- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 22, 2018

She was once globally famous for appearing to challenge then-presidential hopeful Donald Trump on the 2016 campaign trail. That would be Megyn Kelly, who was then a Fox News Channel prime time anchor; the pair were must-see TV that year. Consider that the first GOP presidential debate on Aug. 5, 2016, was hosted by a Fox News team which included Ms. Kelly and drew an unprecedented 24 million viewers — emerging as the highest rated cable news program on record.

Yes, well. Ms. Kelly has since moved to NBC to host a daily morning talk show titled “Megyn Kelly Today.” She offered an intriguing line-up on Monday. Veteran actor Dennis Quaid was her guest, ready to talk about his starring role as Ronald Reagan in an upcoming feature film simply titled “Reagan.”

The interview itself was conducted at “Rancho del Cielo,” otherwise known as the Reagan Ranch, purchased by the future 40th president in 1974. The gorgeous, much-loved homestead served as a retreat for Ronald and Nancy Reagan for many years, and now serves as an educational center for Young America’s Foundation, which has left the ranch intact as a historical site. All that aside, Mr. Quaid  candidly revealed his thoughts about portraying Reagan.

“He was a great man. A humble man,” Mr. Quaid told Ms. Kelly in the interview.

He donned a Reagan-style cowboy hat for his appearance.

Also on hand for the broadcast: Mark Joseph, the film’s producer, who counts “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “The Passion of the Christ” among his many projects.

“Dennis is the right man for the job — he’s naturally an optimistic guy as Reagan was, but there is also depth to his body of work and he will bring that experience to this role,” Mr. Joseph tells Inside the Beltway.

“Reagan” the movie portrays the life of “one of the most consequential men in American history,” organizers say, and is shaping up to be a showcase for the rare group of conservatives who still populate Hollywood.

Academy Award winner Jon Voight is also signed on to play the character of a KGB operative from the Reagan era; Robert Davi also appears as Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev; and the script is based on books by Paul Kengor, a Reagan historian. Ms. Kelly’s interview aired at 9 a.m. Monday on NBC; the interview will be available on Today.com/MegynToday following the broadcast. Find it here

2020: AND SO IT BEGINS

The Republican National Committee has picked a spot for its bodacious 2020 presidential convention — and that is the gracious, bustling city of Charlotte, North Carolina.

“It’s a big, big deal. We’re a red-meat, red county,” Dan Barry, chairman of the local Union County GOP, told The Charlotte Observer.

The city also provides a dramatic backdrop for positive GOP messaging.

“Charlotte’s booming economy is a prime example of how President Trump’s agenda is improving lives, spurring growth, and creating opportunity for millions of Americans,” says Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Donald J. Trump for President.

Ah, but it’s complicated. Some city leaders are guarded about the decision to stage the behemoth event in Charlotte — which hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2012. That event drew 325,000 attendees and produced a local economic impact of $163.6 million. Still, the prospect of Republican convention is giving local Democrats jitters, as does the possibility of anti-Trump protests.

“RNC 2020 is coming to town. It’s an unpredictable event for an unpredictable president, and Charlotte is taking a chance that most every other city passed on. Cross your fingers. Our city’s leaders just did,” the Observer noted in an editorial Sunday.

AMBASSADOR HUNTSMAN HAS A SAY

Robert Gehrke, a Salt Lake City Tribune columnist, recently suggested that Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, resign his post.

“Ambassador Huntsman, you work for a pawn, not a president. It’s time to come home,” Mr. Gehrke wrote in the wake of President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Huntsman — former governor of Utah and a presidential hopeful — replied Sunday to this suggestion in a letter to the same newspaper.

“As America’s envoy to Russia, I am appointed by the president but confirmed by the Senate. I am charged with representing our country’s interests, which in the case of Russia are complex and often little understood. Popular punditry is ill-suited to describing the acts of courage, dedication and patriotism I regularly witness as chief of Mission overseeing one of America’s most sensitive overseas outposts,” wrote Mr. Huntsman, a former U.S. ambassador to both Singapore and China who served in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations — and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.

“I have taken an unscientific survey among my colleagues, whom you reference, about whether I should resign. The laughter told me everything I needed to know,” Mr. Huntsman observed.

ONE FOR ISRAEL

The annual Christians United for Israel Summit begins in the nation’s capital Monday, staged at two major events sites not far from the White House. The host organization is the largest pro-Israel grass-roots organization in the U.S.; the event has a formidable speakers list, beginning with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki R. Haley, described by organizers as “the voice of truth.”

Also making appearances: Ron Dermer,Israel’s ambassador to the U.S.; Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham; Reps. Doug Lamborn, Mark Meadows, Cathy McMorris Rodgers; Fox News host Laura Ingraham; and radio host Dennis Prager.

Clergy is well represented as well, including John Hagee, senior pastor of the 20,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears via satellite; Israeli Defense Force soldiers and Holocaust survivors will be on the stage.

POLL DU JOUR

• 50 percent of Americans say President Trump is “conservative”; 57 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

• 16 percent overall say Mr. Trump is “moderate”; 26 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

• 6 percent overall say Mr. Trump is “liberal”; 7 percent of Republicans, 4 percent of independents and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

• 28 percent overall are unsure of Mr. Trump’s ideology; 10 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.

• 47 percent overall say Mr. Trump “says what he believes”; 76 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats agree.

• 37 percent overall say Mr. Trump “says what he thinks people want to hear”; 16 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted July 15-17

• Murmurs and asides to [email protected]


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