Speed Reads

Paint it White

Trump once dismissed Pat Buchanan's politics as for the 'right-wacko vote.' Now he's quoting him.

In 1999, President Trump briefly ran against paleo-conservative Patrick Buchanan for the Reform Party presidential nomination, and before dropping out of the race, Trump told NBC's Tim Russert that Buchanan is "a Hitler lover" and apparent "anti-Semite," and "it's just incredible that anybody could embrace this guy. And maybe he'll get 4 or 5 percent of the vote and it'll be a really staunch, right-wacko vote. I'm not even sure if it's right. It's just a wacko vote." Upon dropping out, Trump wrote in The New York Times: "I leave the Reform Party to David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani. That is not company I wish to keep."

On Sunday night, Trump tweet-quoted approvingly from a recent Buchanan column about militarizing the border to preserve white male America.

Trump's new embrace of his former rival, whose 2000 "campaign looked remarkably like Trump's in 2016," is "the immediate irony here," says The Washington Post's Philip Bump. "What makes Trump's embrace of Buchanan and Buchananism particularly remarkable at this moment, though, is how Buchanan's essay mirrors the rhetoric of another Republican in the news: Rep. Steve King (Iowa)." MSNBC's Chris Hayes drew a similar line between Buchanan and Trump and King on Monday night:

"It's clear that, to some extent, King is serving as a way for Republicans to condemn behavior that is also seen in someone less criticizable: Trump," Bump argues. "By excoriating King's comments about race and immigration, Republicans get to distance themselves from rhetoric that's probably going to be damaging to the party over the long term — but they don't have to challenge a primary propagator of that rhetoric whose presidency is still very popular with their voting base."