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Bill Kristol: A Tacky, Low-Life Con Man

February 19, 2024
Notes
Transcript
The vulgar carnival barker used the holiday weekend to hawk crummy, over-priced sneakers, and compare himself to Navalny. Plus, the House skips town before voting on Ukraine aid, and Haley now declines to say whether she’d vote for Trump. Kristol is back with Tim Miller.
This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:08

    Hello, and welcome to the Bulwark contest. I’m your host Tim Miller. It is Monday. I’m here with Bill Crystal, and, it’s president’s day, but we’re giving you a holiday episode. We’re Bulwark Bill.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:18

    How are you doing?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:19

    I’m fine, Tim. How are you?
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:21

    I’m doing pretty well. All things considered I’m in California and it’s and it’s raining. It’s like an Arctic River. Here, which is not, you know, exactly what you want when you’re coming to Los Angeles. And, you know, I wish that Alexei Navalny was president of Russia and not dead.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:34

    But besides that, I’m doing pretty good. I’m desperate for your insights on the ball. And I know you’ve been talking to egg heads all weekend, but, before we do that, if you wouldn’t mind indulging, just a little report from the idiocracy campaign trail.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:48

    Happy to have that always. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:50

    Yeah. Let’s make sure, in case folks were enjoying their weekend and they missed Donald Trump’s campaign stop this weekend in Philadelphia. Let’s get a couple of those reports. Wow. Lot of emotion There’s a lot of emotion in this room.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:05

    Thank you. Thank you. So so the really nice thing is we have lines and I wanna thank Chase and I wanna thank Alan, but we
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:17

    There was a big win for Trump this weekend. Hours after he launched his new sneaker line and a surprise visit to sneaker Con in Philadelphia, the gold never surrender high tops officially sold out. No where it yet. On if the limited supply of three hundred and ninety nine dollar kicks will be restocked.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:35

    So there you go. You heard the booze and the flushed mixed reviews to Donald Trump’s announcement at SECor Khan followed by the Fox News sputnik report about our former president, Mountain Dew Camacho. You know, from your campaign experience, anything like that, selling branded sneakers, anything like that you can recall from campaign trails past.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:55

    Doesn’t really ring
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:56

    a ball.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:56

    I remember with with vice president Quail in ninety two, we tossed, you know, bush Quail t shirts to the crowd occasionally where we stopped at Waffle houses where our subtle campaign message was that you remember, Bill Clinton Waffles on the issues. So we visited, like, every Waffle house in ten swing states or something in the in the south. But that was kind of the extent of those we gave away for free. We didn’t sell the the bush quail merchandise, the the vice president tossed out. So the sneakers really are seventeen dollar and ninety nine cent sneakers, I think.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:25

    Right? You can buy the gold plated crummy sneakers on, I guess, the crummy. I shouldn’t say that. Just the gold plated high top sneakers, which Trump is selling for three hundred ninety nine dollars. That’s a pretty impressive markup to get your Donald Trump logo on them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:39

    It is beyond belief, but, I mean, he’s such a tacky, low life con man. Right? But as Charlie Sykes like to say, right, was it a clown with a flame thrower still has a flame thrower and can be very dangerous. You know, an incredibly tacky con man can still be I guess, the dangerous leader of a dangerous authoritarian movement. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:58

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:59

    It’s important to just take in the surrealness of it. I the idea that this would be a campaign stop that to that this guy who is, yeah, who is just having to pay hundreds, millions of dollar judgments against him, is now, you know, trying to con people into, you know, a whatever that is, twenty x markup on sneakers and that he’s speaking at a convention. It’s like the kind of thing that Pete Rose would do, you know, after he got kicked out of baseball. Like, the, like, I’m gonna show up at a convention and sign some things to get a little extra scratch for my whiskey. And yet that is the person that is overwhelmingly winning the Republican primary to become the president.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:36

    I do think that that’s rather notable. I mean, that’s certainly unusual.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:40

    It is amazing. And, of course, he’s been a con, on his consumer facing ventures in his forty, fifty years as a con man as opposed to his intribusiness kind of dealings, which is what he got convicted on in New York where he was, you know, lying to a bag, basically. Right? Phosphifying records. But he’s always been, of course, a con man in dealing with normal people and, in fact, taking advantage of them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:01

    I’m here, at least I suppose people know what they’re paying for. You could say whereas Trump University and some of those other things were really.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:06

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:07

    Statish, I think you and I both, I mean, we were involved, right, in trying to publicize the Trump University stuff in twenty sixteen. And for one fleeting moment. I thought, you know what, this could really do a man because this is understandable to people. It’s just a flat out con of you know, people who don’t know better, who don’t know much who are who’s just taking advantage of the of people in a way that’s a little more complicated than gee, he’s running a shady real estate empire or something like that, you know. Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:31

    And, of course, it had no seemed to have no effect at all. Right? So I don’t know. It’s really
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:35

    Well, I do think that maybe hopefully there’s one accidental slip that might have helped Biden, which is we can’t be in a recession if you’re selling four hundred dollar sneakers. So this is where Trump’s hubris is going counter with his talking points because he’s gotta say that they sold out the sneakers you’re selling out four hundred dollars sneakers, we’re living in a time of abundance, not a time of American carnage.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:58

    No, Tim. Those sneakers would have only been three hundred and forty nine dollars. In the trump years. And now they are three hundred and ninety nine dollars thanks to Biden’s inflation. Really?
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:06

    Once again, you’re just trying to cover up the cover up the devastation, the unbelievable damage that Joe Biden has done to our country.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:13

    This is greedflation in action. Okay, Bill. I wanna get all of your thoughts about Navalny. You have a great newsletter this morning, also about the political implications But first, I wanna start. We have this morning, Donald Trump finally, almost three days after the death has put out the statement about the sudden death of Alexine Navalny.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:31

    It said it’s made to be more and more aware of what is happening in our country. It is a slow steady progression with crooked, radical left politicians, prosecutors, and judges leading us down a path to destruction. We are a nation in decline, a failing nation, all caps. Mega twenty twenty four, he sent out another bleat that was, you know, one of those syllogisms, that said Putin is to Navalny as Biden as to Trump. So he compared himself to the martyr and also said that the assassination of Navalny reminds him about how America is failing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:05

    It’s a little bit of a departure from the foreign policy of Azir Canvera?
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:10

    Yeah. I mean, it’s a departure from every decent American president, every honestly decent human being who comments has commented on the Duvaldi death, which, even if you’re not in favor, seemingly of aiding Ukraine or certainly not in favor of the kind of foreign policy, I’d be in favor of people have still said, you know, this is terrible and won’t express sympathy to the family and condemn Putin for jailing and murdering political dissidents who want free speech and, and, and free elections in Russia. So, you don’t have to be, you know, a huge Biden supporter or a neocon internationalist or a lover of Ukraine to say that. But, I mean, Trump really reveals, I mean, unbelievable. He just, you know, vulgar and debased, obviously, compare himself to the novelty.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:52

    No sympathy for the novelty. No expression of sympathy. No expression of disapproval for Putin, no condemnation of Putin. He, I mean, he really is all in for Putin, basically. It’s really startling.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:03

    And this takes us to your newsletter this morning, which talks a little bit more about the domestic political side of this was headlined hanging Putin around Trump’s neck. Let’s talk about that. I mean, I think you pointed out in the newsletter rightly that even in spite of all of the pro prudent propaganda that we have now seen from Tucker and from Trump and on Real America’s voice and all these right wing news outlets. You know, his approval rating is still in America, thirteen percent, and overwhelming opposition to him. Generally these sorts of, you know, the murder of a foreign dissident is not the type of thing that, that flips an American election, but you’re making the that there really is a way to kind of use this moment against Donald Trump politically.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:49

    So talk about that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:50

    It could be a moment if you combine it, of course, with with the innovation of Ukraine, which ran out two years into unbelievably brutal. If you combine it with the New York Times reporting this weekend, which I’m not sure it got a huge pickup, it is pretty astonishing about Putin and planning to put nuclear armed anti satellite weapons into space and and the implications for that, which are really startling in terms of not just war fighting, but also in terms of just disrupting our economy and our society by knocking down satellite, knocking down satellites, and how much that ability to do that would strengthen Putin just as his vague threats about using nuclear weapons have deterred us and others from doing some things we probably should have done to help Ukraine. And then you put those two things together with the murder of an avante not the first god knows decision he’s murdered, but brings it home, I think, the character of of his turity. I wonder whether it could break through. And I wonder if after February twenty fourth, twenty twenty two, after the invasion of Ukraine, where we are in a slightly different world from that post cold war world from ninety two on where foreign policy, allegedly, at least, didn’t matter in elections and probably didn’t accept two thousand four.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:53

    I suppose after nine eleven. I’m old enough to remember the cold war years, and foreign policy did matter. It’s just really worth bringing home how appalling Trump is. I mean, let’s say, I was a Reaganite, and I was for Reagan and against Carter and Reagan against Mandale and Bush against Dukeakas, And we thought those people were too, I don’t know, soft on communists, it wasn’t quite fair. But, you know, the we we thought their policies were not tough enough in dealing with the Soviet Union.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:17

    Walter Mandel and Michael Doukakas, you know, they were for the Soviet dissidents. When Natan Cheransky was imprisoned and then released in February in nineteen eighty six, I’m sure that this is true, that Mandel and Dukeakas were pleased and said so and denounced the fact that he was ever imprisoned, the spectrum was there were policy differences about how to deal with the Soviet Union, but the leader of the other party was not in favor of the Soviet Union. I mean, and I just come back to sort of how astonishing that is about Trump. And in the more dangerous world we live in, how does Trump not pay some price for that and could could not a good campaign and help make them pay a price for that?
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:54

    Appalling is a good word for Trump’s behavior. Yes. But the clownishness, I think this is what kind of ties for me, the sneakers to the more serious message here because, you know, I mean, there is this kind of notion of taking trump seriously, but not literally He gets a pass from people sometimes, like, even if he just does the bare minimum. If his comments about this was just the bare minimum, that’s kind of like, you know, this is wrong and and Putin is terrible and, you know, but, like, it also makes me think about how the deep state’s coming after me. Like, that would still be really gross.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:27

    And bad. Right? But he’s not doing that. Right? Like, he is literally kind of basically siding with Putin in this situation in the middle of the tucker nonsense.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:37

    So we talked about, like, last week, in the middle of the invasion, in the middle of the story about the warheads in the space. And I do wonder if that it’s kind of a way to make this argument the hanging Putin around Trump’s neck in support of just kind of the broader argument to your Wall Street Journal. Republican types that’s like, this is just too crazy. Like, this guy is too fucking crazy. We cannot risk it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:58

    Yeah. That’s a good point to maybe make make the argument not just the sort of solemn foreign policy argument, I guess, I’m making the newsletter this morning, but tie it to the cloud or shit so that it’s both terrible and Unserious, I guess.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:11

    Could you have preposterous?
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:14

    Yeah. It’s both seriously appalling and ridiculously preposterous. Right? Don’t know. It’s a funny combination, but that’s Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:21

    I mean, he is it’s probably why he is an effective demagogue. I guess the flip side of that is one reason he’s gotten away with so much, is the ridiculousness allows people to say it’s just the tweets. Right? It’s just he’s a kind of clownish character, and I don’t to prove of all the things he says, but in in reality, he’s more, you know, he’ll be more serious. And that was twenty sixteen, and to some degree even twenty twenty where could look back to an administration that had Mcmaster and Mattis and Esper and so forth.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:48

    This is where I do think it is different post January sixth, post February twenty fourth twenty twenty two that the the cost we pay for the combination of clownishness and terrible, you know, fro dictator views. Maybe that could be brought home to people more.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:04

    The other side of that coin, you mentioned it. The New York Times reporting with the words, but you’ve kind of been having these conversations. I would curious to pick your brain like, just about the seriousness of the threat from Putin, not the obvious elements of the threat to Ukraine, but the, you know, expansionary nature of that. Right? Like talking about the war heads in space, what else might be coming?
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:24

    Like, what in policy expert world, Like, what what are the feelings right now? I mean, it does feel like there’s been a change for, like, last year where maybe the view of Russia was like, this invasion has been incompetent, and sure that they’re evil and sure that they’re a threat. But, you know, I mean, it’s kind of revealed how pathetic they are. Is there a sense with that new reporting if that’s changing at all?
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:46

    Yeah. I think that combined with the fact that they’ve, you know, stuck it out in Ukraine and made a little advance in the last week and the pressure at home, the disqualifying of this anti Putin presidential candidate who, you know, seemed to be getting a little bit of attention and momentum. Well, I mean, a year ago, people kind of thought, well, maybe it’ll be evident that he will have failed in Ukraine by now. Maybe it’s a lesson, maybe some of the elites turned against Putin and a member of the Frogosin’ to have you say his name, everything in summer, I guess, late summer. And that, you know, there’s evidence of certain weakness.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:16

    But now he seems to be pretty firmly in control in Russia. He seems nice. He’s not going anywhere in Ukraine. And he’s building weapons that would so he wouldn’t use them in what hopes, but but it would give him more blackmail or bargaining power what he does, whatever he wants to do after Ukraine. So I do think there’s been a bit of a shift in sort of the seriousness of the danger.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:38

    A little less cockiness about, well, it’s a declining power. And he, oh, he totally miscalculated. And, you know, maybe there’ll be a a coup next week, which we’ll propose, or you don’t hear that so much anymore.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:51

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    0:14:13

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    0:14:36

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  • Speaker 1
    0:14:56

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  • Speaker 1
    0:15:30

    And, on that account, here’s, here’s president Biden, you know, talking about the house, going on vacation amidst the unrest in Russia. Anything you can do to get ammunition to the Ukrainians without a supplemental from Congress?
  • Speaker 4
    0:15:44

    No. It’s about time step up, don’t you think? Instead of going on a two week vacation? Two weeks. You’re walking away.
  • Speaker 4
    0:15:53

    Two weeks. What are they thinking? My god. This is bizarre. And it’s just reinforcing all the concern and and and almost, I won’t say panic, but real concern about the United States being a reliable ally.
  • Speaker 4
    0:16:12

    This is outrageous.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:15

    Thoughts on both Biden’s message there and whether, you know, the the politics is kind of changing for Johnson on whether he can kind of hold the line on on preventing this from coming up for our vote.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:25

    I mean, the two weeks recess is bad. It was, you know, previously scheduled, I guess, is the defenders of the house will say, but Of course, they’ve now been delaying the passage for this, the Ukraine package for four months, which not only has done real damage on the field. And we’ve seen that recently in reports from Ukraine, but also has done damage in terms of telling the European. So we’re there, and you guys should do more. And so that it’s had a very bad effect.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:48

    And, it’s good that president Biden’s calling it out. Do think enough Republicans are saying at least, of House Republicans are saying we do need to do this one way or the other, that kind of thing. That they’re beginning to they’re putting real pressure on Johnson. Will they really put the real pressure on, though, which is to say, I don’t know, yeah, some version of we’re going to vote against you unless you do this, or we’re gonna sign a discharge petition, you know, vote against you on other things or vote against you as speaker or temporarily defected Hakim Jefferies, and they can speak her for a week or two and let him pass this. I mean, he really I mean, I don’t know, but this is a question where the devonian legal change and that reporting about the space weapons.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:25

    We’ll change this a little bit. I would say still last week there wasn’t enough of a sense of urgency in my opinion about doing this. There’s still a little bit of, well, we’re gonna try to work it out over the next several weeks. We have a government shutdown to think about two of those. So it’s kinda complicated.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:38

    Well, I really hope they come back with a sense of urgency. President Biden, I think, was was good. But, you know, one thing that’s helped, I do think, actually, is Nikki Haley who’s been very good on on Ukraine and, very tough on on this set of issues. And it’s not that she’s gonna be Trump in South Carolina, and it’s not that I suppose that any House republic is supporting Haley but it gotta think it helps a little bit among certain class of Republicans and Republican donors, to sort of legitimate the argument that we just can’t go all the way down the trump path on the set of issues.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:11

    Yeah. I wanna get to the Haley of it all, but just really quick first on that on the funding. It was pretty striking to me. I thought that there was the briefing with Zelensky at the unit conference that JDDance refuses to go to. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:23

    And and the main takeaway from this meeting is what you’re discussing. Like, that there have been real damage to the war effort. This delay has caused like, real on the ground damage to Ukraine’s readiness, etcetera. And Vance doesn’t even show up. And and basically says, I don’t need to hear from him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:40

    I I know what I’ve already known. Right? So, that shows a lack of courage in itself that to me, it’s pretty striking that, like, the strike track that there’s a concerning about the Republican Party that has become among at the voter level that has become sympathetic to this isolationist argument that we shouldn’t do anything in Ukraine at the politician level We got twenty two Republicans center votes. There’s still plenty of people to get this through, and the group of those that are resisting is very small and pretty petulant and petty and like, JD Vance can’t even engage on the on the issues. So I get feels like if Johnson just can bring this up, you know, like the the group of that are opposing it, it’s still pretty weak at least in Washington.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:19

    Yeah. It’s about half the Republicans in in Congress. It’ll probably be about half in the house. But they’ll get three hundred plus votes. I think if if it goes to the floor, which will be good, actually.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:27

    A good signal that to the rest of the world that, you know, we have one and a half responsible political parties in America. I mean, on the JD Vance thing, I’ve been to that, you know, security conference several times, and they have a congressional delegation, which Vance was part of. Centers and and members of the house, and then they have a few hangers on journalists, you know, think tank types and so forth that I’ve been a hanger on a few times. The conference itself is, you know, the tedious. And, I mean, there’s some good speeches and some bad speeches, but you’re sitting in a hall.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:53

    You could be watching it on on the live stream. You don’t have to be there. There’s the mixing of mingling, which if you’re a foreign policy elite type is good, you know, and useful. But the one thing that the members of the delegation, the members of the house and the senators can do that the hangars on can’t do is go to these private meetings with other heads with heads of state or foreign ministers from other countries. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:14

    That’s why you go on the delegation. I mean, that’s that’s the point of being there. Because otherwise, JD Van speak at the conference, he’s just sitting in the hall. Like, he’s an audience for, you know, all the panels. And the fact that he would skip the meeting with Zelensky, he allegedly has concerns about Ukraine.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:28

    He said allegedly has concerns about why we’re not pushing harder first sees fire and why people are continuing to deny. He doesn’t have the nerve to raise them in a meet a private meeting with Zelensky. That’s really pathetic.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:40

    It is. It just shows, like, the weakness, right, of their arguments. To me, what it says is if the, whatever you wanna call it, negotiated peace, whatever words that they’re using now, like, side of this argument was stronger, They would not need to lie so much. Right? They would not need to lie so much about comparing that the American deep state to Putin.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:02

    They would not need to lie so much about state of affairs in the war that would not mean to duck meetings with Zelensky. I do think that it exposes just how really weak their argument is and and reveals the fact that Like, honestly, they’re backslitling. They recognize that voters and conservative media don’t like this, and they’re coming up with post hoc rationalizations. For opposing it. Otherwise, you know, you’d be up for a conversation like that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:27

    Right? You’d want to reveal the weakness of the pro Ukraine funding side. You’d wanna go for that reason.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:33

    Well, and you might wanna I took on Zelensky. I confronted him. You know, right? That’s sort of more normal. You might say what you do if you’re opposed to a policy and you have a chance to speak privately and personally with the the leader of the country whose policy you’re unhappy with, but you’re right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:48

    Like, it’s interesting that he that he ducked that meeting.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:51

    Yeah. For example, I would not turn down a meeting with Donald Trump or someone from his orbit to discuss the election fraud. That I’d be very excited to take that meeting. I would not hide, but can say, oh, well, I already know that Donald Trump’s wrong. Why would I need to meet with him?
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:08

    Back to Haley though. So, you know, we’ve discussed this a little bit that I I do think it’s worth putting a finer point on. Again, here’s a moment where she is speaking the obvious truth. She is sounding like a traditional Republican. She is sounding like a responsible leader.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:24

    I think that is all good and useful, and yet not getting any cover from anyone else in the party. And so this would be the negative. Earlier I was saying, well, maybe all these events happening at the same time put more pressure on Mike Johnson to kinda get this to the floor, and that’s a green shoot The other side of that coin is this feels like it should be a moment for Haley that’s coming up on the South Carolina primary. This is an issue set that’s a good contrast for her. And she’s saying the right things about it, but the environment around it is, again, people are just not stepping up to the plate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:57

    It doesn’t feel like to me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:59

    No. You’re it’s a good point. And if she gets crushed in South Carolina, I suppose it could have a the opposite effect of signaling there’s no there’s only twenty five or thirty five percent support for Haley’s position among primary voters in South Carolina. I mean, thirty five percent is not nothing. And she has stepped up pretty well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:14

    I mean, she now says she’s not she won’t say she’ll so vote for Trump in the general election. I mean, the people like us and, who’ve been, you know, critical, hailey, and and and wished her to be more forthright in staking out the alternative position of Trump and criticizing Trump personally. She’s certainly doing that now, maybe could have done it a little earlier, but she’s doing it And so let’s see if the voters of South Carolina react at all. Again, with the poor voters, not poor voters, but the voters of South Carolina, be nice if they move more towards Haley. But what about all those members of Congress and other Republican big shots and conservative elites?
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:49

    How many of them were saying, you know what? Would be very important? Vote for Haley on Saturday in South Carolina. That would really send a message. I mean, it’s really pathetic that all these senators voted for aid for Ukraine to their credit.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:01

    They they have pretty sound views on it. Could a few of them possibly, like, go to South Carolina and say, hey, I’m senator so and so from from here. And, you know, you may not like me about everything, but I’ve actually voted for Trump twice, and I intend to book from if you win the nomination again, but think it’d be very important to really vote for Nikki Haley. I mean, the total absence of anyone doing that is because they think Trump’s gonna win and they wanna get along with Trump still, etcetera, etcetera, or they just think it’s hopeless or Mitt Romney even who I respect, obviously, who has been good. You know, well, they’ll they’ll just turn off more voters.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:34

    I don’t know about that. I mean, they did all vote for me, Romney, ten years ago. You know, in a general election, it’s not nothing. Right? I I I just the fatalism is very is very bad and and damaging.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:45

    Probably wouldn’t tell if it was just met, but I I think that what you’re saying is, like, you can imagine a world almost feels ridiculous to bring up these sort of counterfactual hypotheticals, but I I do think it’s important. Like, in in in normal times, right, if you go back to twenty twelve. Even twenty sixteen, what Marco did in South Carolina. Right? You have the big event with Nikki and Tim Scott, It would create at least news and attention and pressure and interest if even just you got together five of them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:15

    Know, could you pull together a couple of the Trump National Security people, you know, like Bolton and McMaster and two senators and one Congress per and and Dick Cheney. Whatever. I don’t know. Like, could you get a rally with seven of these people that are all together saying this is important. We need to focus on this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:33

    That would make, I think, it feel less limp. Like, it would make Nikki’s arguments feel less limp. It would force the hand of the media to cover this and take it seriously. I don’t think it would lead her to victory, but I think that it would be a meaningful show of force. That there’s not just total capitulation to the Putin side of the party, and yet that’s just absent.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:54

    Totally. I mean, I say the same thing about some, a lot of young, youngish veterans in Congress, some of the Republican sides, some of the Democratic side. Some of those Republican veterans have been good. Actually on on both on Ukraine and also in condemning the criticisms or Trump’s dismissal of Michael Haley, Nicki’s husband’s service in the where he’s now stationed in in Africa, the heart of Africa, I think, in the South Carolina Nashville guard. One of them could show up in South Carolina and just say, hey, you know, I mean, Greg Whitney’s husband’s doing for the country, and I served, and Donald Trump didn’t incidentally and shouldn’t be disrespectful to those who are serving.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:29

    But, again, there’s been very little of that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:31

    Well, I wanna close with you, head in in the newsletter this morning and the missive from the letters that the free press reported on between sharansky, who you mentioned earlier and and Navalny. And I thought it would be nice to hear in the end just kind of any final thoughts you have about Navalny from a legacy standpoint or, you know, what we’ve learned about this fight that now goes back, god, a half century and some that you’ve been involved in.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:01

    I mean, there’s such moving letters. It’s two letters that only wrote Shorent from the gulag, saying he’d been able to get a copy of Transky’s book fear of no evil. And, how how much spoken to him and it meant to him, and then they have a very, very nice exchange. I mean, Shoreski was such a huge figure for me and and sort of my generation. I hope Nivalli is for, honestly, for for your generation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:25

    And, unfortunately, he’s not out. You know? We we didn’t I don’t know. There’s no prisoner exchange this time, and he’s dead. But I just hope that Steph has not been in vain.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:34

    And I think it’s really up to all of us and the administration on down to normal citizens here to try our best to make sure that it’s not been that his death has not been in vain.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:44

    Yeah. The one thing struck me in the letter from Navalny, you know, is where he talks about how the virus of freedom is far from being eradicated. It’s no longer tens or hundreds as before, but tens and hundreds of thousands who are not scared to speak out for freedom and against the war despite the threats. I hope that it’s true, but you just you see what is happening in Russia, the arrests over the weekend of people that are showing up I think that is such an important element of this, right, is is not getting worn down from being willing to speak out. And the risks that we have here in order to do that are very little.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:21

    And that’s why it’s so frustrating when some of these Republicans refused to do the right thing as compared to the risks faced by people that are speaking out in Russia. To me, that hopefully is the thing that can be taken from this. The legacy that can be take from Navalny, that he did not have to go back to Russia. Right? There were plenty of opportunities to stop speaking out, that that that is really the key element, you know, if, you know, this authoritarianism is gonna be is gonna be overthrown or it’s gonna be combative.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:50

    Yeah. No. I it’s well said. And I I mean, the combination that Navalny showed in the letters and, and, and, otherwise, to have incredible courage and good cheer and kind of such a humor almost about it. And, you know, it is really extraordinary.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:02

    It’s a human thing. And we began with trump and the sneakers. I mean, just as human beings, you know, we should all want people to be like an violently and not like Trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:12

    Understatement of the year. Thank you, Bill. It’s been a wonderful president’s day. Session with you. I will be back tomorrow, and, we’ll be talking next week.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:19

    Thanks, Tim.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:25

    The Secret Podcast is produced by Katie Cooper with audio engineering and editing by Jason Brown.
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