On Monday night, the Weekly Standard editor wrote a personal note to the magazine’s readers touting his leadership in the #NeverTrump movement:
I’m lucky I had a chance to stand with so many allies, known and unknown, in the effort that came to be called #NeverTrump. In Donald J. Trump we faced a candidate who is a repulsive person, with dangerous prejudices, who’s unfit to be president. Whatever the results tomorrow, I’m proud to have been a part of the opposition to him. We chose to fight and we were right to do so.
Earlier this year, Kristol tried and failed to persuade Mitt Romney, Sen. Ben Sasse, retired Marine General Jim Mattis, and conservative columnist David French to run as an alternative to Trump. “Bill Kristol is making himself look ridiculous,” Pat Buchanan riffed on The McLaughlin Group.
Kristol may now think that he has the moral high ground, unlike high-profile conservatives such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who have failed to distance themselves from their party’s nominee. But in disowning Trump for “soiling the robe of conservatism,” Kristol ignores the fact that the racist, nationalist, populist tone of Trump’s campaign resonates with the base Kristol’s party has long cultivated. The #NeverTrump label does not absolve Kristol, or any other conservative intellectuals, of responsibility in nurturing the beast that reared its ugly head in this campaign cycle.