“I think the thing that he has decided – and he decided a long time ago, but now you’re seeing real proof of it – whether he goes small or big, the media’s going to hate him. The Left’s going to hate him. So why not just go big?” Ryun said. “Let’s just go out and do what I said I was going to do.”
“We’re going to put an executive order out there about the wall. We’re going to deal with immigration. We’re going to deal with the pipelines. We’re going to deal with all these things because you know what? Compromise will only embolden his enemies and discourage his friends,” he said of Trump’s strategy.
He described Trump’s full-steam-ahead approach to his first week in office as consistent with what his supporters told skeptical conservatives during the campaign: “Trump is going to be okay. I know he’s not perfect. We know, we understand, that he might not necessarily come from a conservative tradition, but we think, and we believe, we’re pretty sure that if Trump gets in office, A) he’s going to be light years, light years, better than Hillary Clinton, but B) we’re pretty sure – and I knew this, Raheem, because of people he was surrounding himself with – the Don McGahns, the Mike Pences, the Steve Bannons, the Kellyanne Conways.”
“All of these people he was putting around himself, I’m like, ‘This could possibly be one of the most conservative administrations we’ve seen in maybe generations.’ So I feel very, in many ways, validated by this first week, and I think we’re just getting started. I think the best is yet to come,” he said.
Kassam asked about former Breitbart News Daily host Stephen K. Bannon’s comments to the New York Times, in his new capacity as chief White House strategist, that the mainstream media should “be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
“There were some people that were going, ‘I can’t believe he’s saying this. Why is Bannon saying these things?’ And I’m thinking, you know, obviously you know Steve better than me, but I’ve known Steve for years,” Ryun told Kassam. “And so I know what is going on in the back of Steve’s mind, that he’s laying down a marker, and he’s making a point, saying the mainstream media did get it wrong. They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
“He’s telling the media to shut up. The media should just take a step back and go, ‘What are we missing?’ Maybe have a little moment of self-introspection and go, ‘You know, we should get out of New York City. We should get out of the Beltway. We should go actually have conversations with people, and then we might better understand what the heck is going on here,’” he said.
Ryun found some humor in the anguished objections from reporters to Bannon’s critique.
“The Left likes to think of themselves as very open-minded, and intellectually curious, and creative. There is so much groupthink. … God forbid that you should go out and say, ‘I’m going to have a conversation with someone I don’t agree with, and say I need to better understand you,’” he said. “I like to do that all the time and understand, why are you coming from this perspective and this position, and then maybe I’ll get a better understanding to understand what is actually going on.”
“There’s a definite cultural arrogance in the mainstream media, in these intellectuals on what I call the Left Coast, that they really don’t want to have those conversations,” he lamented.
“The other thing, though, that is really interesting, and I think we’re going to see more of this, Raheem, over the last however-many years you want to call it, at least the Obama administration but even before that, it was like it was the death of common sense,” Ryun continued. “And I think what Trump is bringing back, and Bannon, and some of these guys in the administration, what they are wanting to do and what they’re talking about, it’s common sense.”
“There’s no adherence to orthodoxy,” he explained. “Republicanism, globalism, corporatism – we’re just going to go out and have common-sense conversations. We’re going to do what is common-sense solutions for the American people.”
“That’s why I think if they will continue what they’re doing, ignore the media, ignore the Left, keep doing these things, they’re going to get more of the union guys on their team. I think they’re going to make serious inroads into the African American and Hispanic communities,” he predicted, “because guess what? Common-sense solutions for those communities, they’re going to realize we actually care about them, and we have solutions that are going to make their lives better. And we’re just going to start taking and stealing more and more voters from the Democrat Party.”
Kassam turned the conversation to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in Philadelphia on Thursday. Ryun said his first thought on hearing the speech was, “It’s like the adults just walked back into the room. The adults are here now.”
“When she’s saying we have to stand together to prevent the eclipse of the West, of Western civilization, we are finally having adult conversations about what’s at stake here,” he elaborated. “When Obama this summer was going after Brexit and saying to the nation of England, ‘You know what? You’re going to go to the back of the line if you do this. We’re not going to have the relationship. This is going to cost you,’ all of a sudden, things have completely flipped, and Theresa May is saying, ‘I want to stand alongside America.’ Trump is saying, ‘I want to stand alongside England. We are going to stand together against what we know are some of the major issues.’”
“And I love what she was talking about. She’s with America on the same page with regard to Iran, in regards to ISIS, in regard to all of these things that are major threats to Western civilization. This to me is refreshing, where again, adults are in the room now,” he applauded. “We can really talk about what’s happening, and we can have serious solutions because I think we have very serious-minded people who understand what’s taking place – who are not naive, who are going to say we are going to deal with ISIS [and] we’re going to deal with Iran because we understand the implications of what will happen if we don’t.”
Kassam interjected that while he agreed with Ryun’s point about May’s more “adult” approach to these crises, it should also be noted that May campaigned for Remain during the Brexit vote and “presided over the largest wave of mass migration into the United Kingdom that we’ve ever seen in our history.” Also, she increased government Internet surveillance, which does not sit well with her embrace of liberty in Philadelphia, and some of her key staffers referred to President Trump as a “chump” during the campaign.
“How do you think she can make such an about-face so quickly, and should she be trusted?” he asked.
“There’s got to be questions. There’s ‘trust but verify,’” Ryun replied. “I think what’s happening is, people are realizing, you know what? It’s a new era. It’s a new day.”
He said May realizes “England needs the U.S.,” and “the U.S. with Trump in charge is a different beast than Obama.”
“It’s one thing to have all of that rhetoric before Trump’s in the White House. Political reality has probably crashed in upon her, and she’s realizing, ‘I have to re-examine where I’m standing on these issues.’ I think it’s great,” Ryun said.
He noted the media’s conventional wisdom holds that May is making a big gamble by aligning herself with Trump, and he said, “You know what? I think it’s a great gamble.”
“I am encouraged by her saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to stand with Trump.’ Trump’s calling her – it might be premature to say, ‘She’s my Maggie,’ but I think we could have a very interesting relationship,” Ryun said. “Of course, in my perfect world, the Prime Minister of England is Nigel Farage.”
“Not only Theresa May, but there are definitely people in center-right politics – you and I both know them – who were taking shots at Trump that are now saying, ‘Hey, we’ve come around.’ On that level, a much smaller level, I’m willing to say, ‘Okay, you know what? We had strong disagreements just a few months ago, but I’m willing to give you a chance in saying maybe you’ve changed in the way you’re approaching things, and now you should give Trump a chance. You should have believed me months ago, but that’s okay; now we’re in the right place,’” said Ryun.
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