These Five Right-Wing Figures Remain Staunch Public Opponents of Trump
The modern-day Republican Party, for all its extremism and terrible ideas, can be incredibly disciplined and focused. Donald Trump had more than his share of critics on the right during his 2016 presidential campaign, including the National Review and Sen. Ted Cruz. But in 2018, much of the Republican Party and the right-wing media—from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News to author Ann Coulter—are rallying around him in a big way. Republican senators, representatives and governors seeking reelection in very Republican districts this year are afraid to say anything even remotely critical of the president. Nonetheless, there are some right-wing conservatives in 2018 who aren’t afraid to speak out and have been vehemently critical of Trump, who they believe is terrible for the Republican brand and the conservative movement.
Here are five hardcore conservatives who have been among President Trump’s most vehement critics in 2018.
1. S.E. Cupp
In 2016, CNN’s S.E. Cupp was consistently critical of Trump and made it clear that even though she considered herself a staunch conservative, she had no intention of voting for Trump simply because he was a Republican (Cupp also stressed that she couldn’t bring herself to vote for Hillary Clinton either). But unlike all the former Trump critics of 2016 who have since fallen in line and now obediently serve as his mouthpieces and apologists, Cupp is as disdainful of him in 2018 as she was two years ago. In a blistering commentary on CNN in May, Cupp lambasted Trump for using “authoritarian tactics” to undermine American institutions ranging from the FBI and the Department of Justice to the press. Denouncing Trump’s methods, Cupp asserted, “This is a well-worn, textbook tactic used by authoritarians to consolidate power and trust: if you can’t trust democratic institutions like a free press, free and fair elections or law enforcement agencies, then that allows a singular influence to enter into that power vacuum—in this case, Trump.” Cupp went on to accuse Trump of promoting an “erosion of democracy.”
2. Rick Wilson
Florida-based Rick Wilson is a veteran GOP political strategist/consultant who has been active in right-wing politics for decades. The Florida-based Republican was an advisor to Rudy Giuliani during both of his New York City mayoral campaigns in the 1990s. And when Barack Obama was running against Republican Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, Wilson was behind some of the nasty attack ads trashing Obama for his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (who has been unfairly demonized by right-wingers). But unlike Giuliani, Wilson is no Trump supporter—far from it. In 2016, Wilson became one of the leading voices of the Never Trump movement on the right, and in 2018, he can often be seen on MSNBC or CNN attacking Trump on everything from foreign policy to the president’s misogynist and racist rhetoric. Wilson considers Trump a “cancer” and an “existential risk” for the GOP—and he has offended so many Trump supporters that he now carries a gun “religiously” because of all the death threats he has received.
3. Joe Scarborough
As the co-host of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, 55-year-old Joe Scarborough—who represented North Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from 1995-2001—has often butted heads with liberals and progressives on the Democrat-leaning cable news outlet. But one Republican Scarborough has refused to support is Donald J. Trump, who detests the former GOP congressman and has called him “Psycho Joe” on Twitter. Scarborough has often called out the president out for his racism, xenophobia and misogyny, asserting that he is an embarrassment for the conservative movement—and just this week, Scarborough announced that he was so fed up with Trumpism that he was leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent. Appearing on Stephen Colbert’s show this week, Scarborough had no kind words for Republicans who refuse to say a word against Trump. The MSNBC pundit told Colbert, “Time and time and time again, (Republicans) turned the other way—and they’re doing the same thing now. And it’s actually disgusting. And you have to ask yourself, ‘What exactly is the Republican Party willing to do? How far are they willing to go? How much of this country and our values are they willing to sell out?’”
4. Nicolle Wallace
Although MSNBC leans Democratic and often has a center-left slant, the cable news outlet doesn’t exclude right-wing thought to nearly the degree that Fox News excludes liberal/progressive ideas—and along with Scarborough, one of the right-wing voices at MSNBC has been Nicolle Wallace. She definitely has a very Republican background, having served as White House communications director under President George W. Bush and a senior advisor on Sen. John McCain’s 2008 campaign. But at MSNBC, Wallace has been consistently critical of Trump—denouncing him as a “clown” and a misogynist who has debased the presidency. And Wallace has no kind words for all the Republicans who refuse to stand up to Trump, including Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Obviously very disappointed in the House speaker, Wallace lamented, “He’s like the incredible shrinking man. It’s like his spine has been removed and he’s trying to diminish himself as a moral human being—as a leader—by the hour, by the day.”
5. David French
While “snowflake” has become the alt-right’s #1 insult for liberals and progressives, “cuckservative” has become their insult du jour for right-wingers they believe aren’t right-wing enough—and one of the Republicans who has been frequently denounced as a “cuckservative” by the alt-right is David French, a National Review staff writer who was a leading voice in the Never Trump movement two years ago and hasn’t warmed up to him since then. French and his wife, author Nancy French, have first-hand knowledge of how nasty and racist the alt-right can be: they have been bombarded with insults on Twitter from alt-right bigots for adopting a black child from Ethiopia—which in the minds of the alt-right, makes them “cuckservatives” and traitors to the white race. And in addition to his criticism of the alt-right, David French has criticized the Christian Right for its alliance with Trump. In a May 2018 commentary for the National Review, he expressed his disappointment with right-wing evangelicals who were sticking by Trump even though he “has paid hush money to a porn star — apparently to cover up a tryst that occurred shortly after the birth of his son.”