Charles Kesler, a Claremont Institute Senior Fellow and the Editor of the Claremont Review of Books, recently sat down with Norman Podhoretz at his home in New York. In a wide-ranging conversation, excerpted below, the Editor-in-Chief of Commentary for 35 years and one of the founders of neoconservatism revealed his thoughts on Donald Trump and the present American moment—and where it has brought us.
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CRB: […] many of your new set of ex-friends, as you call them, were with you on Iraq and democratization, which explains partly at least, why they are against Trump. You deviated from them, or they deviated from you.
NP: […] I think we’re all in a state of confusion as to what’s going on. Tom Klingenstein has made a brilliant effort to explain it, in terms that haven’t really been used before. He says that our domestic politics has erupted into a kind of war between patriotism and multiculturalism, and he draws out the implications of that war very well. I might put it in different terms—love of America versus hatred of America. But it’s the same idea. We find ourselves in a domestic, or civil, war almost.
CRB: What are [Trump’s] virtues, if you had to enumerate them?
NP: His virtues are the virtues of the street kids of Brooklyn. You don’t back away from a fight and you fight to win. That’s one of the things that the Americans who love him, love him for—that he’s willing to fight, not willing but eager to fight. And that’s the main virtue and all the rest stem from, as Klingenstein says, his love of America. I mean, Trump loves America. He thinks it’s great or could be made great again.
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