George Will is no longer a Republican. The famed conservative columnist and commentator has left the party he joined in 1964. Why? In his own words – “I left the party for the same reason I joined it in 1964 when I voted for Barry Goldwater. I joined the party because I was a conservative. I leave it for the same reason – I am a conservative.”
Will chalked up his departure to the ascension of Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee.
“To give you a time line, shortly after Trump became the presumptive nominee, he had a summit meeting with Paul Ryan where they stressed their common principles and their vast shared ground, which is much more important than their differences. I thought that was puzzling doubly so because Paul Ryan still didn’t endorse him,” Will told Fox News.
“After Trump went after the Mexican judge from northern Indiana, then Paul Ryan endorsed him. And I decided that, in fact, this is not my party anymore.”
Trump retaliated by attacking Will on Twitter. “George Will, one of the most overrated political pundits (who lost his way long ago), has left the Republican Party. He’s made many bad calls,” said Trump.
When asked to respond, Will said, “I have no response. Mr. Trump has the gift of being able to say everything he knows in a short tweet. I don’t share that gift.”
Will explained the process. “I changed my registration to unaffiliated 23 days ago. I hardly made an announcement. I just mentioned this in a meeting with the Federalist Society.” He then invoked Ronald Reagan, who was a Democrat before joining the GOP. “So the long and short of it is, as Ronald Reagan said when he changed his party registration, I did not leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me.”