The Gipper just went #NeverTrump. Sort of.
— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) June 6, 2016
Is that right? My pal Karl points out that Michael Reagan tweeted this just five short days ago:
Bill Kristof and Mitt Romney should just shut up… We don't need a 3rd Party anti @realDonaldTrump candidate.It would only elect Clinton
— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) June 1, 2016
Those two points aren’t strictly contradictory but there’s not much overlap between the “principled conservatives wouldn’t back Trump” and “anything is better than Hillary!” positions. And that’s not all. Four days ago — 96 hours! — Reagan said this to Newsmax:
Donald Trump’s critics are saying what critics of Ronald Reagan said before the 1980 election, Reagan’s son Michael told Newsmax TV…
“These are the same things they said about my father in 1980. He was a cowboy, he was going to start World War III, you can’t trust him with the nuclear codes, they’re going to turn Iran into a parking lot,” Reagan told John Bachman. “I mean these are the things that the left keeps on bringing up time and time and time and time and time again to try and detract from their lack of real purpose, their lack of foreign policy.
“You look at Donald Trump, you may be upset with his words, but I am more than upset with what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have done to the foreign policy of the United States of America and the lack of respect America now has around the globe.”
Last week not only was Trump’s rhetoric no big deal, Trump himself was downright Reaganesque. This week? Nah, Ronald Reagan wouldn’t have backed Trump. What happened? There’s a lot of sound and fury in political media lately over Trump demagoguing the judge in his civil suit but I assumed it would blow over in a few days, especially among righties like Michael Reagan who seem otherwise reasonably well disposed to Trump. Instead he’s prepared to issue an unofficial anti-endorsement on dad’s behalf. I’m not even sure he’s right on the merits. Ronald Reagan managed a cold peace with centrist rivals within the GOP in the name of keeping a right-wing coalition together. Wouldn’t he have supported Trump on the theory that if a conservative president’s going to be elected in 2020, he’ll need help from Trump’s nationalists?
Or has Trump crossed a moral line now that Reagan simply wouldn’t countenance?
Speaking of which, reporters finally squeezed a comment out of Ted Cruz about all this:
— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) June 6, 2016
Ted Cruz just stared blankly at us, as elevator doors slowly closed us out, when someone asked if he'll ever endorse Trump.
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) June 6, 2016
Heh. The guy who’s most likely to run in 2020 as that Reaganesque president that movement conservatives have been yearning for is Cruz himself. He needs those nationalist votes. How can he afford to be the Ronald Reagan that Michael’s imagining? Doesn’t he need to be Reagan ’76 at the convention instead?
Here’s Marco Rubio, a would-be Cruz rival four years from now, expressing his deep concerns over Trump’s comments about Judge Curiel. Don’t worry: They’re not so deep that he won’t accept Trump’s invitation to to speak at the convention (albeit not on Trump’s behalf).