Trump Is No Conservative, Says Conservative Pundit Glenn Beck

Trump Is No Conservative, Says Conservative Pundit Glenn Beck

3:05pm Aug 24, 2015

The rise of Donald Trump as a Republican presidential candidate has surprised many pundits, but not conservative commentator Glenn Beck.

Trump has widened his lead over other Republican presidential candidates in public opinion polls. Other non-professional politicians, including Dr. Ben Carson, a brain surgeon, and Carly Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett-Packard, have also shot ahead of politicians in the polls.

Voters are angry, and they "want somebody just to say it the way they think it — especially if they say it in a non-politically correct way," Beck says.

Beck, the broadcaster and author, is considered one of the most influential — and loudest — voices in American conservatism. Formerly with Fox News, Beck now hosts a daily radio program and founder of The Blaze, a cable and Internet network. His most recent book is It Is About Islam.

But Beck tells NPR's Scott Simon that he doesn't support Trump, and doesn't think he is a true conservative.

"It's hard to say you espouse conservative principals and small-government principals when you are saying that you think [the] Canadian health care system works and is wonderful," he says.


Interview Highlights

On Trump's appeal

He is not a politician. He is saying the populist things right now. I think what's happening with Bernie Sanders with the left is the same thing that's happening with Donald Trump, and that is ... they want somebody just to say it the way they think it — especially if they say it in a non-politically correct way.

On whether Trump is conservative

I don't think he is; I haven't heard him talk about the Constitution or small government. It's hard to say you espouse conservative principals and small-government principals when you are saying that you think [the] Canadian health care system works and is wonderful.

On Trump's high approval ratings among conservative talk radio listeners

I have lots of listeners who say I'm wrong on this, but that's OK ...

But that's OK, I speak my mind and my opinion is my opinion. Nothing more and nothing less.

I look for a man of integrity, humility, who is rooted in the Constitution. Because if you root yourself in the Constitution, we can't go too far left and we can't go too far right. We are held by principles we all used to declare we found self evident.

On the state of American politics

This is saying something, coming from Glenn Beck, I think, for a lot of people who view Glenn Beck as the clown or the monkey on TV, but we have a real, serious issue with civility. As long as we're civil, I think debate, vigorous debate, is good for everyone.

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Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This summer, the lead story and surprise of the 2016 presidential campaign has been the rise of Donald Trump, who's widened his lead over other Republican presidential candidates in public opinion polls. But other non-professional politicians, including Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett-Packard, have also shot ahead of politicians in the polls. Glenn Beck, the broadcaster and author, is considered one of the most influential and loudest voices in American conservatism. He hosts a daily radio program. He's a digital entrepreneur and founder of the Blaze, a cable and Internet network. His most recent book is "It Is About Islam." Glenn Beck joins us now. Thank you very much for being with us.

GLENN BECK: You bet.

SIMON: You've been critical of Donald Trump. Why do you think people like him?

BECK: He is not a politician. He is saying the populist things right now. I think what's happening with Bernie Sanders with the left is the same thing that's happening with Donald Trump, and that is they want somebody just to say it the way they think it, especially if they say it in a non-politically correct way.

SIMON: I note you said populist, not conservative. He's not a conservative, according to you?

BECK: I don't think he is. I haven't heard him talk about the Constitution or small government. It's hard to say you espouse conservative principals and small-government principals when you are saying that you think Canadian health care system works and it's wonderful.

SIMON: An NBC Wall Street Journal poll shows that Mr. Trump has a very high favorability rating among conservative talk radio listeners. Do you have listeners that say to you you're wrong about this?

BECK: (Laughter) Not yet. I have lots of listeners who say that I'm wrong on this, but that's OK. I speak my mind, and my opinion is my opinion, nothing more and nothing less. I look for a man of integrity, humility, who is rooted in the Constitution - because if you root yourself in the Constitution, we can't go too far left, and we can go too far right. We are held by principles we all used to declare we found self-evident.

SIMON: Do you have any sense of rivalry with Donald Trump?

BECK: (Laughter) In what way? I don't...

SIMON: You know, favored for the mind and hearts of conservatives.

BECK: No, I've made my place, and I'm more than fine with riding off into the sunset, if that's what it means. I have no sense of rivalry with Donald Trump.

SIMON: Is he right or wrong on immigration?

BECK: I don't think he's anti-immigrant or anti-Mexican or Hispanic in any way. You know, this is something that I talk about on Fox. You know, if the pendulum swings too far left, at some point it will swing really far right. And unless you have a system of constitutional safeguards, you can get a demagogue in, somebody who can just, through the power of their personality, move people. And desperate people start to move in ways that they would never move before.

SIMON: Do you have a concern that all this debate will wind up insulting Hispanic voters?

BECK: No, I don't. I don't. I had a conversation with Sean Hannity this week, who's a big Trump supporter. And, you know, I said, my biggest problem - and this is saying something, coming from Glenn Beck, I think, for a lot of people who view Glenn Beck as the clown or the monkey on TV - but we have a real serious issue with civility. And as long we're civil, I think debate, vigorous debate, is good for everyone.

SIMON: Glenn Beck, thank you for being with us.

BECK: You bet. Thank you.

SIMON: Glenn Beck, his Never Again is Now rally to end genocidal attacks in the Middle East will be held next weekend in Birmingham, Ala. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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