Conservative commentator and Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol is searching for someone to challenge President Trump in the Republican 2020 primaries, but he suggested that if no one steps up, he might just do it himself.
“I’m not going to run, but I think the only circumstances under which I can imagine me or someone like me running . . . would be if no one else runs,” Kristol told Buzzfeed.
So, “I’m not going to run,” but I might run.
According to the Buzzfeed piece:
He wondered hopefully, in the interview, about the availability of Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and James Mattis — three men who were on his 2016 wish list — and of Nikki Haley, who like Mattis ended up taking a job in the Trump administration. Kristol also has kind words for John Kasich, whom he visited recently in Ohio and acknowledged is the Republican most likely to take on Trump, though the governor’s personality and moderate politics have turned off other leaders in Kristol’s neoconservative orbit.
Speaking Wednesday in New Hampshire, Kristol said a challenger was necessary to “force the debate” over the future of the Republican Party.
“I don’t know if a challenger would succeed. In my view, I think it’s important to have one just to force the debate,” Kristol said. “I think if Trump were to lose in 2020 it would allow for someone to step up and say, ‘Well, here’s a different way forward than just kind of trying to redo Trump over the next several years.’”
I’ll tell you what else a serious primary challenge would probably force. A Democratic victory in 2020 following months of attacks on Trump by a fellow Republican that help Democrats make their case, free of charge, while depleting GOP resources.
Here is Kristol with a friend who is perhaps Trump’s most likely challenger.
Very interesting, lively and wide-ranging conversation over dinner here in Columbus with @JohnKasich. What topics did we cover and what conclusions did we draw?
Silentium est aurum. pic.twitter.com/C3rAcmWPCm
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 3, 2018