Hugh Hewitt talks with Mark Steyn, Columnist of the World, about Donald Trump’s recent remark about Carly Fiorina’s “face.”
HH: Morning glory and evening grace, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt, and in a rare hour two appearance is Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. He usually opens every Thursday program when we are lucky, but today he has been bumped by a Bush, Mark Steyn. Did you know that? Jeb Bush had to open our program today.
MS: Yeah, I know it’s like presidential candidate drive time on your show. I might as well run for vice president at this point. At least, I’d be guaranteed to getting my opening slot back, I think.
HH: You’ll be back next week, I promise, after all the hoopla is done. But I’ve got to ask you about not Jeb Bush, though I’ll come to it, but Donald Trump and the Rolling Stone article. Have you read the Rolling Stone piece, yet, which is a brilliant piece of writing by the way?
MS: I haven’t read it, yet. This is about the, what is it now, the Carly Fiorina quote or whatever?
HH: Yes, but the piece is so much longer than that. It’s by Paul Solotaroff.
HH: And in it he writes, Trump is rising “because Trump’s central claim is he’s not them.” What do you think of that thesis?
MS: Yeah, I think that’s it. What’s interesting to me is that the narrative since he declared four months ago has always been that he would implode, and it’s clear now he’s not going to implode. Someone, if you want to get rid of the Trumpenstein monster, you’ve got to actually be prepared to drive a stake through him and pump silver bullets in him yourself. But what’s fascinating, I think, is that at least in polls in my neck of the woods in New Hampshire, is certain candidates themselves have imploded, the real candidates, the people who are still in, you know, officially still in the race, but have seem to have just sort of faded away. And I think the message that he’s not them is actually correct, and that whoever is going to take him out has got to, in a sense, match him in size. And that’s the challenge for any of these. I mean, basically, now he’s saying, this debate you’re doing with him next week, Hugh, basically he’s saying to CNN, look, you take me out of this debate and there’s two hundred thousand people who are going tune in to watch Jeb Bush debate Jim Gilmore or whatever it is. So if I bring another twenty million to the table, then you’ve got to play by my rules and give it to some, to the veterans or whatever. He understands, he understands that he’s Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack, and he has turned the quiet staid country club into something else entirely.
HH: One of the great moments in film, by the way, is Caddyshack. And the three movies I once was asked by the LA Times to recommend to a European who had never been to America, what would they watch to understand America. I recommended Caddyshack, Cool Hand Luke, and Hoosiers. Who would your three be, Mark Steyn?
MS: (Laughs) That’s a good choice, the three movies to understand America. I’d actually, I think I’d put Caddyshack in there. I’d certainly have that on the list. I’m not sure about the other two.
HH: Now let’s play, Donald Trump called into a colleague on the debate business next week, Jake Tapper, who will be moderating on the panel that I’m on. Carly called into his network, CNN, not Carly, Donald Trump called into CNN’s Chris Cuomo this morning, and said this about Carly Fiorina when the Rolling Stone article we referenced was brought up. Here’s the Carly piece. Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t have it. He said, “Can you believe that face,” and what Donald Trump said was I didn’t refer to her appearance, but to her persona. Is that a sufficient explanation, do you think, Mark Steyn?
MS: Well, you know, I personally find Carly Fiorina, I sat next to Carly at some event down in southern New Hampshire last year, and I found her a vibrant and sensual woman. She was wearing a fabulous red dress. She gave a terrific speech, but I was, like, looking at the dress (laughs). And she looked terrific, and if I’d a couple more glasses, I would probably have hit on her in the Republican Party singles’ bar after the formal dinner. But if we’re to give his explanation credence, I think that she’s a lovely person when she smiles, and but when she comes, she’s very effective at really taking the crowbar to Hilary. But she can be a bit severe about it. And I think that’s, if we’re to take his thesis seriously, she needs to just lighten up and loosen up a little. And I don’t think that’s actually untrue. He had a cruel, but funny line, I thought, after he was asked about her after the first debate, and he said well, yeah, she’s very clever or whatever, but to be honest, when she’s talking, she gives me a headache after about ten minutes. And that was less to do, I thought that was actually a better line from his point of view, because it got to the part that she can be a bit, you know, she can be a bit earnest and a bit cool, and that she’s not at all like that actually in person.
HH: Oh, she’s not. I agree. And I’ve got to tell you, Mark. I was asked earlier this week, was I mad at the Morning Joe crew when Donald Trump called in and called me a third-rate announcer and that they laughed. I said no, it’s funny. It’s actually funny when Donald Trump does this, because it’s Trumpian.
MS: If you recall, when you asked me about that at the start of your show actually before he’d come on next week, I called you a loser.
HH: You called it. You called me a loser (laughs).
MS: And I didn’t realize that I’d shame Donald Trump into not designating you in the loser category, but moving you into the third-rate radio announcer category, which, that’s, he’s actually tailored a specific insult for you. You’re not like all these other losers. He’s got a special insult category just for you.
HH: Well, wait until he gets to the columnists. But what people smile about, and I heard this articulated many different ways, is that there are no conventions for Donald Trump, which is what people, they’re tired of bridge conventions dominating politics. You bid three no trump, I’ll go four spades.
HH: And the conventions have bored us to tears.
MS: Well, they’re boring, and they haven’t worked. And you know, I’m here in New Hampshire, and we have had this boring John Kasich ad running for, what seems like, half my adult life, where he goes on about being the son of a mailman and I can care less about that, the sort of self-focused ad, him going on about being the son of a mailman, I’m wondering if Jeb Bush is going to, you know, I had it tough growing up. I was the son of a president. But in those days, we only had the twenty car motorcade, not the big forty car one they got now. So I understand regular folks. I, he says, he doesn’t make any, it would be fine if it works. But it works for the Democrats, and the conventions and the consultants and the donors, that whole racket, doesn’t work for fifty percent of the country. And fifty percent of the country wants to see all the rules torn up, and wants to see the conventions blown sky high.
HH: Now speaking of blown sky high, 9/11 tomorrow, I asked Jeb Bush about this in the first hour. And the question was, fourteen years later, the first seven years of that were run by your brother, and then the second seven years were run by President Obama, are being run by. Are we safer today than we were on 9/12/2001? What do you think, Mark Steyn? Jeb Bush’s answer is posted over at HughHewitt.com.
MS: I think the problem is that we define what we were up against in 2001, in the fall of 2001, 2002, too narrowly, and I think you could see that actually at the time of the first anniversary in 2002. We are in an ideological struggle. We have seen, since the rise of ISIS, essentially our enemies have mutated so that Osama bin Laden would be a Trump-like loser up against the ISIS guys now. And we’ve seen that that ideology is very seductive to people who hold nominally the passports of Western nations. We are a hole. We are a vacuum, and something fills the vacuum, which is what we see in Europe, and to a lesser extent, over here. And you can’t fight this war even with the most brilliant military in the world, because as I’ve said in America Alone all those years ago, it’s not my line. It’s from Basil Liddell Hart, the great military strategist. It’s not about blowing up their tanks, and it’s not about shooting their planes out of the sky. And nobody can beat Western militaries for doing that. But if you’re not, if you’re not, don’t understand that you’re up against this ideology, and you don’t target that ideology, then you can never win. And that’s why I find this anniversary about as dispiriting as any of the fourteen since that Tuesday morning all those years ago.
HH: Well then, let me raise your spirits with our last minute and a half. Your new book, A Disgrace to the Profession, available at SteynOnline.com, is selling very well. Do you notice that no one is talking about global climate change? And we have a minute, Mark. I think Democrats are even embarrassed to talk about it on the stump, and no Republican brings it up except to jeer at it as an issue.
MS: Yeah, and I think that’s very healthy, but I do worry when you listen to Barack Obama, that he is going to use the full power of executive orders and the EPA to ram through a lot of this stuff in his last year and a half. It’s a boutique issue. It’s an elite issue. If Tom Steyer and the Hollywood crowd want to blow through gazillions of dollars on this, they will have nothing to show for it. The public gets that this is beyond the scope. And what they want, and this gets us back to Trump, what they want is people who are going to deal with the real issues that people face today.
HH: Mark Steyn, thank you for taking this second hour open this week. He is always, always available at www.steynonline.com, America.
End of interview.