RAW DATA: Patrick Gower interviews 'Never Trump' conservative Kendal Unruh
Watch the full interview on The Nation here.
Patrick Gower: Kendal Unruh, one of the leaders of the Never Trump movement. You tried to stop Donald Trump. You tried out here on this floor to stop Donald Trump. Why? Why did it matter so much to you to stop him becoming the Republican nominee?
Kendal Unruh: Well, because he actually is not a Republican. He only actually registered with our party prior to running for the presidential candidacy, and we actually are conservatives, and we believe what our platform states, and he just simply- None of his policies, whether they’re economic or social policies, they didn’t reflect what it means to be a Republican.
You think he’s a fake?
Well, he’s a conman and a fake, and he came into our party, and what brought him in is what we call open and blanket primaries, and open and blanket primaries allow voters to take advantage of voter-registration laws that allow you to register to vote on the same day or they allow you to actually vote in another party’s primary. So we had millions of voters who were not Republicans – they were Democrats and independents – actually vote for Donald Trump. So the process is you should only have Republicans voting in Republican primaries to select a Republican candidate. That’s common sense.
For people who don’t know, you’re a schoolteacher, a schoolteacher from Colorado. Next minute, you’re leading a movement, essentially, trying to stop this man becoming the most powerful person in the world. How did it happen? What inspired you?
And I will say, honestly, what- being a teacher and understanding how our government works and how, being a constitutional republic, this is part of the process in representative government is what inspired me, because I saw that the system was being ignored, because we’re not a democracy. The founding fathers called that mob rule, they called it tyranny, they called it mobocracy, and they very specifically did not want ‘50 plus one’ deciding the fate of a nation.
What was the turning point for you?
And I will tell you what the turning point was – because I was watching with amusement the fact that Donald Trump was coming in and he was not playing by the rules and he was not being your typical candidate and he was breaking down a lot of establishment walls because he ran as an outsider and promised that he would not be an insider; he has subsequently proved that that was a lie. But when he mocked a reporter with disabilities- Because I had a son who died with disabilities. And what that told me-
You had a-?
Yes. He died at age 7. He was three weeks short of being age 7. And so we had struggled, obviously, through just the ins and outs of the hospitals and just the very challenging and difficult life that it is, and yet a very rewarding life in the sense that you learn life lessons, okay, and one of the life lessons you learn is the universal rule that you don’t pick on people with disabilities, because they’re to be protected and honoured, and as a society, people that have special needs are what teach us how to be human, and if you lose that ability to know what it is to be a human and to have compassion and empathy, we’re nothing more than monsters. And so when he was mocking that reporter, it sent a message to me. It was way more than just a juvenile trick that he was playing that he was just so used to doing. He proved to me that he alone was determining that another human being had less value and less worth.
That moment when he mocked that disabled reporter and the memories of your disabled son turned you to try to stop this man becoming president of the United States?
Well, because it- I mean, there were a lot of things involved, but that was truly- I remember how I felt. I felt so repulsed, and then I felt angry, and then I just made a promise that I was going to do whatever I could to make sure he wasn’t the nominee.
What we saw was division, essentially – you know, your side vs the Trump side. What will happen to the Republican Party now?
Well, the Republican Party has lost its brand. What you guys witnessed here was the death of a party brand, and we have two choices – we can either leave the party or we can fight to get that branding back – because the face of him as the face of our party does not define to the world what being a conservative means. It is the antithesis of what being a conservative means. His economic policies are based on tariffs; we are free trade. He’s for a single-payer health-care system; once again, we are for free trade in health care. He’s not a social conservative. He doesn’t believe in the sanctity of life. He doesn’t believe in traditional marriage. He doesn’t- He defends eminent domain. As Republicans, we know that eminent domain is a legal way to steal somebody’s personal property, and personal property is a cornerstone of America.
So can you get it back? Can you guys get it back? I mean-
It’s going to take a while, and it’s going to take literally gutting it from the inside. These RNC members have got to go. Reince Priebus has got to go, because what you witnessed while you were here-
You’re talking about the Republican management here, aren’t you?
Because what the Republican management, the RNC, did was they made this convention and all these delegates, these grass-roots delegates, 100% irrelevant. The nominating process by which our founding fathers established, that the party established, that allowed for grass-roots people reflecting grass-roots America to choose their president, they now encapsulate it into one package that they control. Anything we do here, they can decide to undo it any given moment, and there’s not a single thing any of us can do about it.
So you’ve got an alliance between Donald Trump and the Republican royalty, essentially.
They made him king. They made themselves king. And he ran as an outsider promising he was not an insider, and he won on that, so he was nothing but a liar and a conman to the millions of people that voted for him, because the very first course of action that he could take, he proved to the world he is a quintessential insider crony capitalist. And they protected a system that garners them a lot of money and a lot of control, and they completely showed the grass-roots conservatives they couldn’t care less about us. So now the grass-roots conservatives are saying, ‘Fine. You’ve showed us that you don’t want us, you’ve taken away our voice, you’ve taken away our votes, so go win without us,’ because they said that they could. Donald Trump said it’s not the Conservative Party, it’s the Republican Party; it’s going to be the Workers’ Party in 10 years. Well, go ahead and try and win the presidency when you have literally shot your base, you know, in the foot, because we’re the ones who go out, and we canvas neighbourhoods. That’s how a candidate gets elected, is the grass roots goes out, and they knock on doors, and they tell their neighbours who’s the best candidate – we can’t lie that Donald Trump is it – and we make the phone calls, and we turn out the vote. And it’s not enough to say, ‘But he’s not Hillary Clinton,’ because they have truly used us and abused us for the last time, and what’s happening right now, being reflected in social media, is mass defection. They’re calling it Brexit from the Republican Party.
Brexit from the Republican Party.
And how does it feel for you – you know, global interest in you – for what you’ve done? You know, people all around the world are looking at you saying, ‘This is the woman who tried to stop Trump.’ How does that make you feel?
I’m a woman who tried to stop Trump, but I was representing tens of hundreds of thousands of people behind me that also did not want him as the face of our party – millions, actually, because 38% of Republicans do not want Donald Trump. 9% of people in America voted for him. All the rest don’t want him.
What will happen if he wins? What will happen to the United States and the world, just quickly now, if Donald Trump wins?
Everybody else outside of this country better be praying very fervently. If you haven’t prayed in the past, now’s a good time to start. So…
Thank you. Thank you very much.
You bet. Thanks for the time. Okay.