X Close

Andrew Sullivan: What I got wrong about Trump The conservative thinker revisits his earlier views

'I really find Trump horrid on so many levels' (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

'I really find Trump horrid on so many levels' (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


February 3, 2024   10 mins

Andrew Sullivan is one of America’s best known political observers and writers. He is an independent-minded conservative who supported Obama, was a leader of the gay marriage movement, and has since argued forcefully against Donald Trump. His Substack is one of the most popular in the world. He recently did that rare thing among public intellectuals and revisited his earlier opinions about the former president. I wanted to know: which ones does he now think were wrong?

 

Andrew Sullivan: When I went back and looked at that big essay I wrote in 2016, I asked myself: what were the things I was specifically worried he would do, and did he actually did those things? To me the most promises that he made in 2016 were authoritarian in nature: the pledges to round up and deport 11 million unauthorised immigrants, to ban all Muslim immigrants from the United States. He threatened his opponents with either killing them or prosecuting them, including Hillary Clinton. And of course, he was also a huge enthusiast for war crimes. He loves torture. He’s a depraved human being. But nonetheless, all those things he didn’t do. Did he violate a supreme court order? No. Did he exceed his authority? Yes — he did send the military down to the border with funding that wasn’t allocated by Congress. But that is not exactly the kind of terrifying thing that one feared back in 2016. 

FS: So the authoritarian rhetoric didn’t materialise. Do you think that’s because it was always just talk, part of a tough guy image? Or do you think he just wasn’t capable of executing it?

AS: I don’t think he actually likes the exercise of power. He’s not that interested in controlling the lives of everyone around him, or indeed most Americans. He’s concerned primarily with his own ego, with his own glory, and with his own sense of being right in a particular moment. And so when it comes to difficult things, like rounding up 11 million people, he didn’t even try. There was some increased enforcement from ICE, but not much. We know how much wall he built, which is about a few hundred feet; we know how much Mexico paid for it, which was zero.

The worry was that he could declare a state of emergency when faced with a crisis, assume all sorts of powers and run the country like a dictator. Well, there were two moments when that was possible. The first was when Covid happened — in fact, his instincts were not to assume all the powers, and in fact, he did rather conventional things. Then, after the Floyd riots in 2020, half the country’s cities went up in flames, but did he take the opportunity to send tanks into the streets? No — if anything the police were under-enforcing the law in that period and there was mayhem. So all the great fears and panics about him seizing total power turned out to be overblown. And I think it’s worth saying that.

FS: Some people have accused you of “Trump derangement syndrome” for the level of your concern. In retrospect, do you feel like you had a mild case of it?

AS: No. The former President Donald Trump is himself deranged, that is where the source of the derangement is. All we’re doing is responding to what he says and what he does. And what he said was: I intend to upend the entire Constitution of the United States and run it as a dictator. He didn’t do it. Now, the question is, why didn’t he do it? And some people say, well, he was checked by others. And he was. But my sense is he doesn’t actually want that kind of control. It’s too much responsibility.

FS: It’s an incredibly important point that, isn’t it? That, contrary to those fears, there is something intrinsic to Donald Trump that is un-serious, or even, as you wrote recently, almost comic.

AS: It’s always been hard to wrap your head around him because on the one hand he’s talking like Mussolini; on the other hand he’s talking like a cable news host. And you’re not quite sure whether he’s commenting on the news or aiming to be a dictator. But there is one element in which he is dangerous, very dangerous to a constitutional republic, which is that he really doesn’t believe that law applies to him.

In fact, he has recently been calling for total immunity for the President for everything he does in office, including murdering political opponents. That’s his public position, that he wants total immunity. Whenever he has been caught out personally, whenever he has been investigated personally, he has responded unconstitutionally: he attempted to obstruct justice, he attempted to get rid of various attorneys general. He clearly tried to rig the election by using foreign policy to get Biden in trouble with Ukraine. Of course, the ultimate example is January 6th, where he sits there and allows the Capitol of the United States to be ransacked and a riot to take place in order to slow and defer the certification of the election.

FS: We actually spoke two days after January 6th, on January 8 2021. And I remember very clearly at the time that you were very exercised by it. I was making the case that maybe it was more performative, or maybe it wasn’t a full attempt at revolution. And you were saying: don’t downplay this, Freddie, don’t make light of it. Do you now, in retrospect, feel that January 6th was as Republic-ending as it seemed at the time?

AS: Well, it didn’t end the Republic did it? That’s the main conclusion we have. All this was an attempt, not to seize power, but to appease his ego. He didn’t have links in the military to allow a coup to take place; he had no support in the Senate or the House to initiate some kind of coup. It was, in the end, kind of an empty gesture. But what it showed was that he was prepared to take the Republic to the very edge of the cliff, dangling over it, and then, according to his whim, whip it back to safety — or not. And that is an unacceptable level of risk for any society to tolerate. 

FS: The critique that you’re now making is basically that he’s fundamentally unserious, and craven in his own self-defence to the point where no rules are worth obeying if he can cheat them to get out of a sticky situation. Those traits aren’t unique to him as a politician. But the rhetoric that has come from the Democrats ever since 2016 — and still from Biden — is that he is an existential threat to the Republic, he’s a fascist, he’s a source of incredible danger. It’s a huge shift if we no longer think that that’s a risk.

AS: But we do think it’s a risk, for the following reason. The entire constitution of the United States is based upon the rule of law. The rule of law has to be applied and be seen to be applied, as far as possible, equally. He has openly stated that the President should be above and outside the law. If he is convicted of crimes, some of which are quite serious with respect to his political position, he doesn’t care. He will seek to be re-elected to overturn the rule of law with respect to himself. In other words, we will have an election in which he will say: it’s me, or it’s the rule of law.

FS: So is that is your biggest fear looking forward? That some kind of constitutional break might happen either at the end of his time in office, if he wants to stay longer or something along those lines?

AS: Yes. He has never accepted the result of an election he didn’t like, whether it was his own, or anybody else’s: you can go through the record. He just doesn’t believe that he needs to play by the rules. And he believes that if he loses, it’s because it’s rigged. Now, when a President stands up and says, “The entire system is rigged, you shouldn’t trust it, you should only trust me,” are you really saying it’s a responsible thing to support that person? When he’s already shown that he is indifferent to a peaceful transfer of power? Once already he has tried to stop himself being removed from office. He’s told us in advance that he won’t even recognise the results of this coming election if he loses. So we’re headed for a constitutional crisis if he doesn’t win outright, clearly.

FS: We’re possibly headed for a constitutional crisis if he does win also. You may get all sorts of constitutional tinkering being proposed by governors of states who reject a President Trump. We might start seeing the reverse of what we’re now seeing in Texas — blue states defying the President. There’ll be people on the streets if Trump is re-elected, surely?

AS: Yes, I think that there will be. And he has already said that he’s prepared to invoke the Insurrection Act if such violence takes place. Of course, he won’t be able to in November because he won’t be president till January. So martial law will have to wait. But nonetheless, it’s a slightly alarming prospect. And the fact that we’re at a point where both sides are beginning to say they don’t trust this election at all, and will inflict violence or demonstrate against it afterwards, just shows you the lengths to which we’ve gone. I think it is simply not fair to blame others for this. Others do bear some of the blame, but the chief driver in the delegitimisation of the American constitutional order is Donald J. Trump, because he cannot bear a system that might in any way at any point overrule his own wishes and his own interests.

FS: Let’s posit that he wins anyway. What do you think would happen policy-wise? Everyone here in Europe is discussing the risk of isolationism: the sense that if Trump wins, Nato is imperiled and support for Ukraine will either just stop abruptly or gradually fade away, and Europe will pretty much have to fend for itself. Do you think that’s true?

AS: I do, pretty much. Not just because he feels that way, but because a large majority of his own party believes that too (at least the base of the party, not the elites that are still part of the 20th-century architecture of international law). No, I think if he’s elected, then Ukraine will be partitioned. And I think at some point, Taiwan will be given over to China. And I think a large number of Americans will regard that as a pretty sensible, sane way of moving forward in the world.

FS: And would you be one of that large number of Americans?

AS: I’d be pretty close to them, yes. I don’t think there is a desire in the United States, nor has there really been for the last 20 years, for long engagement in conflicts far away. The people whose kids go to fight those wars don’t want their kids to go fight those wars. And a lot of people just simply look at the state of the US-Mexico border and say: why are we spending billions of dollars on the border between the Russian-dominated provinces in Ukraine and the rest of it? Why, when we can’t do it for our own border? That’s an incredibly potent argument.

FS: The world order is certainly going through a seismic shift, one that may involve war or will conflict being evaded and a deal being struck. The argument of those who support Trump would be that he’s not so deeply ideological, he likes a deal and, as you say, he’s not seriously attached to a particular set of principles. And they say: that’s the kind of leader we need right now to smooth things over. 

AS: Yes. There are plenty of reasons, policy-wise, why I’d be happier with a Trump administration than a Biden one. There’s immigration, which I think the Democrats have completely screwed up. The numbers of people coming over are extraordinary at this point. And I think if he got a majority in the House and the Senate, he could easily pass immigration reform, and this time, unlike in 2016, he won’t be bamboozled by people like Paul Ryan into thinking that the most important thing is a tax cut for the super-wealthy.

I also think that regarding the wokeness stuff, even though I really find Trump horrid on so many levels, if he’s the only thing that can stop this stuff from being imposed across the country and across the United States Government, then you can see why I might prefer him over Biden, who is giving in to woke at every level. The federal government is involved in systematic DEI: in all of its capacities it now has putting equity at the heart of everything as a policy. He would remove that and there would be support for ending DEI in corporate America and in universities. He’s clearly taken out a position — even if he’s not interested in that stuff, he’ll find someone who is. And that’s a huge thing for the base. It would happen, I think.

FS: And meanwhile, he’s not homophobic especially is he?

AS: I don’t think there’s much evidence that he’s anti-gay. I don’t think any of the core civil rights that we’ve won — the right to marry, the right to be in the military — are in any way in doubt. What is in doubt is whether we should fast-track children for sexual transition, which is a hugely controversial and difficult issue. And I think he might help put the brakes on that.

FS: By your account, it’s sounding pretty good so far! What’s not to like about Trump II?

AS: The end of the rule of law and the end of the American Constitution, which are far, far more important.

FS: What about the Left? Just as you are evolving and looking again at some of his traits, do you think the Left will learn from the mistakes of 2016-2020, when they only exacerbated the polarisation by completely freaking out about Trump’s victory?

AS: No, they’ll go absolutely bonkers. But let’s talk about which elements. The upper-middle class white people will go bonkers. But what’s fascinating is that on the policy measures, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, even some gays, are moving in the direction of Trump in ways that could be truly devastating. It is perfectly possible Trump will win in a landslide. I think that’s more likely than any other actual scenario.

But what the Biden people say is that when push comes to shove, the idea of four more years of that kind of chaos is all the argument that they need. Just don’t vote for chaos. Stay where you are. Things are actually improving: the economy has done better in the United States than anywhere else in the world over the last few years and we are making progress on climate. There’s all sorts of things they can say. But they have a doddering, ancient guy who can’t really command the public’s attention. You have the impact of inflation, you have the failure on immigration. I think it’s Trump’s for the taking, I really do. 

FS: It feels your heart and head are pointing in different directions. I asked about all the policy areas and you’re basically on board. But there’s this one principle, which you believe is most fundamental, which is that he doesn’t respect constitutional process. 

AS: But that is the core question. In our democracies, policies come and go. All sorts of things change. All sorts of governments get things wrong. But the constitutional process allows us to change government to sustain a pluralistic democracy, to have a system where everyone respects the rule of law. Those things are what ultimately matter in a society. 

FS: I’m going to leave it there because you’ve summed it up perfectly.

AS: Thank you for having me unspool all my conflicts in public. I do think it’s important for writers to do that occasionally. Because I don’t think my judgement was totally off, but I think it missed a few nuances, which you’ve now learned about. But I still cannot vote for Donald J. Trump.


is the Editor-in-Chief & CEO of UnHerd. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of YouGov, and founder of PoliticsHome.

freddiesayers

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

192 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Brian Villanueva
BV
Brian Villanueva
2 months ago

“We know how much wall he built, which is about a few hundred feet”
52 miles of primary new barrier. 450 miles of upgraded barrier. Not “a few hundred feet”.
(https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2022-02-07/how-much-of-president-donald-trumps-border-wall-was-built)
“He clearly tried to rig the election by using foreign policy to get Biden in trouble with Ukraine”
Biden’s son really did take $1M in kickbacks from a Ukrainian state-run company while his father was the sitting Vice President in charge of Ukraine policy for the Obama administration. While asking Zelensky about it may have had a political motivations, the kickbacks really did happen. Trump noticing them isn’t the problem; conflict of interest and potential bribery of the VP is the problem.
“allows the Capitol of the United States to be ransacked”
Except the Capitol wasn’t ransacked. No statues were beheaded. No secrets were stolen. The House Chamber was not set alight. People broke in. A bunch more were let in by police officers. A few tried to get into the Congressional chambers but most just wandered around for a few hours and then left. And the video proving this has been available (thanks Kevin McCarthy) to journalists for a year. The DOJ rounded them all up a few days later using cell phone data and some are still rotting in prison cells awaiting trial for what amounts to trespassing.
“he was prepared to take the Republic to the very edge of the cliff, dangling over it”
Funny, because that’s what it looks like the Democratic Party is doing right now, using courts and prosecutors that they control to attempt to bankrupt, distract, and imprison the leading opposition candidate. When we see this behavior in Russia or Ukraine or Belarus or Turkey or Argentina or Venezuela or Nicaragua or Columbia or Burma or Indonesia or India or [fill in the blank], we call it what is: tyrannical.
That said behavior is now occurring in the United States doesn’t change that diagnosis. The fact that Andrew can’t see that implies that he really hasn’t altered his views of Trump at all. Full TDS, all the way down, Andrew.

Matt Hindman
MH
Matt Hindman
2 months ago

Andy has been broken by the bad orange man for a while now. I have also enjoyed every minute of his mental breakdown. I just thought I would bring up an old article of his. It tells you everything you need to know about the guy.
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/04/america-tyranny-donald-trump.html

John Huddart
JH
John Huddart
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Surely, with 90+ criminal indictments the Mango Moron should by rights end up in the Big House rather than the White House? It’s quite frightening how so many people are fooled by his phoney schtick?

Paul Castle
PC
Paul Castle
2 months ago
Reply to  John Huddart

TDS writ large is it ?

Damon Hager
DH
Damon Hager
2 months ago

“The DOJ rounded them all up a few days later using cell phone data and some are still rotting in prison cells awaiting trial for what amounts to trespassing.”

Indeed. And this is particularly distasteful given the following quote from Sullivan:

“The rule of law has to be applied and be seen to be applied, as far as possible, equally.”

But it isn’t, is it, Andrew? And that’s the problem.

Shrunken Genepool
SG
Shrunken Genepool
2 months ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

Andrew can you please respond to this? Freddie – ask the question. Surely clear case of TDS

Margie Murphy
MM
Margie Murphy
2 months ago

Well said.

Benjamin Dyke
BD
Benjamin Dyke
2 months ago

The interview was very interesting and so was your eloquent and respectful rebuttal of some of his responses. Thank you. I’m a Brit who’s lived in Sweden for 10 years. US domestic and international politics affects us all and I’m still grateful that it has that role, whether the US wants or doesn’t want it!

Stephanie Surface
SS
Stephanie Surface
2 months ago

Wonder why Andrew brushed over the Twitter File scandal so lightly? Not only did the Biden Administration use the FBI to silence dissenting voices on Social Media during Covid, but also suppressed the story of Hunter’s laptop. The FBI even paid millions to for Twitter’s “processing efforts”. Can you imagine, if Trump would have broken the First Amendment so blatantly, the whole left wing MSM would have exploded…

Terry Raby
TR
Terry Raby
2 months ago

Yes, a significant omission from Freddie’s questions.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Sullivan (never heard of him before, so didn’t have any preconceived ideas about him,) clearly suffers from ATDS (the A is for agravated!) and I stopped reading his drivel 30 secs in because I started throwing up and his bullshit-salad.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago

And he is part of the problem

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

I don’t think AS is part of the problem. He may have TDS, but he opposes a lot of the woke cancer infecting the west right now.

Kat L
KL
Kat L
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Gay marriage paved the way for part of it. His lack of understanding of the purpose and importance of marriage on ensuring continuity of population and its safety and stability has nothing to do with equality. He seems to be more of a libertarian than conservative.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago

Digital communications inevitably means that politics will no longer be conducted in the genteel way, among a heterogeneous political class, that Andrew Sullivan would like. The rhetoric is bound to become increasingly salty. Trump is just a symbol of this change.
The only way to make sense of it is to ignore completely what politicians say to or about each other and look only at the policy. On that basis I defy anyone not to reach the conclusion that Biden and the people he represents are the much greater danger to democracy than Trump and the deplorables.

Dustin Needle
DN
Dustin Needle
2 months ago

I was looking forward to reading this article but this chap comes across as obsessed and a little unhinged. Democrats have nothing in their locker when it comes to the interests of the people in the USA or the battle for ideas in the world generally. It’s just Trump this, Trump that. Give us a break from these simpletons.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
2 months ago

Their terms should have been longer.
This was an attempt to overturn an election, not just dump on Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
Send them a nice cake and forget about it…

Paul Castle
PC
Paul Castle
2 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

When did it become a crime to disagree with a rigged election ?

Michael Layman
ML
Michael Layman
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul Castle

Or to simply protest?

Jules Anjim
JA
Jules Anjim
2 months ago

What absolute bilge.

Scott Burson
SB
Scott Burson
2 months ago

“[U]sing courts and prosecutors that they control to attempt to bankrupt, distract, and imprison the leading opposition candidate” is “tyrannical” only if said opposition candidate hasn’t actually committed the crimes alleged.

Paul Castle
PC
Paul Castle
2 months ago
Reply to  Scott Burson

Typical of today’s Democrats , many of them today are criminals who will do anything and commit any crime in order to grasp power or to keep it .

Matt Hindman
MH
Matt Hindman
2 months ago
Reply to  Scott Burson

No, it’s still tyrannical. I don’t expect a lefty to appreciate why we have limits on prosecutorial power.

0 0
0
0 0
2 months ago

Most Americans want him as president. A non-worthy interview.

Christopher Chantrill
CC
Christopher Chantrill
2 months ago

Articles like this are useful to remind us of the bubble that our educated class lords inhabit.
Thank goodness Rasmussen came out with an analysis of The Elite 1% — with graduate degrees, living in gentrified inner cities, earning $150,000 and up — all educated the same, think the same, live the same, and vote the same.
Bless their hearts.

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
2 months ago

For you, everything serves as little more than a reminder of your monomania: The Elite Educated Class, who all think and act the same in your convenient framing. Are tradespeople and contractors like my father and brother–both well to my left on most things–somehow part of that elite, despite the lack of any degree or a graduate degree respectively (brother has a bachelor’s)?
You separate the world into undifferentiated masses, in a kind of bizarro-world Marxism, through the looking glass and down a rabbit hole: 1) the wicked elite 2) the good-real people. Group 2 happens to think and vote like you do, and to “benefit” from a similar lack of education.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

One quibble with your post — not sure if one could characterize what the The Elite 1% do as “thinking”.
Otherwise, 100% agreement on the 1%. Poor dears.

Mike Smith
MS
Mike Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

They let their wallets do the thinking. Those that do start to think end up dead having been robbed (even though the robber forgot to steal the wallet and the Rolex).

Jacob Mason
JM
Jacob Mason
2 months ago

I agree to a point. It seems to me that the elites are not just taught to think the same, but are the ones establishing the terms of the ‘acceptable’ narrative (which of course suits their concerns, self-interests, and insecurities).

The fact that it’s harder to enforce one official narrative than it was 50 years ago is a cause of frustration and concern to them. So they have responded by becoming more vain, self-assured, and strident.

Will K
WK
Will K
2 months ago

Trump is a businessman. Used to dealing with devious opponents. Devoted to the USA, but willing to negotiate. That’s exactly what is needed in a leader, and what we lack.

Nathan Sapio
NS
Nathan Sapio
2 months ago

“my initial assumptions didn’t pan out, but it wasn’t because I was wrong. It was because my concerns were so serious” (a summarizing quote I made up)

I kid. But seriously, the hundreds of executive orders at the start of his term, the 80+ extralegal (that’s generous) actions taken by Biden to encourage illegal in immigration, and the TV narcissist is the threat to the rule of law? Wait, wait, I forgot to mention how thoroughly criminals have been protected and victims punished across major (D) cities.

All that being said, he’s got a very important perspective seeing the Forest from the Trees. An ounce of self awareness would just be appreciated.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
2 months ago

Andrew Sullivan thinks that Donald Trump threatens the “end of the rule of law and the end of the American Constitution”? I don’t see how. What has Donald Trump done that compares with the attacks by the Democrats on the rule of law, that include:
— the Mueller investigation (no charges were filed)
— two impeachments (two acquittals)
— the January 6 House investigation (a Democrat television production paid for by the taxpayers)
— a civil fraud case (the judge imposed the harshest of remedies for “fraud” that harmed no one)
— two civil rape/defamation cases (a laughable $88.3 million was awarded based on laughable evidence)
— four felony criminal cases with 91 indictments (none of which will ever go to trial but were never intended to)
— ballot disqualification cases (no one seriously believes these cases are real)
You can criticize Donald Trump all you want for his words. He is bombastic. He is hyperbolic (using more hyperbole than Cicero). He is insulting. But his actions have never approached what the Democrats have done. He lost the election and he left office. All else is just words.
With Donald Trump, don’t worry about words and abstractions like the rule of law or the Constitution. He is the most pragmatic of presidents. He knows how to get things done. And that’s what matters.

T Bone
T Bone
2 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

It’s also been empirically proven that three months of mail voting is the most secure form of conducting an election.

Science says the more people involved in the chain of custody, the more you can trust the result.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
2 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

I take it you are being sarcastic.

Lisa Letendre
LL
Lisa Letendre
2 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

If only Trump had been a good loser and had just left! But he didn’t. And that’s why there’s been all this backlash. Imagine if it had been the other way round. A Democrat not allowing the transfer of power. A Democrat leading an insurrection on Capitol Hill. I can’t see any Republican letting that go! Trump has brought all this on himself. And the insurrection was not merely trespassing, people died. Trump may make all the right noises for some people, but ultimately he behaves like a spoilt brat. If we lived on a giant playground (which sometimes that is what it feels like) Trump would have been taken to the principal’s office and expelled long ago. But no, his supporters (who continually think they have the higher moral ground) excuse his bad behaviour! Trump wants to be president so he can excuse himself of all his wrong doing. And he would be the first to agree with that.

Louise Durnford
Louise Durnford
2 months ago
Reply to  Lisa Letendre

Hillary Clinton, please step up!
That is exactly what she did, ie she did not recognise the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency, and stood on the sidelines carping about him and her “loss”, which, in her mind, should have been a win, for months on end.
She didn’t lead an issurection on Capitol Hill, but, then again, neither did Trump.
As for people “dying”, might I suggest that you revisit your opinion on that since the only person that was killed was Ashley Babitt, who was unarmed, and was shot down by the Capitol police.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
2 months ago

Roseann Boyland was also killed at the Capitol, but no one seems to remember her.

Mike Smith
MS
Mike Smith
2 months ago

Hilary Clinton also paid for the PissGate dossier to be invented from thin air and then used to try to bring Trump down.

Jules Anjim
JA
Jules Anjim
2 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

What unadulterated drivel

C Yonge
CY
C Yonge
2 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Don’t forget Democrats trying to implement the “Disinformation Governance Board” or Ministry of Truth

Cathy Carron
CC
Cathy Carron
2 months ago
Reply to  C Yonge

That turned out to be actually hilarious. Didn’t the woman who was to head this group come across as unhinged and she even wrote a song to go with her job? She was up there with the transgender employee who held an important post in the Energy Dept (nuclear energy) who stole suitcases at airports and wore the outfits to meetings. The Biden picks have made a mockery of ‘good governance,

Cho Jinn
CJ
Cho Jinn
2 months ago

“ The end of the rule of law and the end of the American Constitution, which are far, far more important.”

…we do not have that with Biden I? Sullivan cannot be taken seriously.

T Bone
TB
T Bone
2 months ago

First of all, I generally like Andrew Sullivan as a journalist. He’s brilliant and he says alot of insightful things.  But the guy is not a conservative.
John McWhorter is not a conservative.  I’ve seen this label foisted on these guys simply because they still uphold Enlightenment Rationalism…until it gets to Politics.  When you get into politics these hyperanalysts turn into simpletons with very little analysis.  If they decided to do an actual analysis (as they’re both very capable) they would find the Trump base far more partial to legitimacy of the US Constitution.  They also know that as a populist, Trump is contained…by his voting base.

The overwhelming majority of Trump voters (who don’t necessarily love everything about Trump) believe in a limited federal government that doesn’t “evolve” with the times into a “Living Constitution.”  If a change is needed, the Constitution can be amended.  Progressives may say well what about slavery? It took a War to fix that.

That modern progressives see themselves as the offspring of the Lincoln abolitionists is performative nonsense.   We have no racial issue today that parallels Segregation…except for DEI. The laws are completely “equitable” and have been for a long time.  The idea that disparities are Apriori proof of discrimination doesn’t hold up to water and Andrew knows that.  He knows Critical Theory advocates PARTIAL treatment under the law and zero tolerance to ideological opponents.

America used to be the fairest multiethnic Democracy in the modern world because of the impartiality built into its laws.  The entire point of Critical Theory is to undermine Enlightenment Rationality…which undergirds the entire rul of law.

As Jordan Peterson states…this is a Counter-Enlightenment.

David Yetter
DY
David Yetter
2 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

The thing is in the American context, to be a conservative means to conserve the American Founding, which was the quintessential expression of the Anglo-Scottish Enlightenment, and thus in European terms, liberal. When it is a matter of the American Founding vs. what passes for a Left these days (what we shorthand as “the woke”, the idiot intellectual descendants of the Frankfurt School, Derrida. Foucault and various and sundry anti- and post-colonialist writers), siding with the former makes you (in America) a conservative. At least some of us on the right are happy to welcome folks like Andrew Sullivan and John McWhorter to the fold.

T Bone
TB
T Bone
2 months ago
Reply to  David Yetter

The question is why do McWhorter and Sullivan suspend their seriousness and rationality when it comes to politics? When it comes to Politics they become the same emotional Romantics they excoriate.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

I don’t think AS approves of DEI or CRT.

Jules Anjim
Jules Anjim
2 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

It’s a pretty good example of how far the rot has set in that Sullivan is dismissed in these comments as not being a true conservative. This website has become truly UnHinged.

T Bone
TB
T Bone
2 months ago
Reply to  Jules Anjim

Thank you for demonstrating how most Progressives are incapable of making a coherent, rational, substantive argument about anything and instead rely on petty insults.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago

Summing up: Trump talks like a dictator, but he is too lazy to actually become one. He does not really want power, he just wants to gratify his ego. And he might do anything to get that – he does not care about the law or the country’s future or the consequences for anyone but himself, as long as he can feel like a big man. Sounds fair enough – but it is the description of a toddler.

So, all you fans: Is that really the man you want in charge of your future?

Saul D
Saul D
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

That’s the cartoon the left put out, but it’s strongly not believed by his base who think Trump took steps that had a positive impact on America until Covid got in the way. To them Trump is seen as someone who takes the slings and arrows to make change on their behalf, as the system throws injustice after injustice at him. If it was about ego, he would have fled to luxury retirement long ago with the ‘I was president’ medal on his chest, and simply rolled over to do whatever the TV journalists told him was popular, taking naps and letting other people run the country for him. There has to be a less shallow reason for going through the mill a second time and I think you might be missing it.

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

He is running primarily to stay out of jail and stave off financial ruin this time. But the bully-pulpit microphone and big bright spotlight still call out to him like sirens.

Saul D
Saul D
2 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

That doesn’t make sense. It would have been easier to cut a deal and agree not to run in return for the DOJ holding back. Then take the easy retirement telling the world how it should be run, but without the brickbats of actually running.
Back in 2014/15 I was following US elections in the UK and European press and it was clear that Hillary was going to beat Ted Cruz. Except this weird donkey called Donald Trump kept popping up. And he was leading the Republican field. There was nothing in the mainstream press able to explain Trump’s rise that held water. Lots of imagined ‘mind-reading’ of what he meant. The only way to understand Trump was to go and listen to the follower community because the journalists were laughing, smearing and sliming and not reporting. The same remains true. You will not get a good view of Trump support unless you see what Trump supporters say – sideism guesses and keeps getting it wrong.

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

So you and those who side with you, contorting yourselves into pretzels to excuse and justify Trump’s actions, enjoy the only clear view of him?
Why not listen to the dozens of sane people who’ve worked for him but now denounce him as fraudulent and dangerous? They’re all swamp creatures, while Trump is virtuous and clean?

Terry M
TM
Terry M
2 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

You completely miss what most Trump supporters are saying. We say that Trump is personally repugnant and petty and egotistical. He tells tall tales – mostly exaggerations. But we understand that his actions and accomplishments have been among the best of any President’s in the past century.
Corporate tax cut from 35 to 21% (same as EU) bringing back jobs to the US
3 ME peace treaties
Sharply reduced illegal immigration accomplished by jawboning and working with Mexico rather than by violent measures
Muting of Kim of North Korea
Excellent SCOTUS justices – who don’t always support conservative views, btw, since they are not partisan hacks like the Donkey appointees
And lots more…

R.I. Loquitur
RL
R.I. Loquitur
2 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The problem for you is that everyone sees with their own eyes how infirm Biden is and how whacko Democrat policies have become and that, despite him being an egomaniac, America was better off under Trump (no border crisis, no new wars, reasonable food and energy prices).

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
2 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

In my estimation you belong to a thought-tribe in far more dire measure than I do. What are the components of your “information diet”? I don’t perceive that you are seeing clearly, nor with your own eyes in any real way when it comes to your hero, Donald Trump.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

You are quite right that you will not get a good idea of why people vote Trump unless you talk to his fans. But with the best will in the world I find it very hard to understand either. The fans see a man with a sincere desire to do good for them, an innocent man who is unjustly persecuted by the establishment, a man with a clear grasp of where the country should go and a firm grip on how to get it there (?). I see a man who talks so much crap that you have to ignore everything he says, who does not know from one minute to the next what he is going to do, who gave major concessions to Kim Young-un’ without getting anything in return, who openly tried to steal the election, and who has broken the law multiple times but demands the right to be immune to the law. And who is so vain that he shows top secret documents to random strangers just to prove what a big man he is – even when he is already ex-president. I can see no rational reason to believe that such a man would give a damn about doing well as president – or would be capable of doing it even if he tried. What arguments can you give me that go beyond blind faith?

Saul D
SD
Saul D
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Trump supporters want an agent of change. They got change last time, and they want more (eg trying to get a deal to denuclearise North Korea was a good gamble). They saw how much the Democrats and establishment pushed back, resisted, smeared and cheated so their reaction is that Trump must have been doing something right, and they believe his policies were working. If you do the pre-2016 test, you’d find Trump on chat shows saying what he would do a long-time before he made his run. The first run might have been for his ego (I don’t think he expected to win, or knew what to do when he did). This time it’s serious.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

OK, so you are saying that Trump voters want a big change, and that they want something that the Democrats hate. He can probably deliver that. Personally I think that voting for smashing up the current system with no clear idea of what you will be getting instead is not smart – it is what the Brexiteers did, after all.

As for North Korea, denuclearisation was a total failure, as anyone could have predicted. Putting money on a certain loser is not a good gamble. To get people to change their policies you have to show them they will gain by changing, or lose by not changing. Trump gave the Kim a major boost and legitimisation, by giving him a face-to-face meeting with he President of the US – without asking for anything in return. Kim pocketed the gift and was happy to have the pressure taken off – and had no reason whatsoever to change. Trump got an ego boost by sitting and practising the art of the deal for nuclear stakes, and the US lost leverage for nothing. Trump may well believe that he is such a genius that any time he sits and negotiates the result will be fabulous. The hard bit is why anyone else would think the same thing.

Saul D
Saul D
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

‘Legitimisation’ is such an empty hand-wave. The Kims have been three generations in charge. It would be worth the gamble of something trivial for something actually pretty important like denuclearisation (and it was supported by the South Koreans). Nothing happened. The world is no better or worse off. Better to try and fail than wait another generation (and isn’t this Trump actually doing stuff, not for his ego, but for world peace?)

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

That is what his fans say, yes. Whatever he is doing, he is doing on their behalf (including grabbing p**sies and trying to steal the election?). But there is an obvious reason for him to run again – and it has nothing to do with caring for anyone but himself. If he let go, it would mean accepting he had lost the election. And Orange Man Is Not A Loser! It would mean accepting that he was not strong enough to beat his enemies – and Orange Man Is Not Weak! It might even mean accepting that in some cases he had been wrong – and Orange Man Is Not Wrong!

Saul D
Saul D
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

A cartoon-view (and even using bold). You’re mind-reading and projecting what you think Trump thinks so you can boo-hiss. A far simpler explanation is that Trump still believes he has policies worth pursuing, and, far from being lazy, he’s decided it’s worth the pain and sacrifice to get on the road again despite the constant attacks. The pantomime villain theory is what a toddler would think.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Maybe, but I find it really hard to see any actual evidence for Trump having anything as thought-out as policies – let alone any drive for self-sacrifice. For things like building a wall and getting Mexico to pay for it, putting Hilary in jail, curing COVID with ivermectin and bleach injections, or ‘finding’ enough votes to win the election, it is easy – you just have to quote the man. For Ukraine his policies seem to be ‘talk to Putin, and my brilliant negotiating skills will deliver something great’, without any suggestion about what that result might be. OK, so even his fans say that he is talking crap and you should ignore what he is actually saying. But if you cannot use his own words, how do you deduce what his policies are? Are you just projecting your hopes onto Trump and assuming his policies are what you would like them to be?

If we are going by guesswork, I submit my mind-reading is no worse than yours. If you have any evidence, I would like to see what you are basing your judgement on.

Saul D
Saul D
2 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You’re relying on hoax stories from detractors (seriously look them up, some are deliberate fake partisan stories).
There is evidence of policy. In itself, ‘Make America great again’ is a pretty clear policy aim even if it lacks details. If he really had no policies, then why did Biden overturn stuff in his first weeks in office. The wall was policy, but didn’t get Congress funding. He put missiles into Ukraine. Got US energy production up. Changed taxes so businesses re-onshored. Moved the US embassy in Israel and got the Abraham Accords. Even a detractor would have noticed stuff got done.
And if you think it’s random, do the trick of pre-2016 talkshow interviews. You’ll see a consistent set of policy aims mentioned and repeated before he actually ran. Often what you write sounds like you only read the NYT (or it’s republished pieces in the European press). I’m not a rightwinger, but current Democrats seriously scare me – they have no boundaries in what they’ll do for the party and political power.

j watson
JW
j watson
2 months ago

Nuanced and coherent from Sullivan. The Right has a legit and likely popular agenda in the US but shackled to Trump it risks burning the lot down.

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
2 months ago
Reply to  j watson

As happened in 2016, how wise you are.

j watson
j watson
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

Of course the key gamechanger for Sullivan is Trump’s unwillingness to accept an election result that wasn’t even that close. That’s a fundamental for him and of course didn’t apply in 16.

Terry M
TM
Terry M
2 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Sullivans piece is internally contradictory. He recognizes that Trump was talking crap in 2016, but chooses to take him literally now.
I’m sure he can ‘feel the hate that flows him.’

Saul D
Saul D
2 months ago

The Republican base is a strange beast. They believe that the American system, it’s institutions and constitution will make everything turn out OK in the end. They aren’t out on the streets burning buildings down when things don’t go their way. Even J6, they brought no weapons and observed the guide ropes. When the Democrats play lawfare, the Republicans just go to court and expect the legal system to work out. Even when judges attempt to be prosecutors or impose ludicrously punatittive sentences, they still think the answer is appeals, or take the punishment despite how unfair it appears. This is a group that will die for the constitution and the American way.
If anything, it’s modern Democrats who are demeaning and diminishing the constitution. DEI is a tool against equality under the law, against free speech and for big intrusive government and political officers in every organisation. Legal standards are being diminished as AGs pick and choose what and who to prosecute, and judges act politically. From where we are now, Trump’s impeachment was to protect Biden because money moves to politicians in mysterious ways – dark money that is anti-constitutional or via insider trading and pork barrel kickbacks. The Twitter files show federal agencies involved in censoring speech for political purposes (lab leak and Hunter laptop). And now we have the prospect of war by presidential decree. If you think Trump is a threat to the US constitution you are ignoring what is happening right under your nose.

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

He’s openly stated that he’s ready to scrap the Constitution.
For example, in a Truth Social post from late 2022: “Do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution“.
I think it’s you and the other all-in Trump apologists who are ignoring what’s right under your noses. You can’t even smell it anymore.

Terry M
Terry M
2 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Just like Andrew Sullivan, you are taking Trump literally. It was wisely phrased in 2016 as Dems take Trump literally and not seriously. He makes all sorts of off-the-cuff exaggerated statements – don’t take these literally. They indicate an issue he is highlighting, not a policy prescription.
You fools still haven’t learned this after 8 years of listening to him and observing his actions/accomplishments.
And there are things that judges ‘find in the Constitution’ that should be eliminated. Remember the 3/5ths compromise? Remember separate but equal? Prohibition? No women voting? Affirmative action? All found by judges but ultimately unconstitutional.

R.I. Loquitur
RL
R.I. Loquitur
2 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Biden’s job is to enforce Federal law, not just the ones he chooses. He has ignored border laws that have worked for generations. How is that not impeachable?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
2 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

Terrible situation at the border. But let’s not pretend Trump handled it well, or that conditions south of the border and around the world have not massively worsened since 2020. Do many Republican genuinely want to improve the immigration crisis, or to insist on being the “party of no”, with hope of political gain, at all costs?
Impeachment is thrown around far too freely on both sides now. I could argue that the Republicans started it with Bill Clinton, but that’s beside the point. Both parties should stop invoking it so freely.

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
2 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

If permitting millions of undocumented illegal aliens without health papers to cross our borders isn’t an impeachable offense, what is?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
2 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

If repeating your own rhetorical questions ad nauseam isn’t boring and pointless, what is?
Illegal immigration increased sharply under Trump, compared to the Obama years. So perhaps you’re a big Obama fan?
I don’t contend that Biden is handling the border well, but there is a worsening global migrant crisis that is none of his specific doing, which was not Trump’s individual fault either. And many oppositional Republicans in Congress would rather see this current disaster and worse than allow anything that might help Biden politically.

Gordon Beattie
Gordon Beattie
2 months ago

“AS: But that is the core question. In our democracies, policies come and go. All sorts of things change. All sorts of governments get things wrong. But the constitutional process allows us to change government to sustain a pluralistic democracy, to have a system where everyone respects the rule of law. Those things are what ultimately matter in a society”
I think that Mr Sullivan is out of touch with reality.
Pluralistic democracy and respect for the rule of law are not applied very much by American governments. Check the track records of Obama, Trump, Biden.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
2 months ago

Don’t know Sullivan so I went into this piece a blank slate. But the way he’s described seems kind of weird:

“a conservative who supported Obama, was a leader of the gay marriage movement, and has since argued forcefully against Donald Trump”

“unlike in 2016, he won’t be bamboozled by people like Paul Ryan into thinking that the most important thing is a tax cut for the super-wealthy”

Waitaminute, how is this a description of a ‘conservative’? It sounds exactly like a description of a generic left wing liberal journalist to me. He is opposed to tax cuts, voted for the Democrats, supported gay marriage, and hates Trump.
This is a very strange form of cosplay that obviously doesn’t apply in the other direction: I have never seen someone who supported Trump, wants to cut taxes and who opposed the gay marriage movement be described as a liberal.

He will seek to be re-elected to overturn the rule of law with respect to himself. In other words, we will have an election in which he will say: it’s me, or it’s the rule of law.

The USA has always allowed Presidents to pardon people unilaterally! You could argue that the President is intentionally a Constitutional exception to the rule of law, and he has the power to do many illegal things by universal agreement, like murder American citizens (using Federal equipment, no less).
Anyway, the rule of law argument just seems really dubious to me and many other people especially since the rape case against him. How can anyone take US justice seriously after that? It’s pretty clear that when it comes to Trump the courts won’t even pretend to uphold impartiality, so for a lot of voters it will make sense to just remove him from their jurisdiction entirely.
Sadly I don’t see any way to resolve what’s happening in the USA short of civil war. The left will attempt to imprison Trump forever to send a signal to anyone who might try to defy them democratically. Regardless of whether they succeed or fail they’ll claim he’s a criminal and if he wins the election, they’ll claim his very existence undermines the “rule of law” (that they have captured). The right will correctly perceive this as meaning the end of American democracy and descent into a banana republic, and the result will be violence. Unfortunately that’s a war the left might actually win, as they have often done throughout history, simply due to their willingness to violate any norm or rule to do so.

Kirk Susong
KS
Kirk Susong
2 months ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

I like the cut of your jib… but the Constitution does not allow the President to murder people. What defines the use of force by the federal govt (under the President’s command) is precisely the rule of law – the President can only order the use of force in certain circumstances and within certain constraints. Bottom line: “killing” someone is different from “murdering” him.

R.I. Loquitur
RL
R.I. Loquitur
2 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

“the President can only order the use of force in certain circumstances and within certain constraints.”

Yeah, he cant send our military to war without prior Congressional approval. Oh yeah, that doesnt seem to be necessary anymore. Never mind.

Margie Murphy
Margie Murphy
2 months ago

Andrew Sullivan has TDS. It’s a serious condition that sees all evil applied to Donald Trump. He appears to be every bit the metropolitan elite he speaks against but obviously lives amongst. He is projecting onto Donald Trump everything Biden and the Democrats are guilty of. Is he even a Conservative? Read the entire article and didn’t find a shred of a “change of mind”. Just more Trump.bashing. Every point he made was wrong. Zero real analysis just TDS is full mode.

Jules Anjim
JA
Jules Anjim
2 months ago
Reply to  Margie Murphy

You are clearly insane.

David Gress
David Gress
2 months ago

“There’s immigration, which I think the Democrats have completely screwed up.”
No, they haven’t. They want what is happening. Mass uncontrolled immigration is a key feature, not a bug, of the Democratic plan to make America unrecognizable. That plan is therefore a greater threat to the Constitution and the Republic than anything Trump could imagine. Quite apart from the fact that I find Mr Sullivan’s concerns in that direction somewhat overdrawn.


Simon Boudewijn
SB
Simon Boudewijn
2 months ago
Reply to  David Gress

I had to stop reading this – but there is no man in the world who hates the USA like this guy from just the first paragraph – I had to stop…

”He threatened his opponents with either killing them or prosecuting them, including Hillary Clinton. And of course, he was also a huge enthusiast for war crimes. He loves torture. He’s a depraved human being. ”

Heck of a start for Political reporting. The guy is a total lieing psycho.

DA Johnson
DJ
DA Johnson
2 months ago

I agree. Almost every sentence was false and presented without citation. When did Trump “threaten to kill” his opponents; what is the basis for saying he is an “enthusiast for war crimes”; what evidence does Sullivan have for saying “He loves torture”?
And note to Freddie Sayers: Andrew Sullivan is not any kind of “conservative”. Perhaps he used to be, but those days are long over.

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
2 months ago

That was bizarre and he wasn’t called out for it by the interviewer

Brendan Ross
BR
Brendan Ross
2 months ago

All of the piety about the Constitution is misplaced.
The Constitution doesn’t function according to its terms and hasn’t for quite some time, thanks to the Supreme Court essentially usurping unto itself the power to completely change the Constitution at its discretion in ways that the text simply does not foresee. So being all pious about the Constitution, blah blah blah, is simply nonsense. The Constitution was disrespected and ditched by our own institutions decades ago.
Fact is — the Constitution is dated and cannot hold together a people who have no agreement as to *first* principles. It’s designed to regulate disputes regarding *second* principles (politics, policy etc) among people who agree on *first* principles. It cannot regulate disagreements on first principles, which is why all significant issues in the United States end up on the docket of the Supreme Court, which has become a de facto Super-Legislature, Super-Executive, and Constitutional Amendment Council rolled into one — none of which is foreseen in the actual text of the Constitution.
Therefore Sullivan is hiding behind what is, in fact, a dysfunctional document and has long been a dead letter, de facto, in terms of how the government actually operates, thanks to the Supreme Court creating its own Constitution out of thin air. That thin-air-constitution is less the rule of *law* than it is the rule of the Supreme Court. To conflate the two is to turn the entire idea of the “rule of law” into meaning “rule of a council of legal experts who can create their own Constitution” — it’s an elected council of kings, in effect, which is created de facto. And that is not in the actual textual Constitution, nor is it something that anyone who signed the Constitution actually agreed to, nor has anyone agreed to it by means of broad democratic support, either, ever since. Being pious about the power grab made by the Supreme Court and the Article III courts in general, and hiding behind the “rule of law” and its associated pieties doesn’t change this one iota.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
2 months ago

The funny thing is that this interview has made me move from apathy to viewing another Trump term as a net positive.

Terry M
Terry M
2 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Yes, even Andrew agreed with Freddie at the end that his heart was for Biden but his brain was for Trump.
But, being a progressive, he said he could never vote for Trump. Was there ever a clearer statement of the basic irrationality of progressiveness?

Simon Boudewijn
SB
Simon Boudewijn
2 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

They make abortion and killing babies the main creed of their faith – yet defend killers from the death penalty. Was Satan’s policy ever more twisted?

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

I don’t think AS is progressive at all. He’s an old school Democrat.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
2 months ago

From what I see in UnHerd, I like Freddie Sayers. But this interview with Andrew Sullivan (a person *only* journalists call “conservative”) would’ve been much more interesting and informative if, instead of ‘revisiting’ Sullivan’s views on Trump, Freddie asked Sullivan to play the same game *all* of us play. Namely… politics is always a choice between the lesser of two evils.
And every single complaint that Sullivan has about Trump’s rhetorical overreaches should instead be directed to the Democrats actual actions; they have done all the illegal, unconstitutional things Trump only talked about. Both impeachments, the Trump prosecutions in NY, GA and FL, the student debt forgiveness, the refusal to enforce immigration law, cancel culture, abortion tourism, the list goes on and on.
If Sullivan were being serious about the principles he claims motivate him, he’d be up in arms about the dangers of voting Democrat… giving him only one other choice come November. He’d swallow his personal distaste like the rest of us, and vote for Trump.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 months ago

Andrew Sullivan is a silly man. That much I can see. The Biden catastrophe was so predictable ! And it didn’t take long during the 2016 campaign to see that Donald Trump is as seriously prescient and patriotic as they come but has a masterful use of persuasion. Andrew Sullivan was just too silly to see it. I hope this is the last we hear from him. He is not a serious political pundit.

Will Whitman
Will Whitman
2 months ago

Has Sullivan altered his stances here? I’m not sure. It feels more like a reiteration of erstwhile views from him.

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
2 months ago

“How I was totally wrong about Pres Trump but totally right” (if I make up a few things.)

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 months ago

I thought Andrew Sullivan was a crank. I thank him for confirming it.

Marcus R
MR
Marcus R
2 months ago

I found this interview tiresome. Its titled “What I got wrong about Trump?” So what is the answer from Andrew? “Nothing. He just wasnt as bad as I thought” He then goes on to character assassination, lies, exagerations with few truths. There are many things you can critise trump on but to roll out the same old Democratic tripe is so dull.
I guess Andrew is still stuck in the neo liberal hell hole that he calls nirvana. I”m also a little disappointed in Unherd on this one. Not up to their usual standard. Im not sure this should have made the cut.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
2 months ago

Crucifixion or burning at the stake? Which would you prefer?

Brian Matthews
BM
Brian Matthews
2 months ago

Andrew Sullivan a conservative? Left but not wildly-Left is more accurate.

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
2 months ago

Andrew Sullivan almost perfectly sets out how I feel.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

poor you!

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
2 months ago

“What is in doubt is whether we should fast-track children for sexual transition” <– It is not in doubt, because it is non-existent by actual policy.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

Here we have an optimist or a ostrich. Take your pick.

Talia Perkins
TP
Talia Perkins
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Neither one. You have no facts to the contrary.
You only hope without reason to, that you are not a wilful child abuser.

Sue Sims
SS
Sue Sims
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Neither. Talia Perkins (or whatever his real name is) is a trans advocate, and therefore highly irrational. Treat him as a troll.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
2 months ago
Reply to  Sue Sims

Sue Sims is a gender denier who will never find any facts to support her opinion — she is a bigot motivated only by hatred and disgust. These are facts, you (Sue), can provide none to even color ably support bigoted your opinion. Firstly, I am woman for the same reason your ostensibly are, and, these
https://taliaperkinssspace.quora.com/People-are-born-transgender-they-are-not-mentally-ill-it-is-no-paraphilia-it-is-a-physical-birth-defect-no-more-a-men
Those mean you are a child abuser and an advocate for the same — you want to force boys to have breasts and a period and force girls to have beards and deep voices.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

Definitely a troll.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

No, she is more of a bigoted crank.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
2 months ago

Why does Unherd feel it necessary to totally mislead readers about Andrew’s bio. Why weren’t the periods at The Atlantic, The Daily Beast and The New Rupublic mentioned as places where he had worked as Editor.
The article is TDS at its finest. I find reading the comments quite informative and interesting, which is probably more that I can say for an incredibly strange and unhinged article even for a Harvard graduate.

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating….
Its no surprise that the right wing sheep would choose to dedicate themselves to a personality cult, someone who tells you what to say, what to think, who you should fear and hate – none of this is at all shocking.
But that you should choose an utter buffoon like Trump to be your fuhrer is so incredibly dumb that even I am surprised at how low you have sunk. I always knew you were stupid but that you would choose a moronic clown as your leader is really nuts.
Amazing!

Rick Frazier
RF
Rick Frazier
2 months ago

I suspect a lot of people vote for him simply because it drives people like you nuts.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Rick Frazier

Fascinating!
You people are so eager to “own the libs”, as I believe you call it, that you will attempt to elect a buffoon who clearly does not have the mental capacity to tie his own shoe laces, is a proven sexual predator and who makes you a laughing stock around the world – all to try to annoy people who couldn’t care less about you?
Why don’t you try to explain that to the group, Rickie?

Agnes Barley
Agnes Barley
2 months ago

Tonight, I am also making another promise to protect Americans from government tyranny. As your president, I will never allow the creation of a central bank digital currency…
Such a currency would give… our federal government, the absolute control over your money. They could take your money. You wouldn’t even know it was gone. This would be a dangerous threat to freedom.
Vote Trump!

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Agnes Barley

A classic example of Trump striking fear into the hearts of his zero information voters with threats about something that will never actually happen.
And you rubes buy it every time!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

The hubris and ignorance revealed by this person’s comments is truly breathtaking.

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Stupid and arrogant? You must think I would make an excellent president judging by your earlier choices!

Stephen Barnard
SB
Stephen Barnard
2 months ago

But if you agree with him but cannot vote for him, then YOU are part of the problem…

Andy Leeser
JS
Andy Leeser
2 months ago

Sullivan still has not got Trump in perspective. Trump is a lot of bad things but he hasn’t launched spurious legal suits against his political opponents, falsely invoked the spectre of facism against his opponent, made false accusations about Russian interference in elections, supported mass rioting and destruction or suppressed his sons dodgy laptop to save his own skin. By the abysmal standards of the day, and the actual evidence, Trump is a relative saint.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy Leeser

Like the civil suit where it was proven that Trump sexually assaulted E Jean Carroll and a jury ordered him to her $83 million in damages?
Does sexual assault make Trump a saint for you?

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
2 months ago

It was not ‘proven’. It was alleged, based on flimsy testimony of something that presumably happened decades ago. Another Kavanaugh case, of a woman appearing out of the woodwork, and claiming that you had assaulted her 20+ years ago. Impossible to disprove.

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

So all those court judgements didn’t actually happen? That was all a figment of our imaginations? And the $83 million that she was awarded – that didn’t happen either?
Or, as seems infinitely more likely, you don’t have the faintest idea of what you are talking about!
Trump has been proven to be a sex criminal and it is going to cost him a LOT!

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
2 months ago

The 83million was not damages. It was defamation and will not be upheld on appeal…and the scale of the damages….insane ….shows just how political the decision was.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

This is hilarious. New York changed its law – for a one-time six-month limited window – so adult sexual assault survivors could file a civil case against an abuser or institution that protected the abuser — no matter when the assault took place. Her lawsuit was funded by Democrat donors and she didn’t need to prove sexual assault to win the case – it was a civil case, not criminal. They actually changed New York law – only temporarily – so Carroll could sue. You can’t make this stuff up

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Jim seems to think that civil judgments don’t count.
Donald Trump has just found out otherwise, to the tune of $83 million and the world knowing (as if we didn’t already) that he is a sexual abuser.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

Donald Trump is a horse’s ass and the American legal system is broken almost beyond repair. He says stupid stuff all the time, and New York judges act like political hacks, rather than judges. I think the judgement was actually 10x higher than what her lawyers asked for. Despite all this, Trump has never been convicted of assault.

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Nobody ever said he has, sport.
But a civil jury found that he committed a sexual assault and he’s going to pay for it, all the more so because he’s too dim to keep his mouth shut about it.
And this is the leader of the conservative movement….God help you.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Not to mention that Roberta Kaplan, Jean Carroll’s attorney, is the same person who represented Christine Ford in her fictitious testimony against Brett Kavanaugh.

Lisa Letendre
LL
Lisa Letendre
2 months ago

Well said.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
2 months ago

‘Proven’? She couldn’t say where, what year, occasion…no witnesses, no diary entries……And the damages were insane and were for defamation…..And if you saw Carroll’s subsequent behaviour on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow, it’s clear that she’s either mentally ill or a liar. She’s claimed rape against 7 people in the past

Lisa Letendre
LL
Lisa Letendre
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy Leeser

Why is there this need to see Trump as some sort of victim. He supported and spured on the insurrection of Capitol Hill where people died. If it had been the other way round and a Democrat had acted the way he did, the Republicans would have had a field day! Look at what happened when Clinton lied about getting a hand job. The Republicans would not let it go! Oh but when Trump is accused of rape, his supporters think it’s part of some elaborate witch hunt.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Lisa Letendre

You can think Trump is gross and creepy, and still believe he’s been targeted by politically driven law fare. New York legislators literally changed state law – for only six months of course – so Carroll could sue Trump, a case financed by Democrat donors. Ya, this isn’t weird at all. Trump will likely lose a $300 mill judgment for overestimating his property, even though he repaid the loan and the bank didn’t file a complaint. The financial times did some research, and could not find a similar incidence of this in New York in 71 years

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Its called fraud, bub.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

If you can’t acknowledge that this is politicial lawfare you’re just another garden variety Democrat foot soldier, incapable of independent thought. That’s your epitaph – I do want I’m told and I think what I’m told. Meh

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Why do you think Donald Trump is above the law? Is he your king now?

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

I’ve said it a thousand times – I do not like Trump. He’s an obnoxious boor. Like all loyal Dem foot soldiers, you are incapable of independent thought – must hate Trump. He’s a threat democracy, a racist homophobe blah blah blah. Intellectual laziness to the nth degree.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago

How humiliating is it for you to have as your hero a laughable caricature of a man? Do you people really believe that he is a good businessman? You can’t be that stupid, can you? Do you really believe that he is a christian? Or that he hasn’t paid for dozens of abortions over the years?

Andy Leeser
JS
Andy Leeser
2 months ago

Yes. It’s much easier to argue against a position that suits you, rather than the one actually presented. Silly person.

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy Leeser

I stated facts which I note with interest that you have not tried to refute.
Not sure what your word salad was supposed to mean. But I’m long past expecting any sense from Trump cultists…

jam sandwich
JS
jam sandwich
2 months ago

You need help. Good luck with finding it.

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  jam sandwich

Imagine worshipping Donald Trump but thinking someone else needs help?!?!? Amazing!

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
2 months ago

I did not note a single fact in your previous comment.

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

Why don’t you answer the questions, Petey?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Ummm. CS, I mentioned nothing about religion or belief. Have no idea what Trump believes about God or anything else relating to religion. (And frankly, don’t care). I also don’t recall any mention of abortion in my comment.
As far as what type of businessman Trump may be, the adjective I selected was “successful”, not “good”. There was a reason for that, by the way.
I believe the measure our culture currently uses to determine “success” (not “goodness”) is how much $$ a person either accumulates for themselves or enables others to enjoy. Trump appears to fall into the first category – his business practices may have benefited others, but they definitely were beneficial to him and his family. In those terms, Trump qualifies as a “successful businessman”.
A suggestion – leave your bias at the door and practice reading what others actually wrote. You might discover other viewpoints that may surprise you or cause you to view something in a different way.
Just saying. . . .

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I suggest you try paying a bit more attention about who is replying to whom before making an even bigger fool of yourself!

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
2 months ago

How disappointing not to get 20 down votes; You need to try harder, my friend.

Shrunken Genepool
SG
Shrunken Genepool
2 months ago

It’s astonishing to hear this guy railing about constitutionality when the other side have been pursuing corrupt law fare on multiple fronts for years – against Trump, against Catholics, against covid dissenters….Just bizarre. Truly deranged….

Zirrus VanDevere
ZV
Zirrus VanDevere
2 months ago

I’m an American and found this fairly interesting, Sullivan does seem to contradict himself a lot, which is why I’ve stopped listening to his podcast. The only problem I had with anything Freddie said was “half of America voted for him”, which is demonstrably false. Half of the people who bothered to vote, perhaps, but that’s a different creature. Many Americans can see how bought/sold/rigged/manipulated the entire government is, and didn’t want Trump OR Biden… and are frankly disgusted that these will be our choices again

Carlos Danger
CD
Carlos Danger
2 months ago

Who would you prefer over both Donald Trump and Joe Biden? None of the other candidates, Democrat or Republican, appeal to me more than Donald Trump. I’d vote for several of them over Joe Biden.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

And this Sullivan guy says he doesn’t suffer from TDS.
Mr. Sullivan, you are delusional. Yes Trump has a big ego – what successful businessman doesn’t ? Yes, he’s not really a leader – what does that say about the choices our political parties have provided to the American electorate? Yes, he proved to be far too easy to manipulate (covid theatre) and clueless as the swamp ran rings around him in 2020 – by then they knew exactly how to handle him. But Trump is not dictator material and if you listened to what he said without your preconceived opinions getting in the way, you would know that.
(ps: i am most definitiely not “maga”. I personally don’t like Donald Trump and I think he’s not an effective leader, but he’s miles better than the current specimen in the Oval Office.)

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

LOL! This clown thinks Donald Trump is a “successful businessman”!!!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Really? So tell me, how many billions are you worth today ?

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Exactly the same amount as Donald Trump!

Lisa Letendre
LL
Lisa Letendre
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

One thing I don’t understand. Why did it take Trump so long to reveal his tax returns? If he is so successful and has such a huge ego, wouldn’t he be rubbing our noses in it? Instead, he hid them away for years. And as someone who lives in Scotland, his golf course is not making all the money he professes. He did not use local labor to build it like he promised.

Mike Smith
MS
Mike Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Lisa Letendre

But did they find anything wrong in his tax returns? As far as I remember, nothing happened. However, Joe Biden’s financial affairs would be way more interesting – lots of ‘10% for the big guy’ in there.

Steve Jolly
SJ
Steve Jolly
2 months ago

There’s an expression in internet/gamer culture. “U Mad Bro”. It’s basically said to make fun of someone’s hyperbolic overreaction to losing, most especially when the loss is a result of some clever and underhanded but not technically against the rules tactics, exploiting some little known aspect of the game or what not. This phrase fits aptly for Andrew Sullivan and a number of other former mainstream Republicans. These Republicans were used to running the party the way they saw fit, whether or not the base actually supported them. They’re free trade globalists just like the establishment Democrats, but they’re anti-woke, pro-fossil fuels, anti-abortion, and they’re not quite as pro-immigration. Just opposing the Democrats on these issues used to be enough to get Republicans elected. Now it’s not. Trump upset their apple cart and they’re mad about it. It’s a bunch of whining from people who got their way all the time without having to answer to the people for far too long, and I have zero sympathy for them. They can either get on the populist bandwagon as most of the Republicans who want to have some kind of future career have already done, or they can go hug trees and discuss microaggressions with the Democrats. American political parties are not monoliths. They’re coalitions. Sullivan and his ilk can pick the red bus or the blue, but either way, they’ll be stuck sitting in the back with the smelly homeless guy. I’m sure they don’t like it, but them’s the breaks.
So Andrew, U MAD BRO?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Trump may be everything he says he is, but what makes his selfish narcissism any worse than any of the rest of them. Good grief, Hillary is far worse than Trump ever was and yet there is no mention of the horrors she helped perpetrate .
Good grief talk about projection. Wake up famous man; they are all like that.
Calling Andrew Sullivan a conservative is like calling Rishi Sunak one.

Steve Cobb
SC
Steve Cobb
2 months ago

Trump will do nothing about the biggest underlying cause of illegal immigration at the southern border: the Drug War. At least El Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele did something.

R.I. Loquitur
RL
R.I. Loquitur
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Cobb

We’ve had the Drug War for 25+ years. It’s only since Biden opened the border that it’s been overrun.

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Cobb

Why do you assume that?

martin logan
ML
martin logan
2 months ago

The rather obvious point is that, this time, Trump won’t be appointing a good team.
He soon realized after 2016 that his cabinet was blocking his every move, in favour of the nation’s larger good. That almost all of them turned against him after 2020 means he is arguably paranoid about anyone with greater intelligence than him–what he calls “The Swamp.”
So this time around, he will only hire sycophants. Most will have their own selfish agendas. The country’s welfare will come last.
So get set for chaos at home, and chaos overseas.
Russia, China, and now the US are all declining.
It’s going to be every man–and every woman–for themselves…

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
2 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

sounds more like a wish list that reasoned analysis.

Mike Smith
MS
Mike Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Swamp is real – it is what controls the incoherent Biden, writes his speeches and empties his nappy.

Alan Rhodes
AR
Alan Rhodes
2 months ago

lol i found this a excellent piece of left wing mental gymnastics im reminded of full metal jacket here is the jelly donut you got it, we are paying for it.(and have done for some time) and now you are paying and all i hear is crying.the sad reality of life is you have to take the rough with the smooth i was anti trump,having read the nonsense then my ex wife 4/5 years ago said look into the facts i did and changed my views 180

JW P
JP
JW P
2 months ago

Andrew’s psychoanalytic take on Trump describes just about every politician I’ve ever seen. Some of them quite successful. He sounds like a man now embarrassed by his former support.

Yalini G
YG
Yalini G
2 months ago

Andrew got wrong what everyone in the mainstream got wrong. They believed the Democrat lies and fraud. They dismissed pro-Trumpers as ‘deplorables’, ‘uneducated’, ‘stupid’ and ‘racist’. Those slurs pretty much stop most people who want to be ‘liked’ in polite society, from exploring the facts about Trump and the criminality and the frauds at the heart of the Global Left which now sadly encompasses our ‘Conservative Party’.
The habit of not thinking for oneself took hold in 2016, when ‘right-thinking people’ of all stripes forgot how loved Trump had been before running against Hillary, including amongst black people. Suddenly these people believed him to be a Hitler with orange skin because that’s what ‘everyone’ around them believed, and it was easier to go along.
The same people bought the Russia hoax and all other hoaxes that marred his Presidency – including the uber-hoax, Covid. It’s no wonder they have been demanding we all impoverish ourselves borrowing billions to hand over to the corrupt tyrant in Ukraine. Shaming people over thinking for themselves has been extremely convenient for the ruling Globalists in the Anglosphere. Europeans are pushing back now, but I notice Brits still stuck in the Brexit debacle and refusing to see what is happening in the EU.
Could this Trump Rehabilitation Syndrome we’re currently seeing lead to him being allowed his win this time? We’ll see. It’s all theatre, as was Biden’s ‘win’ in 2020 – I know US ‘Liberals’ are stupid, but there just aren’t enough of them to have given Biden a win when his decrepit brain can’t string a sentence together and his ‘rallies’ only got a couple of dozen people turning out. If he ‘wins’ it will be because it suits those pulling all our strings.

Jules Anjim
JA
Jules Anjim
2 months ago

Sure, what’s not to like about Donald Trump (apart from him being a daft, useless, charlatan, who will wear the mantle of America’s worst and most abhorrent President for the rest of his uncomprehending life). But sure, he has an admirable flair for folksy rhetoric and confected outrage at a political system that he has taken advantage of to extract oversized financial rewards his entire life. And sure, he is speaking to a very real frustration, and sense of bewilderment and alienation that ordinary people feel in the face of forces they are powerless against.
However, those forces aren’t the current Biden administration. Take away the rise of wokeness and the Inflation Reduction Act, and you still have to contend with the multiple decades of long damage wrought on small towns and small businesses and communities by deregulation, globalization, the primacy of corporations, and the general political & economic sentiment that every aspect of human endeavour is ripe for commodification.
As far as I am aware, and please correct me if I’m wrong assorted lunatics of UnHinged, the Republican party that Donald Trump intends to lead – funded and dominated by globally oriented free market capitalists – have zero intention to take on those forces.
Another four years of Trump as President will continue to disappoint those poor saps who seek retribution through him. All they are doing is enabling a well practised con-artist. That much has been made clear during his interminably stupid administration, and in the years since his loss. A smart person would have just taken the bath, but now these same saps are enthusing about soaking in a longer, slower acid bath as a result of their inability to recognise the abject absurdity of this man and realise they are being played for fools.
But no sympathy should be forthcoming for the knowing fools among them. Dig a deep and wide hole, big enough to contain the unimaginable mass of their stupidity, and fill it with the bodies of every one of Trump’s lunatic acolytes in the Republican Party that sought to suspend America in their futile orbit. Cover this deformed pile of political stupidity with America’s dirtiest coal, and let it burn through a hundred seering summers. Let one and all come to piss on the smouldering bed of ashes, and then let the wind carry their weightless and insignificant remains of dust and scatter them at sea, dispersed by the tides and into the mouths of unsuspecting fish, and into oblivion.

Mike Smith
MS
Mike Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Jules Anjim

And is Joe Biden any better – a man so gaga we don’t know who is actually in charge since old Joe is incapable of thought?

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Incapable of thought yet able to beat your hero, Trump, in a landslide?
Doesn’t say much for your boy, does it slick?

Chauncey Gardiner
CG
Chauncey Gardiner
2 months ago

And, yet, he still anticipates “The end of the rule of law and the end of the American Constitution” were Trump to secure office.”
And yet, we see evidence of the arbitrary, unequal application of the law every day all in the service of Out Democracy™, their Neo-Lib/Neo-Con oligarchy.

Steve White
SW
Steve White
2 months ago

This is just basically a guy who was really wrong about a lot of things right in the middle of the process of coming to terms with how wrong he was. He still has the same fears and appears to be just hedging in every area. He’s also loath to admit how wrong he was and also afraid of what people will say or do to him for shifting his positions. All of which is totally understandable.

William Miller
WM
William Miller
2 months ago

In what sense is Andy a “Conservative Thinker?”

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago

Constitutional government is only as good as the parchment it’s written on. Andrew rails that Donald wants to ignore the Constitution and rule as Dictator Trump. That’s laughable. Not a single word about 535+1+9 smart people who pass and interpret ‘the law’, by lying to “We, The People” about what the document intended. One massive example (there are others)…..”Citizens United” is pure craziness in terms of the Constitution because it continues to empower real election-rigging by the Super PAC’s. Millions upon millions of DT’s supporters want him to END or at least reverse congressional career corruption, the federal government’s “uber-power”, the unconscionable, continual debt creation and the huge bribery industry, all of which are centered in DC. And there is much more…..it is why, we the people, have had enough.

C Yonge
CY
C Yonge
2 months ago

He clearly has TDS

James Kirk
JK
James Kirk
2 months ago

Journalists, “political observers” pah! Why do I think observations on Biden, who is run by some unelected back office, wouldn’t get a fair appraisal? Biden, spectacularly incapable of even running his own bath. Who spent his campaign drooling in his basement, incontinence pants at close hand..
It reminds me of comedian Bill Burr on the topic of Michelle Obama. Just because you go to bed with a person doesn’t mean you take on Presidential qualities by osmosis. Marrying a top footballer doesn’t get you picked for the team.
The world needs Trump if only to stop WW3. Putin and the mullahs of Iran can never second guess him. Like he says ‘they’re coming for you but I’m in the way.’

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  James Kirk

Trump is in Putin’s pocket – has been since day one. And I imagine the mullahs have a pretty good laugh when they think of another Trump presidency.
The man is a clown.
As for Biden, he beat Trump with spectacular ease and will do so again. Don’t listen to everything you hear on Fox News, Jimmy!

James Kirk
JK
James Kirk
2 months ago

Kind of you to support senile dementia but incontinence pants don’t make for leadership.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
2 months ago

Clinton, Pelosi, Biden, scores of other Dem senators and 80% of the MSM declared that Trump, after he won the first election as POTUS , was not a legitimate President .

It was just after Remoaners challenged the result of Brexit.

So called ‘ liberals’ introduced challenging the legitimacy of elections to the West. They are responsible for this sorry mess.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Shaw

Utter fantasy.
You people really do prove me right every single day – you are utter morons with zero grip on reality.

Cathy Carron
CC
Cathy Carron
2 months ago

Sullivan has such a severe case of TDS – he’s not rational, not worth listening to on this subject.

Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger
2 months ago

I think he still has TDS.

J O
J O
2 months ago

‘Andrew Sullivan is one of America’s best known political observers and writers. He is an independent-minded conservative who supported Obama, was a leader of the gay marriage movement, and has since argued forcefully against Donald Trump.’
This dude is not a conservative in any sense of the word. Stop pretending and join the Democrats.

Scott Burson
SB
Scott Burson
2 months ago

Letting China have Taiwan would be a catastrophe for the world. Through hard work and cleverness, Taiwan has made itself essential to the modern semiconductor industry — it has all the most advanced “fabs” (chip fabrication plants).

If China takes Taiwan, one of two things will happen. Either the fabs will be destroyed — remarkably easy to do; they are incredibly delicate — which would set the industry back a decade, stalling progress in smartphones, AI, etc. Or, they won’t be destroyed, and the Chinese will control them; the rest of us will have to buy chips from them, which might not sound so bad until you realize that the CCP will then have the ability to insert security backdoors that will allow them to monitor our communications. That would be even worse than the first scenario.

Whoever gets elected, Taiwan must remain independent.

leonard o'reilly
LO
leonard o'reilly
2 months ago

I lost interest 5 minutes into this interview, but in Sullivan’s Spectator article, he declares that he was wrong to fear Trump’s “authoritarian tendencies” since they “fizzled out in office”. But now he fears, judging by some recent Trump comments, that “he would destroy the rule of law.”
He should take a pill.
He just doesn’t get it. The story here may be apocryphal, but Trump reminds me of a drunken Jackson Pollack allegedly pissing in the fireplace at a Peggy Guggenheim gala. He wants the gathering’s attention, of course, in fact he craves it. But he also wants to express his contempt for them and everything they stand for.
What high society was to a bohemian like Pollack, ‘elite’ society ( media writ large, in this case ) is to a schmuck like Trump. He loves to hate them.
But he wants and needs their attention.
Trolling the media is his way of pissing in the fireplace.

Cantab Man
CM
Cantab Man
2 months ago

In the days that immediately followed Trump’s election in 2016, Ivy-League economists on the Left lamented on television and in print (including one famous Nobel Prize-winning economist on the pages of the New York Times) that we would soon be entering a worldwide economic meltdown/ apocalypse because of Trump…
…instead, Trump presided over the longest economic expansion in American history.
We heard (incessantly) about how the world would be unstable under a ‘warmonger’ Trump Presidency. How dictators would take advantage of his political naivety to create chaos and death…
…instead, dictators around the world didn’t dare provoke Trump’s unpredictable nature on the off-chance that they might find a Soleimani-style hellfire missile landing on their collective heads.
As the chess-pieces of war froze upon the chessboard, Trump became the first President in approximately 50 years to not engage the US in some sort of foreign war somewhere on the planet.
Leaders on the Left also lamented that Trump would replace any retiring Supreme Court Justices with new Justices who would likely uphold the US Constitution (including the concept of equality before the law) instead of usurping constitutional law by enabling progressive ‘oppressor vs oppressed’ initiatives that were in vogue at the time…
…but fast-forward to today, and most Americans thank God for Trump’s Supreme Court selections. The Supreme Court is the last bulwark defending the US Constitution and, therefore, US citizens against progressive DEI initiatives that have devolved into overtly-racist madness – including Hitler-esque anti-semitism – within America’s academic, business and governmental institutions.
Sure, Trump is bombastic. Trump uses hyperbole. Trump is impulsive. Trump often leads his organizations by fear and chaos. And I’d never want Trump as a neighbor or as a family member. But on the big issues of the economy, world peace and national stability, Trump was the far better President when compared with Joe Biden.

Anthony Taylor
AT
Anthony Taylor
2 months ago

Hi everybody. I am one of those lost souls, who found myself recently subscribing to this site, hoping for a more intelligent and nuanced discussion of our shared problems, with the way the world is going right now. I read many different perspectives on politics and where it seems to be headed, but I cannot decide where all this turmoil is going. UnHerd is fairly erudite and good mostly, but the comments section keeps degenerating into slanging matches. This is unhelpful and would benefit from being reined in.
For what it’s worth, I am a Brit who has been living in the US for over 30 years now and I cannot believe how political standards and governance have deteriorated so severely over here. My wife and I are seriously considering spending more time in the UK – just until things here calm down, or not – even though we have multiple family members in the USA. We know we are very fortunate to be able to make this choice.
To me, Donald Trump is simply a bully and bullies, (in my lifetime of experience) are, by definition, unintelligent and cruel people.
Joe Biden seems to be a more decent person, but is way beyond his best-by date and, in his mind, is living in a society and an environment that no longer exists, and he doesn’t seem to get that.
Both the UK and the USA are in a state of dysfunction. Nobody seems to be truly in charge in either country. This is also being replicated somewhat in other countries too. So the takeaway is that governance in general is undergoing a period of radical change globally – therefore conflict and instability will be rampant for some time. I am not optimistic.

Aldo Maccione
AM
Aldo Maccione
2 months ago

He’s not really changed his mind, has he ?
He went from “Trump is a lunatic, who will blow up the world and the US democracy whenever he gets the chance” to “Trump is a lunatic, and this time he will blow up the world and the US democracy whenever he gets a second chance”.

Carol Moore
CM
Carol Moore
2 months ago

Great interview Freddie thankyou

Su Mac
SM
Su Mac
2 months ago

Equity (equality of outcome) is unconstitutional
Supressing citizen’s freedom of speech through media corp censorship alliances is unconstitutional
Unequally applied justice is unconstitutional
Selective outrage. I think he is very conflicted and can’t face the fact that
1. Trump exploits the po-faced literalness of libs
2.Trump says things to provoke/unsettle and establish his “you can’t d#*k with me” credentials. (unwisely maybe)
3. The Dems say the opposite and then do all the stuff he is terrified of!

James Kirk
JK
James Kirk
2 months ago

Reading the comments, in particular CS, so rabidly hysterical he supports a walking corpse, I looked up “successful businessman” Trump’s net worth. Forbes put him at $2.6 billion

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  James Kirk

A walking corpse that beat Trump in a landslide!
And if you believe Trump is worth $2.6bn then you are an even bigger sucker than I thought..

Gordon Arta
GA
Gordon Arta
2 months ago

So Trump is ‘an existential threat’ to the Republic and the Constitution, but if he wins the Presidential election Democrat states will use constitutional tinkering and there will be violence on the streets to overthrow the result. Got it.

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
2 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

The only violence attempting to stop the peaceful transfer of power was from the morons that Trump sent to the capitol while he went home for a cheeseburger.

Michael Layman
Michael Layman
2 months ago

The interview appears to be indicative of the unfounded paranoia about Trump. Trump says what he thinks and always will. One has to be intelligent enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. I would like to hear evidence that Trump damaged the US during his Presidency. Veiled threats not allowed. Villanueva’s comments here sums it up well.