Why I Left National Review

Victor Davis Hanson

The following is a transcript of Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Dying Citizen, speaking with Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson about why he no longer writes for the National Review. American Greatness is proud that Hanson is now a Distinguished Fellow of the Center for American Greatness and appears regularly on these pages. 

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: I didn’t know much about Donald Trump, I wasn’t a supporter of his in the primaries, but I knew he was going to win. I just knew it, because he was saying things I could not believe. And, you know, we’re going to redo Youngstown, Ohio.

And then he came to California, I talked to a bunch of farmers and asked if he had come here, and did he have the straw in the mouth and the Caterpillar cap.

No, he had this black suit, it was 105 degrees, he had a Queens accent. So I said, in other words, he wasn’t Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, “put you all in chains.” He didn’t change his act. I said he is authentic and he’s representing the middle class, so I thought he had a very good chance.

As far as your other question, yeah, I lost all those friends.


VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: I left the National Review this year after 20 years and I think they were happy to see me leave too.

TUCKER CARLSON: Why did you leave National Review?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Because there were certain issues that would pop up occasionally, and I could predict what the answer was going to be. The Covington kids. I just sensed that before we knew anything, people would come and condemn them. Or the Access Hollywood tape—

TUCKER CARLSON: People at National Review condemned the Covington kids?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: I think there were certain people in the Republican movement, or establishment, who felt it is their duty to internally police their own, and that’s kind of a virtue signal to the Left.

We are just part of your class, we share the same values as you do, and we keep our crazies. And they are not empirical.

You saw it on January 6. We all condemn that buffoonish riot. But within two weeks, I said to myself Ashli Babbitt was shot unarmed and we don’t know anything about the policeman, we don’t know anything about the report. When a policeman shoots somebody unarmed, there are pictures everywhere.

TUCKER CARLSON: No warning, by the way.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: They’re having Officer Sicknik lie in state, but I want to know where is the evidence is that he was killed? He wasn’t killed, he died of a stroke—

TUCKER CARLSON: National Review wasn’t on that?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: No. No. An “armed insurrection.” There were no weapons found on the people they arrested.

They are not even being charged and tried with dispatch. They are sitting in purgatory.

So these issues, I would get angry about, and I would try to convey that anger, but I think . . . a lot of them felt it was their duty as Republican establishmentarians to tell the world they didn’t approve of Donald Trump’s tweets or his crudity.

My message was always: But, it’s good for the middle class.

He’s kind of like a Shane or “Magnificent Seven” or “High Noon,” he’s a gunslinger we hired and we are the townspeople that are impotent and he came in with certain skills. And he started to have success and now we have the luxury of saying we don’t like the fact that he has a six-gun. But he has to ride off into the sunset.

But they didn’t—there were other issues I think they felt were more important, so I think it was a good parting for both of us.

TUCKER CARLSON: What issues did they think were important?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: I don’t know, I think there’s an image that a lot of Republicans have, both in politics and they sort of represent a sober and judicious way of looking at the world, and we are the adults in the room.

And it’s more about a culture than it is an ideology.

The original Republican conservative movement, I thought, was going to go back and look at the Constitution, when Jefferson said it won’t work if you pile up everybody in the cities because they will be subject to mass hysteria. Or de Tocqueville, and you look at certain ideas, I thought that’s what we were.

I thought they would be champions of the middle class, but I don’t think they were. I don’t think they wanted to be.

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8 thoughts on “Why I Left National Review”

  1. I love VDH, I’m glad he parted ways with National Review, I always enjoyed them until President Trump became President. They immediately started attacking him and refused to support his conservative policies. I realized then that they were not friends of true conservatism! They are truly swamp dwellers themselves.They are cowards and care only about getting along with the left and see the true conservative as the enemy!

  2. VDH, I am very happy that you left National Review. That entity has not had a real, honest set of values for some time. You are much too real to align with that group of so-called conservatives.

  3. I fully understand your leaving NR, but I’m worried about two big conservative flagships (NR and Weekly Standard) either shuttering or losing their best people— you are the biggest and most important loss, but also Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg — pretty much the essence of the stars of the Nov 2008 NR Caribbean Cruise. Lowry and McCarthy are pretty much the only ones left. It’s a waste land over there at NR. I knew when George Will, Bill Kristol, and Dubya started dumping on Trump, that the crackup was here. It’s not yet healed, either, unfortunately.

    Congratulations on “The Dying Citizen.” It is incredibly good!

    All the best!

    – Tom Burk

    PS. I met you on that cruise, and you were so nice and gracious. I pray for you and your loved ones and best of luck! Your website is great!

  4. I subscribed to NR for 30 years. When WFB passed I started seeing a slow erosion of the conservative mantra and an effort to reflect a more PC projection of the conservative ideology. It’s too bad as NR was for years the go to source for many if not most conservatives.

  5. The Sinistral Bassist

    I abandoned reading NR years before for many of the same reasons. They’re not interested in accomplishing anything because actually implementing policies would destroy their grift: they can’t fundraise off fearmongering if they’re getting things done

  6. I am just as glad you created this website and post all of your articles here as I am that you left NR because it removed what little temptation I had to visit NR to look for your articles.

    Over the years I’ve stood by and witnessed my favorite conservative writers, for lack of a better word, age-out of their constitutional conservativism and settle into the comforts that they obtained through their writing.

    I always found the pressure to moderate what I say to avoid offending my ever increasing circle of friends disquieting to me because I find I’m not made that way so, my circle of friends gets regularly pruned. I’m happy to know I’m not the only person that that pruning happens to.

  7. Carol Knollmiller

    I also dropped my subscription to NR after reading it voraciously for 30 years and 2 highly stimulating cruises when they started constantly hammering Trump. Why the over the top vituperation, I asked myself? After all, there were real conservative successes under his administration, but no, NR was blinded by (dare I say?) by an un-Christian, irrational hatred. However, I have given them a second chance, for an as yet undetermined time. I feel we need to support an iconic conservative publication and the ultra-smart voices out there, however deluded they might be at the moment. Come back William F. Buckley et al.! But, Victor, don’t bother. You’re becoming iconic all on your own. Such great, yeoman-like work!

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