How Donald Trump Set Off a Civil War within the right-wing media

Robert Draper in The New York Times:

AnnWhen Trump declared his candidacy in June 2015, the part of his announcement speech that most clearly foreshadowed the campaign to come had to do with immigration. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he told the crowd at Trump Tower. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” The line struck Sykes as awfully familiar when he heard it. A month before, he had run a segment with Ann Coulter, who had just published her 11th book, an anti-immigration screed titled “¡Adios, America!” Sykes was well aware of Coulter’s views, but he was taken aback when she began a riff on Mexican rapists surging into the United States (a subject that takes up an entire chapter of “¡Adios, America!”). “I remember looking at my producer and going, ‘Wow, this is rather extraordinary,’ ” he told me. “When Trump used that line, I instantly recognized it as Ann Coulter’s.”

In fact, Corey Lewandowski had reached out to Coulter for advice in the run-up to Trump’s announcement speech. The address Trump delivered on June 16 bore no resemblance to his prepared text, which contained a mere two sentences about immigration. Instead, he ad-libbed what Coulter today calls “the Mexican rapist speech that won my heart.” When Trump’s remarks provoked fury, Lewandowski called Coulter for backup. Three days later, she went on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” and, amid shrieks of laughter from the audience, predicted that Trump was the Republican candidate most likely to win the presidency. One evening this past March, Trump received Coulter at Mar-a-Lago, his estate-turned-club in Palm Beach. Though in recent years the two had developed a rapport on Twitter, she had met him face to face only once before he declared his candidacy, a lunch date at Trump Tower in 2011. Over lunch, Trump gave Coulter the impression that he had read her books. He also gave her a few items from his wife’s line of costume jewelry and told Coulter, who keeps a house in Palm Beach, that she was welcome to use the pool at Mar-a-Lago anytime.

…Still, she has become the Trump campaign’s most unrepentant brawler. When Khzir Khan, the Pakistani-American father of a U.S. Army captain who was killed in combat in Iraq, spoke critically of Trump at the Democratic National Convention, Coulter wrote on Twitter: “You know what this convention really needed: An angry Muslim with a thick accent like Fareed Zacaria[sic].” That tweet provoked disgust from fellow conservatives, among them Erick Erickson, who tweeted: “What a terrible thing to say about a man whose son died for this country.”

More here.