When I first came on the scene, which would have been August 1st of 1988, it took a year or two for — well, it actually didn’t take that long. The first year all kinds of conservative leaders from every walk of life, from academe to politics, to wherever you found them, “Who is this guy?” they said, because I had not networked. I don’t network today. I don’t have a group of people that I’m constantly networking.
I’m a lone wolf. And, as such, nobody’d ever heard of me. And they couldn’t figure that out. I mean, the conservative movement is unique enough that most everybody in it prominent should have been known, and they had no idea who I was, and many of them were hands off for a while, very protective of the movement, understandably so. You don’t want to be infiltrated by a bunch of people who intend to do it harm.
And Phyllis Schlafly was, as I say, extremely demanding. Look, she was never disrespectful. Quite the opposite. She was always welcoming and appreciative, and it was mutual. And I did a number of appearances where she was also in attendance and appearances at her request, but when my mother met Phyllis Schlafly is when Phyllis Schlafly finally decided that I was okay. And my mother became relatively close, for not being in the movement, through mutual friends, and traveled with Phyllis occasionally when she went to Florida for winters over in Naples.
But she was something. She was tough. She was unrelenting. She defined the whole idea of sticking by your principles, standing by them. And, as I say, she did not tolerate anybody halfway. It’s not that she wanted to excommunicate people. She wasn’t exclusionary in any way, shape, manner, or form, it’s just she believed it. And she led and she was insistent that anybody in a prominent role actually be real and not a pretender.
You know, every movement that has a claim in fame has people that want to be part of it because they want personal aggrandizement or fame. She was on the lookout for those kinds of people, and, as long as they were genuine, as long as they were really conservative, as long as they were really interested in advancing the principles, she was fine. But if you weren’t, and if you happened to be a liberal, she was, you know, just as tough and inspirational as anybody in the conservative movement has ever been.
She could be as nice and outgoing and as engaging as anybody you would meet, but, if you riled her up, you knew about it. She was a great role model for a lot of people. She passed away at 92 and has left everyone with her last book and column. Big Trump supporter, big Trump advocate. I think it’s interesting, you know, many in the conservative movement look at Trump as destructive and damaging to the conservative movement, because they don’t believe that he is. And Phyllis was all-in. And nobody will ever challenge Phyllis Schlafly’s conservative credentials. She had her critics. She wasn’t perfect, and she might have people think that she was off the rails here or there a time or two.
But the fact that she was all-in for Trump was inspiring to a lot of people, and she led a lot of people to Trump because of that. And she really did finally decide on this whole establishment versus everybody else alignment, she believed in it, and she thought that the establishment, elites, the ruling class and so forth had many pretenders claiming to be conservatives when it came time to campaign and get votes, but they failed. And it was her opinion they should go. And that’s why she was rabidly pro-Trump.