Fox News’s Bret Baier wants you to think he just might be.
.. Bret Baier, chief political anchor of Fox News, President Trump’s favorite network, insists he isn’t living in some alternate reality. He knows that our current President is louder, cruder, and ruder than Ronald Reagan, “a counterpuncher” from New York far different from his genial Republican predecessor.
.. Right before our conversation, Baier had appeared on the radio with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk-show host who reveres Reagan so much he refers to him as Ronaldus Magnus. Limbaugh waxed on to Baier about “the parallels” between two different men, and Baier agreed. “Exactly,” he said. “One thing you can say is, like Reagan, Trump has changed the paradigm. I mean, the jury’s still out on the end result, but the game changed in the way Washington worked.”
.. Since the start of Trump’s outsider campaign to remake the Republican Party in his own image, his partisans have branded him a Reagan for our times—a brasher and brusquer one, perhaps, but like Reagan in that they were both renegades who fought the party establishment and politically revitalized the G.O.P. with a new coalition of former Democrats like themselves. This is the “heads were exploding then, heads are exploding now” part of Baier’s argument.
.. An establishment figure no less than James Baker, Reagan’s first-term White House chief of staff, has said that Trump’s ascendance reminded him of Reagan’s; he made the remark during a lunch before Nancy Reagan’s funeral, in 2016, as Trump was in the midst of trouncing sixteen other Republicans to take the nomination of a party whose leaders had hardly welcomed him.
.. when they met in the spring of 2016, Baker handed Trump a two-page memo full of advice, which Trump promptly ignored.
- .. “Number one,” Adelman told me, “Reagan was a Republican. Number two:
- Reagan was a conservative and it’s clear Trump is not. Number three:
- Reagan was a very, very decent person…. And number four:
- basically, Reagan was very competent.”
.. Kristol told me the Republican whom President Trump most resembles is not Ronald Reagan, but Richard Nixon. “I would say Trump is more like Nixon, though it’s unfair to Nixon in that Nixon was a more serious person,” Kristol said. “He’s more Nixon than Reagan, but of course a much degraded version of Nixon.”
.. In Republican circles, Reagan’s brand remains as golden as the lettering on Trump Tower. The endless Fox News segments with pictures of Reagan and Trump flashing on screen together certainly give the impression of a well-timed and not particularly subtle image-burnishing campaign.
.. A report in New York magazine that was released before we met claimed that Sean Hannity, the Fox prime-time star, talks to the President on the phone as frequently as several times a day, often at night before they go to bed.