Updated: Oct 18, 2019
President Donald Trump mocked Never Trumpers in an exclusive, more-than-40-minute interview with Breitbart News in the Oval Office on Monday afternoon, calling them a nearly dead, “amazing breed” of political figures. Trump added, however, the ones who are left are still “slightly dangerous.”
“The Never Trumpers, that’s an amazing breed. First of all, they’re on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation now,” Trump said in response to a question from Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alexander Marlow on his thoughts on Never Trumpers. “There aren’t many of them left. But they’re still slightly dangerous.”
Trump’s comments on Never Trumpers in the Breitbart News exclusive interview went further than a line he first rolled out in his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) hosted by the American Conservative Union (ACU) a little over a week ago, where the president spoke for a record two-plus hours.
“Everyone in this great country, right now, because of our great new economy, is doing well — except, of course, for the Never Trumpers,” Trump said in the CPAC speech. “But they are on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Mouth to mouth. Mouth to mouth. They’re hanging in. A couple of them. I mean, these guys have gotten me wrong. Not only Never Trumpers. You have Never Trumpers; you have certain hardline. They’re basically dishonest people — because, look, let’s face it: Whether you like me or not — if my name is Smith instead of Trump, and if you told him I put in over 100 federal judges — it’ll soon be 145 federal judges and two Supreme Court judges. (Applause.) And 17 appellate division judges.”
In his Breitbart News exclusive interview, Trump then pointed to Erick Erickson, the founder of the now-defunct Red State who was a leading Never Trumper in 2016 but has, as of February 2019, endorsed Trump for re-election in 2020, as an example of the Never Trump movement losing credibility. Trump said in addition to Erickson’s public endorsement of him, he called the White House and pledged his complete support to the president—a sea change reversal from 2016. Trump said he hopes that this continues and other Never Trumpers recognize the error of their ways and endorse him in 2020.
“But if you take a look at the Never Trumpers—Erick Erickson was great, a couple weeks ago he called up and he said ‘I’m all in,’” Trump said. “And they should all say that because think of what I’ve done. If my name was William Smith instead of Donald Trump—we will have 145 judges very shortly, 145 I’ll be up to, we’re over a hundred now, but very shortly we’ll be up to 145 judges including federal courts of appeals and two Supreme Court Justices who are central casting great everything. With the tax cuts, the regulation cuts, all of what I’ve done for the vets, what I’ve done for the military—we’re rebuilding the military—that budget is not about wars, that budget is about buying equipment and missiles and all the different things that we’re doing. Any one of those guys, you put a different name on, and they’d say this is the greatest president in history including Ronald Reagan.”
From there, Trump turned to Weekly Standard founding editor Bill Kristol. The Weekly Standard, also now defunct, shut down at the end of 2018, going out of business after it became one of the bastions of Never Trumpers. Many of its staffers went on to join CNN, another establishment media outlet that has been vehemently anti-Trump. But Kristol, unlike Erickson, remains a Never Trumper committed to opposing the president at every turn.
“Like Bill Kristol, whose magazine just failed badly to put it mildly, Bill Kristol, I don’t know him,” Trump said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever—the only time I met him was to shake his hand quickly. But Bill Kristol has gotten me wrong for three and a half years, since I announced.”
Then Trump slammed Washington Post columnist and NBC News contributor George Will—who left the Republican Party over Trump in 2016—as “almost deranged” and a “poor bastard.” He said Will was upset that he skipped a speech he gave years ago at Mar-A-Lago, Trump’s resort in Palm Beach.
“From the day I announced. George Will is almost deranged,” Trump said. “This poor bastard, I almost feel sorry for him. He was at Mar-A-Lago about 12 years ago. He made a speech. And I didn’t want to go, because I didn’t like falling asleep during something—I didn’t want to do. I was always very political but I didn’t want to go. I wasn’t interested in hearing him and he was very insulted that I didn’t go and I just didn’t want to go. I had something else that was more important. And you know, you look at them, because George Will—these guys, assuming, and they are conservative I guess, they should like me more than any president in the history of our country based on just what I’ve done. Take away my name, no labels as they say, take away the name and who’s done better as a conservative than Trump? The judges, the regulations, the tax cuts, the energy.”
Alexander Marlow is the Editor-in-Chief of Breitbart News, Matthew Boyle is the Washington Political Editor of Breitbart News, Amanda House is the Deputy Political Editor of Breitbart News, and Charlie Spiering is the Senior White House Correspondent for Breitbart News.