On Sunday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol heralded an "impressive" third-party candidate via Twitter, one who will supposedly rise up to challenge both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the general election. It's exactly the kind of damning #gotcha promise that's been made a thousand different ways since Trump's candidacy was first announced. The anti-Trump movement has certainly made boasts and promises before, but this time around, it's particularly striking because really, seriously, who would've thought that we'd all be hoping that Kristol is right about something?
It's not all that easy to root for Kristol because of the whole neocon thing and being mega wrong with some of his predictions (in 2006, he said that Barack Obama couldn't beat Clinton in a single primary). However, he's in a position where the majority of the #NeverTrump camp would be pretty stoked to see him break that streak. Kristol has been credited with promoting the rise of Sarah Palin, and is often named as a major player in the media's support of the Iraq war, but despite those "highlights" on his notably cringeworthy resume, it's apparent that there's something worse and more terrifying on the horizon (Oh hi, Donald!) than risking trust in the dude described by The Washington Post's Paul Farhi as a "cult figure of wrong." And somehow, it might be enough to unite a few of us — even if it's just a little bit.
Kristol's decision to tweet about a prospective third-party Trump rival on Sunday night provided yet another glimpse at the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's 4chan-worthy rhetoric. Trump's admitted that he tends to respond viciously, quickly, and angrily when he feels like he's being attacked — so it's no surprise that his tweet storm in response to Kristol was hot-tempered and included a score of insults usually reserved for the back of a school bus.
Please don't revoke my #LiberalMediaElite membership here, but watching Kristol roll with those punches and remain infuriatingly cavalier and troll-tastic is actually pretty cool? While it's not a huge, telling moment for Trump — we've seen this rage-dance routine before — it's sort of nice to know that he can still be rattled by people he'd assume to be on his side. It was even more satisfying to watch Kristol's expert trolling continue with a false tone of "concern" lacing his follow-up tweets.
It grew even more heated on Tuesday, when Trump held a press conference, during which he repeatedly called Kristol a "loser." In turn, Kristol tweeted:
Again, this is a moment that I never thought I'd live to see: Me rooting for Kristol in a Twitter pissing contest and not-so-subtly refreshing his page every few hours, hoping to see if another snide dig has appeared. Particularly as we've watched many of Trump's most prominent critics fold, saying with a smile (despite the likely internal turmoil) that they'd support his candidacy in the general election (@ you, Marco Rubio), there's something to be said about the remaining members of the right who aren't afraid to tell Trump he's not their real dad and never will be.
Obviously, there's absolutely no way I'll be supportive of the third-party pick dreamed up by Kristol at his Mitt Romney slumber parties. However, it's somehow a little bit uplifting to see that there are still GOP voices — even prominent ones with a sort of baffling amount of clout — who are not completely resigned to Trump.
Image: Bustle/Caroline Wurtzel