Will conservative media ever be able to repair the schism created by the Donald Trump phenomenon?
From the first moments of Trump’s campaign, the split was evident. Talkers like Mark Levin and Glenn Beck were repulsed by the billionaire, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh played the fence, and personalities like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter hopped aboard the Trump Train with guns blazing. As Trump came closer to securing the Republican nomination, the schism widened and the NeverTrump movement was born. Suddenly, the longstanding rift within the Republican Party had grown to encompass all of conservatism.
If Monday’s Sean Hannity radio show is any indication, that rift is not going to be repaired after the election, regardless of who wins on November 8. Hannity took aim at Glenn Beck, telling the world that he had “no interest” in a reconciliation after the campaign season was finished.
“Glenn Beck was saying, ‘Oh, we got to all come together after the election’ — I’m not interested in coming together with a bunch of saboteurs,” Hannity said. “I just have no interest in that, and people that are myopic.”
Beck has been one of the NeverTrump movement’s most outspoken and passionate defenders; when his ideal candidate, Ted Cruz, finally endorsed Trump last month, Beck found himself in a philosophical crisis. After grilling Cruz on his radio show, Beck admitted to his audience that he had been wrong about the Texas senator all along, decrying him as a typical calculating politician.
Over the months, Beck has also had some not-so-friendly things to say about conservative pundits like Hannity, who have supported Trump without reservation.
Hannity noted those attacks on Monday, saying he was “sick and tired” of Beck’s arrogant lectures.
“I’ve watched them talk about me, tear apart my monologues for one hour,” Hannity said. “I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. You know, but you know. You live with it. You live with her Supreme Court justices.”
Fired up, Hannity addressed Beck and anyone else who spent the last 12 months attacking Trump.
“You sabotage, you stay home, you help her, and you own her Supreme Court nominees, you own her unvetted refugees, you own radical Islam being empowered because they know she’s weak,” he said. “You own every single thing every new illegal immigrant does in this country. You own a horrible educational system. You own the coal miners that will be fired and the call companies that will be put out of business. You own Obamacare. And I’m standing by it.”
That says it all. The position of the NeverTrumpers went from irritating to unacceptable the moment Trump became the Republican nominee. The best time for reconciliation was in June; the second-best time is now.
After the election? Too late.