images)

“For someone who wants to project strength, he has an astonishing weakness for flattery, falling for Vladimir Putin after a few coquettish bats of the eyelashes from the Russian thug,” it said.

“All in all, Trump knows approximately as much about national security as he does about the nuclear triad - which is to say, almost nothing.”

The National Review was founded in 1955 by the author William Buckley and has been described as the “bible of American conservatism”.

The magazine’s current editor, Rich Lowry, has explained the decision to devote an issue attaching the Republican frontrunner.

“If you are truly are a conservative, you believe in ideas and principles - they are basically afterthoughts to Donald Trump,” he said.

NBC reported that Mr Trump, campaigning in Las Vegas, responded immediately to the attack from the magazine.

He said the magazine a was a “failing publication” that had lost its way.

“The National Review is a dying paper; its circulation is way down,” he told reporters.

Ted Cruz and his daughters
Ted Cruz and his daughters (AP)

“Not very many people read it anymore…I guess they wanted to get a little bit of publicity, but that’s a dying paper.”

The National Review says its 2015 audited circulation is 150,000, and that it is the largest-circulation conservative magazine in the nation.

The magazine’s decision to devote an entire edition to trying to stop Mr Trump in many reflects the concerns that have gripped the Republican establishment since the tycoon entered the race, soared to the top of the polls and has not looked back since.

Many would have preferred a more mainstream candidate such as Jeb Bush, or Marco Rubio to be the candidate. As it is, the two Republican frontrunner, Mr Trump and Texas senator Ted Cruz are viewed with much suspicion by the party establishment and donors.

One immediate effect of the magazine’s attack was that it was dropped as one of the hosts and sponsors of a Republican debate in Houston on February 25.

“We expected this was coming,” the magazine's publisher Jack Fowler wrote in a blog post late Thursday night. “Small price to pay for speaking the truth about The Donald.”

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