Lowry, Will Unload on ‘Vichy’ Republican ‘Rats’ Capitulating to Donald Trump

On two separate Sunday morning talk shows following the third Super Tuesday, conservative writers George Will and Rich Lowry expounded upon their frustrations with the “rats” and “Vichy Republicans” in the GOP and conservative movement for their opportunistic bowing to presidential candidate Donald Trump. 

Fox News contributor and syndicated Washington Post columnist George Will aired his grievances on Fox News Sunday by first opining that Trump is “stylistically” in the mold of George Wallace in that the 1968 presidential candidate famously stated that there needed to be more “meanness” in American politics and less “dignity.”

Along with Trump’s massive negatives in polling of voters, Will noted that “he’s appealing entirely to white people” and while that may have worked decades ago, it did little to help Mitt Romney in 2012:

Now, in 1988, George Herbert Walker Bush got 59 percent of the white vote which was high and that translated in 426 electorate votes. Mitt Romney in 2012 got 59 percent of the white vote, that translated into 206 electoral votes. Romney got 17 percent, that is all, of the non-white vote. Trump, by every measure, would do worse than that which means he would have to get not just the 65 percent of the white vote to win that Ronald Reagan got sweeping 49 states, he would have to get 70 percent of the white vote. 

A few moments later, Will capped off the panel segment by asserting that Trump would not be able keep conservatives within the Republican Party and if he does secure the GOP nod for president, “there would be no conservative running in the race and the Vichy Republicans who are coming to terms with — as collaborators with the takeover of their party ought to understand that.”

Meanwhile at ABC’s This Week, host and former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos reminded readers that Lowry and his National Review published the “Against Trump” issue and wondered if the publication will continue its stand as the primary calendar moves into its back half.

Lowry emphatically responded that it’s “just the beginning” as National Review will “be like the last Japanese soldier in the jungle resisting this guy.” He then pointed out that while Trump has yet to collapse, he remains arguably the weakest GOP nominee ever:

Look, the paradox of Trump is he's much stronger than the other candidates, but not strong enough to unify the party and every time we hear he's going to turn to be more unifying or presidential, there’s some contemptible statement or act whether it was Trump a week or so ago saying he might consider paying the legal bills of this goon who sucker-punched the protester or Trump playing around with the idea of riots at the convention[.]

Turning his ire to those who claim to be on the right who’ve given into Trump and his ever-changing views and controversial behavior, Lowry predicted that the Wisconsin primary on April 5 is likely “the next big battleground” between Trump and Senator Ted Cruz (whom National Review recently endorsed for president).

Lowry added that if Trump finds a way to win, “we'll see a lot of these rats in the form of Republican elected officials scurrying onto the ship and as soon as it appears to be sinking in a general, they'll scurry right back off.”

While denouncing establishment figures backing Trump as “rats,” Lowry also had some jabs for John Kasich as well and what currently seems to be his inability to work with Cruz in dividing the primary calendar to provide the best chance to deny Trump a majority of the party’s delegates before the convention:

Kasich is playing a selfish and delusional role here. There's no way a contested convention is turning to the guy who’s third in the delegates and it's probably unlikely given the rules his name will be put in the nomination and he is putting up ads in Utah just trying to hurt Cruz.

The relevant portions of the transcript from March 20's Fox News Sunday can be found below.

Fox News Sunday
March 20, 2016
9:50 a.m. Eastern

GEORGE WILL: Stylistically, Trump is in the George Wallace tradition. Wallace, who famously said, there is too much dignity in American politics, we have to have more meanness. Wallace got 46 electoral votes because he is a regional base, but what makes Trump more interesting is he’s not a regional candidate. He has support all over the country. The problem is this, not only are his negatives — 61 percent, almost doubled his positives, 32 percent, but he's appealing entirely to white people. Now, in 1988, George Herbert Walker Bush got 59 percent of the white vote which was high and that translated in 426 electorate votes. Mitt Romney in 2012 got 59 percent of the white vote, that translated into 206 electoral votes. Romney got 17 percent, that is all, of the non-white vote. Trump, by every measure, would do worse than that which means he would have to get not just the 65 percent of the white vote to win that Ronald Reagan got sweeping 49 states, he would have to get 70 percent of the white vote. A, it won't happen and B, it would destroy the Republican Party by making it the party of white people. 

(....)

9:54 a.m. Eastern

WILL: It cannot expand that far and remain a conservative party which means it would be — if he's the nominee, there would be no conservative running in the race and the Vichy Republicans who are coming to terms with — as collaborators with the takeover of their party ought to understand that.

The relevant portions of the transcript from ABC’s This Week on March 20 can be found below.

ABC’s This Week
March 20, 2016
10:25 a.m. Eastern

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You were an early leader in the stop Trump movement. You’re — the National Review had the cover story. Is this the end of the Trump movement or is it just getting started? 

RICH LOWRY: Just the beginning, George. We'll be like the last Japanese soldier in the jungle resisting this guy. Look, the paradox of Trump is he's much stronger than the other candidates, but not strong enough to unify the party and every time we hear he's going to turn to be more unifying or presidential, there’s some contemptible statement or act whether it was Trump a week or so ago saying he might consider paying the legal bills of this goon who sucker-punched the protester or Trump playing around with the idea of riots at the convention, so he might get to 1237. It's quite possible, but it's quite possible he's going to fall short. 

(....)

10:28 a.m. Eastern

LOWRY: Well, Ted Cruz needs to improve and if Cruz were to win all of Utah's delegates, that would help. That seems quite plausible. If Ted Cruz were to pull an upset and win Arizona. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: That seems less plausible.

LOWRY: That seems unlikely, but Wisconsin, I think, is the next big battleground. If Ted can stop Trump there, that's a big deal, but if Trump wins there, we're see a lot of these rats in the form of Republican elected officials scurrying onto the ship and as soon as it appears to be sinking in a general, they'll scurry right back off. 

(.....)

SARA FAGEN: Well, all these candidates will get delegates in Wisconsin because of the hodgepodge of rules that each of these states has. You know, Wisconsin, winner take all statewide then winner take all by congressional districts. It's unlikely any candidate wins all of the delegates. However, you make a valid point which is as these contests start to move to the closed phase primaries, where all of these various rules, if Kasich and Cruz together can work together to prevent Donald Trump from getting to 1,237, then we get to this open convention and someone has a chance to — 

LOWRY: But that's not happening. Kasich is playing a selfish and delusional role here. There's no way a contested convention is turning to the guy who’s third in the delegates and it's probably unlikely given the rules his name will be put in the nomination and he is putting up ads in Utah just trying to hurt Cruz.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If he doesn't win eight states. 

FAGEN: That rule will likely change. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center