National Review reporter Charles Cooke appeared on the Fox News Channel Thursday night and confronted host Sean Hannity and guest Ann Coulter about their apparent support for Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.
“I am just astonished by the collective insanity that seems to have marked the conservative movement over the last month,” Cooke said, reacting to Hannity saying Trump’s plan to have Mexico pay for a border wall “makes sense.”
“What’s astonishing about it?” Hannity interjected. “I have been saying secure the border for years and years and years.”
“No, no — I don’t mean secure the border. I mean that Donald Trump, who has put forth no plan whatsoever except to pretend that Mexico is going to pay for a wall, is being taken seriously,” Cooke responded.
“Excuse me! That’s not true. What you’re saying is not true,” Hannity shot back. “He said that he would build a wall. He said he would build it expeditiously. He said he would help get Mexico to pay for it. He would either force them through not giving them aid or tariffs. That’s a specific plan.”
Cooke wasn’t convinced.
“I think what the objections are is that you have a man in the Republican debate who praises single-payer. You have a man still talking about funding Planned Parenthood. You have a man who has flip-flopped perhaps on the wealth tax and on gun control. A man, who on any other circumstances, would have been laughed at through the primary,” the National Review reporter contended.
Coulter said that Cooke’s examples weren’t “really true,” calling them an “exaggeration of his earlier positions.”
“He seems very clear to me and consistency, I don’t think voters go out and think, ‘Well, he’s been consistent for 20 years on this.’ He has certainly been consistent on caring about illegal immigration. He has long before now. It isn’t a flip-flop on Planned Parenthood. He’s not a politician. He’s not familiar with all the deceptive with the ways Planned Parenthood will sneak through funding for abortion. And so when he said, look, I’ll fund the other things Planned Parenthood does but I wouldn’t fund the abortion part, people pointed out well they just segregate the funds. He said, OK fine. If they do any abortions no funding for Planned Parenthood. That isn’t inconsistent, that is a slight change to a position,” Coulter said.
“Hold on, hold on,” Cooke said. “First of all, it’s not a slight change when you go from being pro-choice to being pro-life when you run in the primary.”
“But he actually changed his mind this week,” the National Review reporter continued. “He said on this show … that he was fine with the progressive income tax. … The day before he suggested was in favor of a flat tax. Literally 24 hours before. He’s making it up as he goes along and we are all falling it for some reason.”
Coulter continued defending Trump, noting she thinks people are tired of politics as usual.
“That’s certainly one way of putting it, Ann. That’s certainly one way of putting it,” Cooke responded. “What I’m talking about is a man who decided a few moments ago that he wanted to be a Republican.”
Coulter said that Trump has been a Republican since 1988 and perviously spoke at the GOP convention. Cooke countered that Trump had “no Republican positions” and “gave the Democrats a bunch of money.”
“He’s pro-gun,” Coulter claimed. “As far as I know, he’s never been anti-gun.”
“Hold on! Hold on! Is pro-assault weapons ban now pro-gun?” Cooke asked. “He was in favor, on the record, of an assault records ban. Is that now pro-gun?”
Coulter thought for a second, then replied, “No, but a lot of people — so were Republicans in Congress. So was John Kasich. Why aren’t you all denouncing John Kasich?”
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: