CLEVELAND, Ohio — Billionaire real estate magnate Donald Trump is the 2016 GOP frontrunner despite the efforts of the Fox News Channel to target him in the first debate here in the city in which a year from now the Republican National Committee (RNC) will host the 2016 GOP convention.
Now the question becomes whether a nationally syndicated radio host who thinks Trump doesn’t have the “temperament” to be president — Hugh Hewitt — can be a fair moderator in the next debate.
Hewitt, a nationally syndicated radio host through Salem Communications, will, along with CNN’s Jake Tapper, moderate the next GOP debate on Sept. 16 at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Salem Communications is the same company that owns Red State—whose founder Erick Erickson, a Fox News contributor, chose not to invite Dr. Ben Carson to his gathering of GOP candidates and activists this past weekend in Atlanta and disinvited Trump.
This weekend on Meet The Press in an exchange with host Chuck Todd, Hewitt admitted he doesn’t think Trump can be president of the United States.
“Hugh Hewitt, let me start with you,” Todd asked Hewitt. “Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be president?”
“No, no he doesn’t,” Hewitt replied. “A disappointing part of this debate is it was a 9-10 debate in a 9-11 world. We have the Iran deal coming up, the most consequential deal facing probably the next 30 to 40 years in the world. It got very little attention. The Russian cyber attack on the Pentagon got very little attention.”
“Is that the candidates’ fault or the organizers’ fault?” Todd interjected.
“Well, it’s both,” Hewitt said before blaming Trump for Fox News’ mistakes. “Donald stepped on a lot of important stories. The New York Times has a story on Hillary Clinton’s server. Only Scott Walker brought up Hillary Clinton’s server. So I thought what he did to build the audience, it was enormous, at the same time I wanted a different issue set talked about so the Republican primary voter lost.”
When Hewitt appeared on Morning Joe on MSNBC on Monday morning, he doubled down in his belief that Trump doesn’t have the “temperament” to be president of the United States. During that appearance, Hewitt did criticize the Fox News moderators for in his opinion being “out to embarrass Donald Trump” while not spending enough time talking about important issues.
Host Joe Scarborough later in the segment—before Hewitt doubled down on his anti-Trump comments—noted that “Hugh Hewitt, by the way, has not been positive about Donald Trump.”
“There are a couple things about temperament,” Hewitt said on Scarborough’s show.
I was asked by Chuck Todd on Meet The Press yesterday whether Donald has the temperament to be president. I said no. What I should have said was he doesn’t have the ordinary temperament. Sometimes you have got to be angry. You remember Ronald Reagan in the Nashua Telegraph debate saying ‘I paid for this microphone, Mr. Green.’ But you can’t stay that way. Sometimes you have got to be quiet. Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis, Reagan leaving Reykjavík—you remember that Joe—but other times you have got to be angry. I just think that Donald Trump needs to modulate it a little bit more so that he stays away from personality conflict and tries to bring it back perhaps with the humor. He was on my show last week on Monday. He was very funny. We talked about the nuclear triad. We talked about the wall and immigration, but the fact of the matter is Megyn Kelly is not a winner for him. That is not a good place for him to be right now.
These are hardly the only times where Hewitt has shown himself to be opposed to the candidacy of Donald Trump for president. While he was appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program in late July, Hannity opened a segment with Hewitt by asking: “Hugh, as I know, you’ve been a bit of a critic of Donald Trump.”
“Yeah,” Hewitt agreed.
“I would think knowing you as much as I know you that you understand where this is coming from—that he is speaking his mind, he is politically incorrect, he’s bringing attention to issues in a way that Republicans have been far too weak and timid to deal with,” Hannity said to Hewitt. “I’m sure you get that aspect of it, right?”
“I do, and I was very critical of the comments about Sen. McCain but I will say this and I think it’s true about every one in the race on both sides of the aisle and of all the presidential candidates for the past many years, Donald Trump is the only one about whom it is likely a broadway musical will be made,” Hewitt replied, mocking Trump’s candidacy. “That is what he is. I have never said that before but it occurred to me on vacation—I’ve been on vacation for a couple of weeks. He’s vastly entertaining.”
A moment later, Hewitt predicted that Trump’s overwhelming support among Republicans “won’t last.”
“It won’t last, I don’t think it will last, I’m skeptical of it lasting,” Hewitt said.
On Meet The Press on Sunday, when Hewitt was giving his opinion on the exact same thing, he said “the Trump thing will—as David [Brooks] says, the 20 percent is going to go I think to 10 but the candidates need to keep talking about big issues.”
Todd, the Meet The Press host, got the joke. “Hugh, are you wishing it away?” Todd asked Hewitt.
“No I don’t think so,” Hewitt replied.
In addition to Hewitt’s criticisms of Trump, he has also predicted Republicans will fail in 2016—and that current Democratic frontrunner former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the next president.
“She’s 67,” Hewitt said on Adam Carolla’s podcast back in June. “She’ll be 69 if she wins and I think she will – the presidency.”