Donald Trump unmoors conservative pundits at National Review

The magazine implies that Mr. Trump is a racist. John Podhoretz writes of Mr. Trump’s “repellent assertion that the first black president needed to prove to Trump’s satisfaction that he was actually an American.” Mr. Medved writes, “even those who take Trump at his word — accepting his declaration that he qualifies as the least racist individual in the nation — can imagine the parade of negative ads the Democrats are already preparing for radio stations with mainly black audiences and for Spanish-language television.” A contribution to the magazine by Mona Charen manages, simultaneously, to fault Mr. Trump for giving money to Al Sharpton, who was not previously known as a magnet for contributions by anti-black bigots.

It’s pretty rich for National Review, which was late and slow on civil rights, to oppose Mr. Trump on grounds of racial insensitivity at a moment when even the New York Times is running articles quoting Mr. Trump’s black friends such as Don King and Mike Tyson defending his bona fides. Does modern conservatism really want to stand for the proposition that a presidential candidate should be disqualified because the Democrats might run ads distorting the candidate’s record to accuse the candidate, falsely, of racism?

The GOP could nominate a Ben Carson-Herman Cain ticket and pledge to appoint Alan Keyes as secretary of state and Condoleezza Rice as secretary of defense and the Democrats would still run the same negative advertisements. As an anti-Trump argument, absent incontrovertible proof of actual racist behavior, this smacks of a surrender to political correctness and hair-trigger sensitivity of the sort that understandably grates on Mr. Trump’s supporters.