For months, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol has been promising to find an independent candidate to challenge Donald Trump. Kristol garnered a little bit more attention this weekend when he tweeted that he had finally found someone:
Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate--an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 29, 2016
On Tuesday we found out that that "impressive" candidate was David French, a senior staff writer from National Review, an Iraq War veteran, and a former ghostwriter for Sarah Palin. NBC reported this afternoon that French is interested in a bid for the White House, but has not yet fully committed to a run.
"Who, exactly, is David French, the ‘Never Trump’ white knight candidate?" asked the Washington Post on Wednesday.
"Meet David French: the random dude off the street that Bill Kristol decided will save America from Trump," Vox.com reported sarcastically.
Kristol himself compared French to the founder of the State of Israel, Theodore Hertzl, in a Tweet Wednesday afternoon: "Here in Israel, reading about possible @DavidAFrench candidacy, thought of Herzl: If you will it, it is no dream."
Here in Israel, reading about possible @DavidAFrench candidacy, thought of Herzl: Im tirtzu, ein zo agada. If you will it, it is no dream.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 1, 2016
There is just one problem, in an interview earlier this year, French said that he could see himself voting for Donald Trump.
French joined HuffPost Live on Janurary 22 to discuss his magazine's lead article "Against Trump" and make his case against the GOP frontrunner. At that stage in the election (before the Iowa caucus), Trump had not won anything yet, but French conceded that if Trump actually did win the Republican nomination contest, he would support him.
"What do you do if Donald Trump does indeed win the nomination?" HuffPost asked French.
"What do I do?" replied French. "I vote for Donald Trump."
"I'm not one of these... conservatives who said, 'I'm just going to take my ball and go home,'" French continued. "As many concerns as I have about many of [Trump's] positions, he is not in the same league as a Hillary Clinton, who I believe should be indicted before the election."
Transcript of 13:30-14:30 in the above video.
DAVID FRENCH: When I'm talking about Trump, I'm talking to my friends and neighbors, people who are justifiably frustrated with the GOP -- not just frustrated, but furious with the GOP. And the argument we are making [in the National Review] is we are totally with you on that fury, and the argument that I've made is we're totally with you on the fury, but try to channel the fury toward the right candidate.
ALYONA MINKOVSKI, HUFFINGTON POST: So what do you do if Donald Trump does indeed win the nomination?
DAVID FRENCH, NATIONAL REVIEW: What do I do? I vote for Donald Trump.
I'm not one of these Republicans who said -- or these conservatives who said, I'm just going to take my ball and go home.
As much as I don't trust that Donald Trump is going to go into office and advance conservative values that he claims to have recently embraced, and as many concerns as I have about many of his other positions, he is not in the same league as a Hillary Clinton, who I believe should be indicted before the election for her mishandling of classified information, or a Bernie Sanders who is a socialist, who is proposing one of the largest government expansions and tax increases in human history, and he is just getting started with his socialist platform. There are huge differences between the party.
This is about the GOP primary in my mind. What do we do in the GOP primary?
Once the GOP primary is over, it is an entirely different political race.
I'm incredibly humbled by and grateful for the many expressions of support -- thank you.— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 1, 2016
All the normal political rules apply. The conventional wisdom has been right. An underdog can't win. Right?— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 1, 2016
I know David French to be an honorable, intelligent and patriotic person. I look forward to following what he has to say.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) June 1, 2016