Sunday, June 12, 2016
Payback Time: Hugh Hewitt Dumps on Donald Trump
Hugh Hewitt multi-tasks in America: practicing lawyer, law professor, radio show host, and political commentator on CNN and MSNBC. Most can do one successfully. Hugh accomplishes four. By way of full disclosure, Professor Hewitt is a colleague and friend on the faculty of the Dale E. Fowler School of Law of Chapman University. Professor Hewitt teaches Constitutional Law, probably a vastly different Constitutional Law than Professor Barack Obama taught at the University of Chicago. Hugh graduated cum laude from Harvard and Order of the Coif from the University of Michigan Law School. He worked as an editorial assistant for Richard Nixon and as the first and founding executive director of the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California. He held several positions in the Reagan Administration, including Assistant White House Counsel and Special Assistant to the Attorney General. He hosts a talk radio show on Salem Radio. I was his guest last year, not on politics, but on the problems facing legal education. His reputation is of a fair host. He treats liberals and conservatives with equal fairness on the show. His shows are based on reasoned discourse rather than histrionics and bombastics. He does not play “Gotcha” on his show. Hugh Hewitt is a staunch conservative. He is by no means a Rhino. He seemingly knows every Republican leader and conservative commentator. His radio show may not have the highest audience among the conservative announcers, but his is one of the “most Listened to.” The Republican candidates flock to his show for interviews. Donald Trump was there four times. Hugh asked Trump about the leaders of the various terrorist groups. He asked Donald Trump on the air on September 3, 2015 a question on foreign policy: to wit, who were the leaders of the Islamic terrorist networks. Donald Trump fumbled the answer, appearing unprepared. He lashed out the next day by calling Hugh Hewitt “a third rate radio broadcaster.” Trump further tweeted on September 5, 2015: “Why would a very low ratings talk show host be doing the next debate @CNN? He is just a third rate ‘gotcha’ guy.” I met with Hugh some time later. If he was seething, he kept it well hidden. Hugh is an eternal optimist, always on the cheery side. He is clued into the leadership of the Party. He has the forum and will to say on the air what others can only at best talk off the record. Donald Trump promised last year to release his tax returns if he ran for President, Hugh asked Donald Trump during the February 25, 2016 debate about releasing the tax returns. Trump’s crabbed response was a personal insult: “First of all, very few people listen to your radio show. That’s the good news. Let me just tell you – which happens to be true. Check the ratings.” Hugh Hewitt said he would support the GOP nominee, including Donald Trump. Hugh changed his mind last Tuesday in light of Trump’s remarks and resulting controversy over Judge Curiel. Hugh Hewitt last Wednesday called for the Republican National Committee to ask Donald Trump to withdraw his candidacy. If not, then the Republican National Convention should adopt rules to Dump Trump. He called the preceding days “The worst 72 hours for the Republicans since 2000 when the George W. Bush DWI was dropped.” He added: “Right now the Republican Party is facing – the plane is headed towards the mountain after the last 72 hours.” The commentator foresees a Democratic landslide election in November if Donald Trump is the nominee. With memories of McGovern 1964 in his mind, Hugh warned “There’s going to be scores of Republican office holders around the United States, in Washington, D.C. and around the states who don’t have jobs.” He added: “We’re going to get killed. We’re going to get killed.” (Senator Goldwater had solid, committed supporters, just as with Trump, but it was a LBJ landslide, giving the Democrats overwhelming control of Congress for 16 more years. He feared the Republicans will lose not only the presidency, but also both the House and Senate. He suggested either a rule requiring a supermajority for the first two ballots, or make the first ballot advisory. He said: “Make the delegates own it. If you are gonna commit suicide and someone is giving you a gun, don’t blame the guy or gal who gave you the gun – blame yourself.” Hugh Hewitt wanted to support Donald Trump. He said “I gave it as long as I could.” Hugh Hewitt openly speaks what others are thinking, but cannot say. Dan Scavino, a senior Trump advisor, responded to Hugh’s commentary, by tweeting: “Assume hater Hugh Hewitt will not be attending @GOP Convention. If he is – the RNC should BAN him from attending.” What goes around, comes around. Donald Trump is still going around hurling insults. It comes around. Hugh Hewitt will be broadcasting from Cleveland at the Convention.