Pat Buchanan On Why He Shares Trump's Ideas On Foreign Policy Pat Buchanan, who twice ran for the Republican presidential nomination, is known for his isolationist streak. He says Donald Trump's success is evidence that there is a revolution going on in America.

Pat Buchanan On Why He Shares Trump's Ideas On Foreign Policy

Pat Buchanan On Why He Shares Trump's Ideas On Foreign Policy

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Pat Buchanan, who twice ran for the Republican presidential nomination, is known for his isolationist streak. He says Donald Trump's success is evidence that there is a revolution going on in America.


In the space of about 24 hours, the Republican field cleared out. First, Ted Cruz suspended his campaign Tuesday night after losing the Indiana primary.


Then last night, John Kasich called it quits.


JOHN KASICH: As I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith, that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life.

INSKEEP: That statement left just one man standing for the Republican Party, Donald Trump. One of his earliest backers is Pat Buchanan.

MARTIN: He was a Republican presidential candidate twice, in 1992, in 1996, and was a third party presidential nominee back in 2000. Pat Buchanan says he actually shares many of Donald Trump's ideas on things like national identity and foreign policy.

PAT BUCHANAN: Were not going to go abroad to try to overthrow dictators whom we don't like if they don't threaten our interests. And we're not going to go abroad to use American military power to try to create ferment in the heart of the Middle East. And it will use American military force when we are threatened.

MARTIN: In some of your own writing, you have pointed to the Iraq War and called it an anomaly of George W. Bush and his foreign policy that doesn't represent conservative values. But I guess I'd take it a step further. I mean, how would a Donald Trump foreign policy differ from Barack Obama's foreign policy?

BUCHANAN: Well, I think Barack Obama has tried to disengage from some of these countries. But he's finding out that we really have gotten ourselves caught in the big muddy, if you will. And the hope is Donald Trump will not remake those blunders. And he will try to extricate us from those wars the way General Eisenhower extricated us from Korea and Richard Nixon extricated us from Vietnam.

MARTIN: Donald Trump said in his foreign policy address that he thinks the U.S. is getting short shrift in its military alliances.

BUCHANAN: It certainly is. Why, 25 years after the end of the Cold War, why is the United States of America still responsible for the defense of a Europe which is four times as populous and probably 10 times as rich as Russia? I mean, why are we in Russia's face when we don't live there? Let these countries do it themselves or let it be left undone.

MARTIN: I want to switch gears and ask about free trade. This is something Donald Trump talk has talked a lot about. He wants to tear up free trade agreements. I mean, there is wide consensus from economists and policymakers for a generation that free trade is good for economic growth.

BUCHANAN: All right, well, let me talk about these economists. For the last 25 years, we have run $12 trillion in trade deficits worldwide and $4 trillion in a trade deficit with China. Who are these economic blockheads who say that's good for the United States?

In the first decade of this century, there were 55,000 American factories lost, and 6 million manufacturing jobs disappeared. Meanwhile, China has become the great manufacturing center of the world.

MARTIN: But the world has changed. Manufacturing has changed.

BUCHANAN: And it's changed for the worse.

MARTIN: Other industries has arisen.

BUCHANAN: It's changed for the worst from our standpoint. That's why Donald Trump's on his way to the nomination.

MARTIN: A decade ago, you wrote in your book, "State Of Emergency," about the issue of immigration. Speaking of the world changing and America changing, you wrote that if we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built. Do you still stand by that statement? And do you think ideas like that resonate?

BUCHANAN: I would amend it. It's the - that period will be reached in 2042 now or 2041. So we're about - what? - 25 years away from the fact where Americans of European descent will be a minority in the United States.

MARTIN: Why do you see that as a problem?

BUCHANAN: Well because I look at Europe. And I look all over the world, and I see peoples everywhere at each other's throats over issues of ethnicity and identity. Again, the United States of America - we have a - we had an enormous success. We had high immigration from 1890 to 1920. Then we had a timeout, where all those folks from Eastern and Southern Europe were assimilated and Americanized.

They learned English. I went to school with the sons and daughters of these folks. And we created a really united country where 97 percent of us spoke English in 1960. Now in half the homes in California, people speak a language other than English in their own homes. Anybody that believes that a country can be maintained that has no ethnic core to it or no linguistic core to it, I believe is naive in the extreme.

MARTIN: But you understand how that language feels very incendiary to many people?

BUCHANAN: I don't care how that language sits with people. My job is not to make people happy; it's to tell the truth as I see it.

MARTIN: Explain to me what having a diverse cultural identity and a diversity of languages - how that undermines the American identity. I think it's important to try to understand why you think that this is such a threat.

BUCHANAN: Well, first is the - it seems that the American people tend to agree with us, does it not?

MARTIN: But what you are laying out is an America that is white, or if not exclusively white...

BUCHANAN: It's an America like the country I grew up in, which was a pretty good country. Eisenhower and Kennedy...

MARTIN: So how do you make that case in 2016?

BUCHANAN: Well, first off, the voters apparently, in the Republican Party, have voted pretty conclusively for Donald Trump. And we're going to find out in the fall whether he has won it with the nation because I think Hillary Clinton will raise the issue that she disagrees with him sharply on this.

MARTIN: You ran for the presidential nomination two times for the Republican Party, and you ran on some of the same themes Donald Trump is running on. You didn't win. You couldn't get the support you needed from the establishment, essentially. What makes you think Donald Trump can?

BUCHANAN: Because he has won the nomination, first. Secondly, because everything I predicted about where we would wind up if we didn't control our border, if we got into more of these crazed trade deals and if we went around the world, you know, trying to play Wyatt Earp. All these things have come to pass. Yeah, we were a little bit ahead of our time. (Laughter) I don't see how you could deny that the time is much closer right now when you see someone like Donald Trump come from nowhere to win the Republican nomination.

MARTIN: Pat Buchanan is a former GOP presidential candidate. He served as an adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan. Mister Buchanan, thank you for your time.

BUCHANAN: Thank you.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.