“The conservative crack-up started showing the week before Super Tuesday.” That’s what we might say at the end of this primary season, once the Republican reckoning we all assume is coming has taken place.
Until then, here’s what’s clear. Major conservative figures turned on each other over the last couple of days with a candor and disdain that is unusual. It all took place on Twitter. And, in some way or another, it all had to do with Donald Trump.
To start, here are two examples that are getting a lot of attention. It began with this tweet from Mitt Romney, who emerged from relative Twitter silence this week to slam Trump for several issues, including his refusal to disavow the Ku Klux Klan in an interview with CNN:
Over the course of 24 hours, Romney’s tweet become a lightning rod on the right, separating figures like the Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson from National Review’s Jonah Goldberg:
And radio host Laura Ingraham from Republican strategist Rick Wilson, a leading critic of Trump within the GOP:
While we’re counting, here are two more feuds. CNBC’s Larry Kudlow tweeted a story in a way that suggested parallels between Trump and Ronald Reagan, earning the ire of Goldberg and Commentary’s John Podhoretz:
Finally, the big one: author Ann Coulter called out Fox News host Sean Hannity after the New York Times wrote about Marco Rubio’s attempts to convince the conservative media on immigration reform. The article stated that Hannity “became more supportive” of the Gang of 8 bill because of Rubio’s efforts.
While neither Coulter nor Hannity mentioned Trump in their ensuing Twitter fight, it’s clear that it all comes back to Trump through Rubio, his chief establishment rival. Here’s the whole spat, which was finally resolved on Sunday night:
Was everyone just edgy before Super Tuesday? Or is this, say, an emerging rift that could inform how the GOP handles a Trump nomination? Stay tuned.
As a bonus, here’s how some Hannity and Coulter followers reacted to their fight: