The following is a transcript of Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Dying Citizen, speaking with Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson about why he no longer writes for the National Review. American Greatness is proud that Hanson is now a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and appears weekly on these pages.
Victor Davis Hanson: I didn’t know much about Donald Trump, I wasn’t a supporter of his in the primaries, but I knew he was going to win. I just knew it, because he was saying things I could not believe. And, you know, we’re going to redo Youngstown, Ohio.
And then he came to California, I talked to a bunch of farmers and asked if he had come here, and did he have the straw in the mouth and the Caterpillar cap.
No, he had this black suit, it was 105 degrees, he had a Queens accent. So I said, in other words, he wasn’t Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, “put you all in chains.” He didn’t change his act. I said he is authentic and he’s representing the middle class, so I thought he had a very good chance.
As far as your other question, yeah, I lost all those friends.
Tucker Carlson: Really?
Hanson: I left the National Review this year after 20 years and I think they were happy to see me leave too.
Carlson: Why did you leave National Review?
Hanson: Because there were certain issues that would pop up occasionally, and I could predict what the answer was going to be. The Covington kids. I just sensed that before we knew anything, people would come and condemn them. Or the Access Hollywood tape—
Carlson: People at National Review condemned the Covington kids?
Hanson: I think there were certain people in the Republican movement, or establishment, who felt it is their duty to internally police their own, and that’s kind of a virtue signal to the Left.
We are just part of your class, we share the same values as you do, and we keep our crazies. And they are not empirical.
You saw it on January 6. We all condemn that buffoonish riot. But within two weeks, I said to myself Ashli Babbitt was shot unarmed and we don’t know anything about the policeman, we don’t know anything about the report. When a policeman shoots somebody unarmed, there are pictures everywhere.
Carlson: No warning, by the way.
Hanson: They’re having Officer Sicknik lie in state, but I want to know where is the evidence is that he was killed? He wasn’t killed, he died of a stroke—
Carlson: National Review wasn’t on that?
Hanson: No. No. An “armed insurrection.” There were no weapons found on the people they arrested.
They are not even being charged and tried with dispatch. They are sitting in purgatory.
So these issues, I would get angry about, and I would try to convey that anger, but I think . . . a lot of them felt it was their duty as Republican establishmentarians to tell the world they didn’t approve of Donald Trump’s tweets or his crudity.
My message was always: But, it’s good for the middle class.
He’s kind of like a “Shane” or “Magnificent Seven” or “High Noon,” he’s a gunslinger we hired and we are the townspeople that are impotent and he came in with certain skills. And he started to have success and now we have the luxury of saying we don’t like the fact that he has a six-gun. But he has to ride off into the sunset.
But they didn’t—there were other issues I think they felt were more important, so I think it was a good parting for both of us.
Carlson: What issues did they think were important?
Hanson: I don’t know, I think there’s an image that a lot of Republicans have, both in politics and they sort of represent a sober and judicious way of looking at the world, and we are the adults in the room.
And it’s more about a culture than it is an ideology.
The original Republican conservative movement, I thought, was going to go back and look at the Constitution, when Jefferson said it won’t work if you pile up everybody in the cities because they will be subject to mass hysteria. Or de Tocqueville, and you look at certain ideas, I thought that’s what we were.
I thought they would be champions of the middle class, but I don’t think they were. I don’t think they wanted to be.
Editor’s Note: This transcript originally appeared at RealClear Politics.