By Kevin Kelleher
Updated: June 23, 2018 3:02 PM ET

George Will, a longtime political commentator and staunch defender of the conservative movement, chided the Republican Party, citing the party’s support for Donald Trump in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

On Friday, Will published a column in the Washington Post explaining his view, using the kind of excoriating language his columns are known for. The column, titled “Vote against the GOP this November,” argued that the number of Republicans in Congress “must be substantially reduced.”

Quoting from a variety of works, such as Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons and The Federalist Papers, Will also found caustic words of his own for Republican leaders, notably Ryan. The House Speaker, Will wrote, “sold his soul… for a tax cut” and had become one of “the president’s poodles.”

Although Will has been a vocal critic of President Trump in the past, his statements and actions on Friday surprised many political observers on social media.

In a 2016 speech at a luncheon held by the Federalist Society, Will had previously urged other conservatives not to support Trump as the GOP nominee. “This is not my party,” Will had said, noting that while it was a little too late to find a replacement for him on the ticket, conservatives could “grit their teeth for four years” after making sure that Trump lost.

Will, at the time, said he had switched his voter registration from Republican to “unaffiliated” in the state of Maryland and told the Washington Post, where he writes his column, that he made the change after House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed Trump for the 2020 election.

Will’s exit followed the departure of other notable conservatives from the Republican Party, such as Mary Matalin, a longtime strategist for the party, who left in May 2016. Matalin switched her party affiliation to Libertarian, though she noted that it wasn’t related to Donald Trump. For his part, Will did not say who he would support in 2020.

Will was a contributor to Fox News between 2013 at 2017. In May 2017, he became a political contributor for NBC news and MSNBC. Previously, he served as editor of National Review and wrote a back-page column for Newsweek between 1976 and 2011.

 

This article has been edited from its original version to correct the year George Will left the Republican Party. Will left the party in 2016, not 2018.

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