The Atlantic’s David Frum and CNN political commentator sparred bitterly over potential conflicts of interest for Donald Trump, with Frum eventually saying that Trump may be “driving himself” to impeachment because of them.
The exchange happened Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day.”
Frum began the segment by saying that the biggest news from Trump’s interview with the New York Times was not his disavowal of the white nationalist alt-right movement, but rather his “confirmation that he improperly used the office of the presidency to try to enrich himself with his golf course in Scotland.”
Frum was referring to a Times report that Trump asked UK political figure Nigel Farage to oppose offshore wind farms that he believes harm the view from his Scotland golf course. Trump did not deny the conversation in the Times interview, and said the president can’t have a conflict of interest.
“These aren’t conflicts, by the way,” Frum said. “These are abuses of power.”
“This is the new version of the Never Trumpers here,” Lord responded. “I mean, that’s really all this is.”
“It’s called integrity in government,” Frum shot back.
“Right, so when the Kennedy family didn’t give up the merchandise mart when John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, there was a massive conflict of interest throughout the Kennedy administration …” Lord said before being interrupted.
“This is today. We have abuses today,” Frum replied.
“Look, there’s no question this is going to be unconventional,” Lord said later. “There’s no question. But, you know, every time Donald Trump breathes, David is apparently intent on saying he is committing a conflict of interest and he should be what — impeached? I mean, this is where this is going. I mean, these are the Never Trumpers. Let’s just be candid about it. The American people have litigated this issue.”
“There are prophylactics to protect this president from the impeachment to which he may be driving himself,” Frum said later in the segment, citing a bill that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns.
Lord laughed and shook his head.