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As A Parody In 1999, Buckley Wrote An Inaugural Address For Trump


Let's hear now from Christopher Buckley. He worked as a speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush during his years as vice president to Ronald Reagan. Buckley is also the author of several political satires, including the novel "Thank You For Smoking."


He joins us via Skype from the Bahamas. Mr. Buckley, thanks for being with us.


MARTIN: You are, of course, the son of William F. Buckley, tremendously influential conservative intellectual, the founder of the National Review. Your dad is often cited as the intellectual father of the modern conservative movement. He was the definition of a conservative elitist to many people. And the election that just happened was, in many ways, a rejection of that. This was about the outsiders. This was about the working class that has felt disenfranchised. Do you think this represents a temporary shift? Is it a rejection of what your dad was about?

BUCKLEY: You may think of my dad as an elitist. I would point out to you that when he ran for mayor of New York in 1965, he polled best in Queens. His constituency, the people who awarded him (laughter) his 13.5 percent vote were cops and firemen, which I think runs a little bit athwart your definition of him as an elitist. He had patrician manners. But my dad was very much a man of the people.

GREENE: Well, this is one of the things, really, that I'm curious to look for as the Trump presidency begins. I mean, a lot of people made a big deal out of the fact that you have this rich man - wealthy man from New York City - drawing a lot of appeal from the working class. But there was one study that they did at Harvard, saying, like, no. If you are working class, if you're hard-working and you care about your families, you admire someone who is wealthy. And it's just going to be interesting to watch where that appeal is as these first days happen.

BUCKLEY: Yes. I think that's true. There's obviously a fascination with wealth. Wasn't there some dreadful television show called "Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous?"

GREENE: Rich and famous. Yeah. Who can forget it?

BUCKLEY: I doubt its greatest viewership was along Park Avenue in New York.

MARTIN: Let me ask you this. Chris Buckley, to interrupt you, we have to mention this, though, because in 1999, you wrote a parody address for Donald Trump as if he had won the presidency.

GREENE: Amazing.

MARTIN: And this is how it starts.

BUCKLEY: (Laughter).

MARTIN: (Reading) This is a great day for me personally. You're very smart to have voted for me because I'm going to do positive things for this country, starting with this mall I'm looking out over.

BUCKLEY: (Laughter).

MARTIN: And we're poking fun. And it is a parody. But there is something about the rhetoric that is very true to who he is. Clearly, this is something you saw coming in some form or another.

BUCKLEY: Well, it took 17 years to come true (laughter). It seemed funny at the time. But here we are. It's morning in America, as we say. And morning is a word that can be spelled two ways.


GREENE: Nice way to put it. And we have many people arriving in Washington this morning, many of them Donald Trump supporters and many of them who plan to be protesting tomorrow. So we might use two different versions of that word. That is the novelist Christopher Buckley, who worked as a speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush when he was vice president. Mr. Buckley, thanks so much for taking the time this morning. We appreciate it.

BUCKLEY: Good to be with you.

MARTIN: Thanks.

BUCKLEY: God bless America.

GREENE: And Rachel, morning in America spelled two different ways really seems to capture...

MARTIN: It's appropriate.

GREENE: This is a moment. We are hearing from people - throngs of people - who are arriving in the mall very excited about this day. And there are a lot of people in Washington and around the country who are very alarmed and very nervous.

MARTIN: Yeah. The country is definitely divided as we watch the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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