Presidential races

David French: ‘I’m not running for president’


David French, the National Review writer whom some had identified as a possible independent presidential candidate, says he is not running. 

In a piece published on the National Review on Sunday night, French wrote that “after days of prayer, reflection, and serious study of the possibilities, I am not going to run as an independent candidate for president of the United States.”

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol had been spearheading the effort to recruit an alternative to Donald Trump and had pushed French as an “impressive” candidate who would have “a strong team and a real chance to win.”

French said he “gave it serious thought” but ultimately decided that “given the timing, the best chance for success goes to a person who either is extraordinarily wealthy (or has immediate access to extraordinary wealth) or is a transformational political talent.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my country, and I thank God for the successes I’ve had as a lawyer and a writer, but it is plain to me that I’m not the right person for this effort.”

He added: “I remain against Trump and against Hillary, but I will do all I can where I am.” 

It was a surprise when French, a Tennessee-based conservative lawyer who has little name recognition outside of elite conservative media circles, was floated as the potential independent candidate.

And the head of the Republican National Committee on Thursday dismissed suggestions that he could be a realistic third-party alternative to Donald Trump.

“I don’t know, I don’t really know him,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. “I don’t want to say anything disparaging against the guy, because I don’t know him, and I’m sure he’s a good person.

French praised those who tried to recruit him, calling each person involved “a patriot.” He also hit back at Priebus for saying those involved in the movement were “embarrassing themselves.” 

“But what is more embarrassing? Is it doing your best to defend the nation you love from two people who are unworthy of its highest office?” French asked. “Or is it using your God-given gifts and talents to advance the interests of a man who cares only for himself and who rejects the very values you’ve long claimed to uphold?” 

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