The Atlantic

The Nationalists Take Washington

Prominent figures from Tucker Carlson to John Bolton gathered at the Ritz-Carlton to declare war on the conservative establishment and lay the groundwork for a new intellectual movement on the right.
Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

It might have been the first-ever nationalist revolt launched from a Ritz-Carlton ballroom. This week, conservative intellectuals and politicos in Washington tucked into plated dinners and sipped from at least four varieties of seltzer at a new gathering, the National Conservatism Conference. In defiance of conservative-movement shibboleths, they applauded new rallying cries: No more worshipping at the altar of free markets at the expense of the middle class. No more endless wars dedicated to slaying perceived monsters overseas. No more shame about saluting the flag, defending borders, and demanding assimilation. “Today,” declared Yoram Hazony, the American-educated Israeli scholar who organized the event, “is our independence day.”

The featured speakers included a fair number of strange bedfellows. Christopher DeMuth, the former longtime head of the American Enterprise Institute, or AEI, who helped the think tank’s free-market, small government, anti-regulation bona fides, was the unofficial chairman of their steering committee; Rusty Reno, , was also closely involved. John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser , shared a stage with Tucker Carlson, the Fox News pundit who has fashioned himself a spokesperson for pro-Trump anti-interventionism, and whose prime-time show has been denigrated by liberal critics as the “white supremacy power hour.”

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