New York Times columnist says the ‘Never Trump’ movement is dying

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A protester takes a “selfie” while demonstrating against Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in midtown Manhattan in New York City April 14, 2016.
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Reuters/Mike Segar

  • New York Times columnist David Brooks compares Michael Wolff’s new book to Fox News and President Donald Trump’s own level of rhetoric.
  • He laments what he sees as the blossoming of “lowbrow” anti-Trump politics into the mainstream.
  • Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” has come under fire from Trump himself, as well as journalists who question the accuracy of some of his findings.

For conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, author Michael Wolff is beginning to look like the Never Trump movement’s own version of Fox News host Sean Hannity.

In a newly published op-ed, “The Decline of Anti-Trumpism,” Brooks decries the rise of what he calls “lowbrowism” among President Donald Trump’s critics, and points to Wolff’s bombshell book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” as a sign that the president’s opponents have descended to the level of Trump and his cheerleaders.

“We anti-Trumpers have our lowbrowism, too, mostly on late-night TV. But anti-Trump lowbrowism burst into full bloom with the Wolff book,” Brooks wrote. “The ultimate test of the lowbrow is not whether it challenges you, teaches you or captures the contours of reality; it’s whether you feel an urge to share it on social media.”

Wolff’s book became an overnight hit in the first few days of the new year and has already become a bestseller, fueled a war between Trump and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and spawned a threatening letter from the president. Wolff certainly has his critics though, many of whom have challenged the veracity of some of the claims he makes in “Fire and Fury.” Brooks draws parallels between Wolff’s loose relationship with facts and the president’s own untruthful record.

“Wolff doesn’t pretend to adhere to normal journalistic standards. He happily admits that he’s just tossing out rumors that are too good to check…” he writes. “In every war, nations come to resemble their enemies, so I suppose it’s normal that the anti-Trump movement would come to resemble the pro-Trump movement. But it’s not good.”

Brooks points to an increasingly professional aura around the White House as evidence that the claims in the book are overblown, writing that at times it seems like there are two White Houses – one in the media and one behind the scenes that is pushing its agenda forward. He faults anti-Trumpism’s lowbrowism for fostering the first one.

Read the column in full at The New York Times >