The Republican Party was for decades the party of conservative ideas, but longtime conservative columnist and TV commentator George F. Will said the GOP has abandoned those tenets to support President Donald Trump.
“It’s become a cult ― it’s become a cult because of an absence of ideas,” he said Wednesday on MSNBC. “Because they’ve jettisoned the ideas.”
Then he gave one example of how quickly they’ve sold out a once-core principle to appease Trump:
“For years, decades, all the 20th century almost, conservatives said, ‘We’re for free trade.’ Trump said, ‘By the way, you’re not anymore.’ And they said, ‘OK, we’re not for free trade anymore,’ or they pretend to be.”
Instead of free trade, Trump has pulled out of trade agreements and is engaging in trade wars with nations such as China and Mexico.
But Will, author of the new book “The Conservative Sensibility,” said conservatism will survive.
“Conservatism has an enormously long and distinguished pedigree of ideas. It has a momentum into the future given by these ideas,” he said. “And they did not go away and they have not been refuted by the 45th president.”
Will also had a surprising answer when asked which presidential candidate would be best for conservatism: Any of the current Democratic candidates... as long as the Senate remains under Republican control.
“A Republican Senate would virtually block legislative change,” he said. “And it would take the Republican Party away from its current identification with someone who is in temperament and in most policies not conservative.”
See the full conversation above.
Will left the Republican Party in 2016 as the GOP embraced Trump.
“This is not my party,” he said at the time.
He is now listed as “unaffiliated.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.