Author and radio host Mark Levin was a guest on Friday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam. Levin stressed the importance of criticizing President Trump for his apparent collapse on amnesty for DACA illegal aliens, much as President Reagan’s strong supporters were not afraid to criticize him when they felt he was losing focus on his principles.
“I served in the Reagan administration eight years, and I worked to get him elected in ‘76 and ‘80,” Levin recalled. “There were times we felt, some of us, that he was pulling in the wrong direction. There was actually a group of us that would get together – I forget if it was Wednesdays, or whenever it was – to try and figure out what to do about it. We would criticize our president, who we loved dearly.”
“People need to understand something: Everybody is imperfect,” he noted. “We’re imperfect. Our presidents are imperfect. You don’t treat them like deities. If you really want to help your president, you criticize him. It doesn’t mean you trash-mouth him. It doesn’t mean you sabotage him. That’s not what we’re talking about. We want him to succeed.”
“It doesn’t help Donald Trump any more than it would have helped Ronald Reagan to pretend, or paper over fundamentals here, and the fundamental is that the president campaigned on building a wall,” he argued. “Now, it doesn’t have to be brick-and-mortar every step of the way. We got that. We’re not stupid. We understand he can’t put a wall on a river. But it’s supposed to be physical barriers.”
“He also said a couple of weeks ago that he would shut down the government if there’s not wall funding, and I said that he’s figured it out. Reagan shut down the government six times, and he didn’t back off. He wanted that MX missile Trident system, and he insisted on it. He wanted them to cut government spending, and he insisted on it. He went to the American people and he explained to them exactly what he was doing six times,” Levin pointed out.
“Since 1974, the government has been shut down 20 times. It was shut down once in recent years when Cruz did his filibuster on Obamacare. It was never shut down under George W. Bush. For some reason, now we’re all supposed to be scared of a government shutdown. The Republicans talk about a debt crisis, the government will implode – no it won’t! It never has. The Republicans don’t even lose seats after the government shuts down,” he said.
“The only way the President of the United States can get that wall funding is if he’s prepared to stare down his party – and it is his party, by the way. He took over the party, now take damn control over the party – stare down the Democrats, stare down the media, and say: ‘I am not going to continue to fund all these left-wing things like Planned Parenthood and all the rest. I want my wall, and I told the American people, we had a vote. I won the election, and that’s what we’re going to do,’” Levin declared.
“You can’t say that we’re going to give the Democrats what they want, or apparently what Trump wants, which is some form of backdoor amnesty through this DACA nonsense, and then say ‘I’ll get to the wall later.’ That has been tried, and tried, and tried,” he cautioned.
“You know, people say Reagan was for amnesty. Reagan was never for amnesty. He wanted that southern border secured. Let’s get our history straight. He agreed to amnesty for two-point-some-odd million people, but he wanted the southern border secured. What did they do? Exactly the same thing. They got their amnesty, no border security,” he said.
“2007, Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and Bush signed it, to fund over 700 miles of border wall,” Levin continued. “Remember that? And did they fund it? They funded like a few miles. How many more times are we going to put up with this? And the fact that it’s Trump, or if it’s Obama, or if it’s the Republicans, or Democrats – we’re the outsiders. We are the ones who are demanding action here.”
“I think it is a huge mistake, despite what I’ve been hearing all over pseudo-conservative media, I think it is a huge mistake for the president to be cutting deals with two of the most evil politicians ever, and that is Schumer and Pelosi,” he warned.
“I want your audience, and I’ve told my audience, there is some overlap, I want everybody to understand something: if the Democrats take the House, they’re going to impeach Donald Trump. That’s what they’re going to do. So you lie down with these snakes, and these snakes are going to bite you,” he cautioned.
“I think he should move right, not lurch left,” Levin advised. “He should go more and more to the American people. He can give a good speech, and he ought to give a good speech. He ought to explain to the American people exactly why he’s doing what he’s doing. If you’re going to go down – and I’m not saying he is – but if you are, go down fighting. Stand on some of these positions.”
“And then I hear he’s a conservative, he’s not a conservative – we’re not even talking about that. These are promises he made. Conservative, liberal, in between, it doesn’t matter,” he added.
Kassam proposed that President Trump should deal from a position of strength and set a high price for permanent DACA amnesty, demanding not only cooperation from Democrats on border security but on issues such as Obamacare repeal and tax reform. If they refused, Kassam thought it would be easy for Trump to paint them as mindless partisan ideologues.
Levin countered by saying such a strategy might drag a handful of Democrats over to Trump’s side of the argument, adding that even such meager results would be better than the “zero” Democratic support Trump currently enjoys for the bulk of his agenda.
“You’re not going to get anything if you’re not prepared to go, may I say, ‘to the wall’ on this,” Levin punned.
“I don’t care what McConnell thinks, and Ryan – you know, I’ve spent my career on the radio going after McConnell. I don’t need to hear lectures from people about McConnell. I was involved in removing Boehner, only to see him replaced by Paul Ryan,” he sighed.
“And by the way, look behind McConnell. They’re all lined up. It’s like the Pod People. One after another after another, the same RINOs, one after another after another. What does RINO stand for? Republican In Name Only, right? Well, the president needs to be careful, because at some point if he keeps this up, he’s going to be a RINO,” he said.
“And I happen to like this man,” Levin reflected. “I don’t know him well. He’s called me from time to time in the past. I happen to defend him when they come after him with this ‘silent coup’ that I’ve been talking about, where they try to overturn the election results, because what they’re really doing is trashing his voters.”
“And by the way, his voters include constitutional conservatives like me, nationalist/populists – and one day I’ll come back and we’ll have a discussion about that, because I’m going to have to educate people about that, and these other things too. And so there are people who want him to succeed, who don’t necessarily agree with what he’s doing,” he noted.
“But this is a big one. You can’t just close your eyes to this and say, ‘Oh well, we’ll get the wall later.’ Schumer has already said there’s not going to be a wall. So what’s going to stop him? He’s still going to use the filibuster rule, unless we use the ability on the debt ceiling – and he just talked to the president about cutting a deal with Schumer on getting rid of the debt ceiling vote! That would be the biggest disaster of them all, because that means there’s no check,” said Levin.
Levin confessed he was no longer certain how to offer President Trump negative feedback that will produce positive policy changes.
“We had an election, and on this issue I didn’t think there was any dispute, quite frankly,” he said. “I guess what you do is, rather than calling my show, and your show, and every other show, and being apologists, state civilly, politely, but directly that the president is on the wrong road here.”
“He needs to pull back from the Chuck Schumer – Nancy Pelosi fan dance. He needs to really take control of his party. If the party leaders in Congress are not going to work with him, he’s got to start working with other Republicans within the House, and Democrats who are actually conservatives, who actually want him to succeed,” Levin asserted.
“He needs to talk to the American people more often in these speeches, prime-time speeches – which he does very well – and go over the head of the media, as he does with Twitter, but it is better to have a coherent 20-minute speech and explain your position,” he recommended.
“And he must be willing to shut down the government, if that’s what Schumer and Pelosi, his friends, are going to force him to do over big-time matters that he’s promised his voters and the American people he’s going to pursue,” Levin concluded.
Mark Levin’s latest book is Rediscovering Americanism And the Tyranny of Progressivism.
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