Larry King apparently doesn’t want to face his biases. The veteran journalist appeared on CNBC, Tuesday, to insist that he’s “independent” and fair-minded. Yet, Squawk Box co-host Joe Kernan got King to admit he hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate in almost 50 years. (Voting for Nixon in 1968 was "against my better wishes.") While discussing his likely support for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, Kernan quizzed, “Have you voted Republican in the past, Larry?”
With a straight face, King responded that he’d supported Jacob Javits. Javits, a congressman and senator from New York, wasn’t just another liberal Republican. This is a man whose American Conservative Union scores in 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1976 were zero (on a scale of 100). His highest score was 11. William F Buckley once recounted, “A couple of years ago, Vice President Humphrey accosted Senator Javits amiably and remarked, 'If you get any more forward than you are, you'll be head of the Democratic Party.'"
In 1980, Javits lost the Republican nomination and ran on the Liberal line. Clearly, this is King's type of Republican.
Pressed by Kernan on the presidential level, the former CNN host insisted, “I voted for Nixon in ‘68... Against my better wishes. It was a strategic vote.” Again, that was 48 years ago.
Despite his history, King offered this tortured logic: “I vote Democratic but I am a very independent.”
After agreeing that he voted for Obama twice, the journalist added to conservative fears that Trump is simply a liberal in disguise: “I Donald I know was pro-choice. I'm strongly pro-choice. Anti-guns. I am strongly anti guns.”
A partial transcript is below:
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: You have been friends with Donald for a very long time.
LARRY KING: As I recollect, it has to be 45, 50 years.
SORKIN: 45, 50 years. You’ve had him on I don’t know how many times. Dozens?
KING: Countless times: Dined with him and socialized with him.
SORKIN: But then I hear or at least I read that you think you're going to vote for Hillary Clinton.
KING: Well, it's a very tough pick because I know Hillary a long time too. I am friends with both. Have socialized with both and like them both. And I talked to Donald last week and he is supposed to come on my new show. He was supposed to come on last week, then this week, and he rescheduled. But some of his stands I just can't go with. So when I am down to the two, I would tell Donald, “Donald, I love you. You are a great friend, but I can't buy some of the things— ”
JOE KERNAN: Have you voted Republican in the past, Larry?
KING: I have— let's see. What Republicans have I voted for?
KERNAN: Going back to like —
KING: I voted for Javits.
KERNAN: Voted for who?
KING: Jake Javits.
KERNAN: How about in the presidential race?
KING: Presidential race, I voted for Nixon in '68.
KING: Against my better wishes. It was a strategic vote. I thought that George Wallace —
KERNAN: But not since? That's what I am getting at. I think you vote Democratic usually. So, this is not a—
KING: I vote Democratic but I am a very independent — I grew up Democratic. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. If you grew up in Brooklyn, New York, you’re a Democrat. I handed out leaflets for Harry Truman in 1948. I was 15 years old. That was one of the most exciting nights of my life when he won. My family was all Democratic.
KERNAN: But you voted for Barack Obama twice?
KING: Well, I did.
KERNAN: Well, that speaks volumes.
BECKY QUICK: Would you — would you — having known both of these candidates, do you think you could be swayed if his —
KING: I could always be swayed. In fact, if you can't be swayed, you are locked in. You should — I am always open to change. I am always open to hear something new. They've made these changes in the Trump campaign yesterday. If that produces — See, the Donald I know —
KERNAN: He’s not racist.
KING: I Donald I know was pro-choice. I'm strongly pro-choice. Anti-guns. I am strongly anti-guns. What the Senate did yesterday was just wrong. Just wrong. To keep these guns going. There is no excuse.