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Jonah Goldberg: Trump's War on Political Correctness 'Is Just a Fiction'

WASHINGTON, DC — In a panel on Donald Trump and conservatism, National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg attacked the popular image of the Republican nominee as a crusader against political correctness. He argued that Trump refuses to allow political correctness to apply to him, but he is more than happy to use it on his enemies.

"This idea that Donald Trump is against political correctness is just a fiction," declared Goldberg, who also serves as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. Trump, he argued, is "against being held accountable to political correctness for himself, but he is delighted to use the exact same bullying tropes of political correctness against other people."

Goldberg recounted how the Republican nominee used political correctness to attack him. "He tried to get me fired from National Review, saying I was insulting to women, and that I have to apologize or resign or be fired because I was so insulting to women," the NR editor explained. What did he do to be attacked so? "I said that Donald Trump was staying up late into the night like a teenage girl tweeting, which was A — accurate, and B — accurate," he added, to laughter.

The NR editor also noted the time when Trump attacked former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for a "completely understandable and forgivable gaffe about women's health issues." Bush was speaking about Planned Parenthood, opposing the $500 million the abortion organization receives in federal funding. Rather than passing over the issue, Trump hit Bush on it, "playing politically correct cards."

Goldberg called Trump "a nearest weapon to hand arguer in all things, because he does have no philosophy." The editor claimed the Republican nominee is "just making it up as he goes along, riding a populist wave." Historically, he argued, "populism is a statist [big government] enterprise, built upon group identity politics and grievance, and that is very much what is going on with the Trump campaign, and it's very anti-intellectual."

Because of this lack of ideological grounding and Trump's willingness to use political correctness against his opponents, Goldberg said the Republican nominee is not a conservative. Other panelists argued, however, that Trump is conservative because he would return power to the people.

John Marini, professor of political science at the University of Nevada—Reno and a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, argued that Trump is conservative because he focuses on returning power to the people instead of the elites and he fights the tribalism of political correctness by calling all Americans to stand up for their country.

Marini argued that the American government today has run rampant, surpassing its constitutional limits. Trump, he said, represents returning the government to the hands of the people, and his success depends on his ability to find a common ground beyond politically correct interest groups.

Dr. Larry P. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College and author of the new book Churchill's Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government, delved into some of Trump's writings to bolster the Republican nominee's conservative credentials.

Next Page: Arnn's argument for Trump, and his sparring back and forth with Jonah Goldberg.