New York Times (Opinion)
By Francis Clines
January 14, 2016
In one of his early flirtations with politics, Donald Trump took dead aim at a popular right-wing politician he denounced as a “neo-Nazi” and appealing to the “wacko vote” — Pat Buchanan, a conservative ideologue whose campaign for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination was laced with harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and other bombastic foretastes of Mr. Trump’s own run this year.
Back then, Mr. Trump accused Mr. Buchanan of “many egregious examples of intolerance.” “He has systematically bashed Blacks, Mexicans and Gays,” said Mr. Trump, who of course launched his own campaign this year with a searing denunciation of Mexican immigrants as rapists. He has gained momentum darkly warning that national security is at risk unless Muslim refugees are delayed from entering the country.
In the strange churn of politics, Mr. Buchanan has reappeared this year on the national scene offering the highest praise of Mr. Trump, relishing “the catbird seat in which The Donald sits.” “Secure the border, send illegal immigrants back,” Mr. Buchanan wrote approvingly of Mr. Trump’s promises on his website, speaking as a prophet who warned years ago of “the pervasive presence of illegal immigrants.”
“A nationalist, and a reluctant interventionist, if U.S. interests are not imperiled, Trump offers a dramatic contrast to the neocons and Hillary Clinton,” advises Mr. Buchanan, a White House strategist for three Republican presidents. His views have often been controversial, as when he cast doubt on aspects of the Holocaust and said that in World War II Hitler initially presented no serious threat to the United States. “Look, he’s a Hitler lover,” Mr. Trump declared without qualification in 1999, describing Mr. Buchanan as the candidate of the “really staunch right wacko vote.”
Any lingering hard feelings, Mr. Buchanan? “Not to put too fine a point on it, the revolution is at hand,” Mr. Buchanan rather happily told The Washington Post this week. He echoed his own campaign days driving a populist, anti-establishment movement of what he called “pitchfork patriots.” They helped him storm into New Hampshire and win the G.O.P. primary in 1996 before his candidacy died and he faded as a firebrand.
Since then, Mr. Buchanan’s views have not changed at all. But Mr. Trump’s view of Mr. Buchanan has. “Way to go Pat, way ahead of your time,” Mr. Trump tweeted after another helping of praise from Mr. Buchanan.
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