A handful of writers and editors who worked at The Weekly Standard, the now-defunct conservative magazine that was deeply critical of President Donald Trump until its sudden demise in December, have a new home.
Starting Monday, Bill Kristol, a co-founder of The Weekly Standard, and Charlie Sykes, the former talk radio host and conservative commentator, will beef up The Bulwark, a conservative website that has until now served as an aggregator for Kristol’s non-profit group, the Defending Democracy Together Institute.
“The Bulwark was an aggregator,” Sykes told CNN in a phone interview Friday. “We are going to turn it into a full-fledged opinion news website, with really the core digital staff of The Weekly Standard.”
“I think the need for a rational, non-Trumpist forum was more urgent than ever,” Sykes added. “And I do think that contrary to some of the conventional wisdom, there is a market for center-right commentary that pushes back against Trumpism.”
Sykes will serve as editor-in-chief, and Kristol will be an editor-at-large.
Joining Sykes and Kristol at The Bulwark will be several alumni from The Weekly Standard, including Jonathan Last, the former digital editor of The Weekly Standard who will serve as executive editor, and Rachel Larimore, the former online managing editor of The Weekly Standard who will be managing editor. Other editorial members will include Jim Swift, Ben Parker, Hannah Yoest, and Andrew Egger.
Sykes said he wanted to “make it clear that this is not The Weekly Standard 2.0,” but that the online publication will “have a lot of familiar voices” and “a similar flavor.”
The Bulwark staff have a number of articles prepared for next week’s launch, Sykes said, including one that examines the possibility of a 2020 challenger to Trump, reaction to Mitt Romney’s recent op-ed, and one that looks into “the task ahead” for conservatives in the age of Trump.
One of the “core missions” of The Bulwark will be “pushing back against some of the trolls and grifters on the right,” Sykes said, without naming any one person in particular.
Sykes said he was “struck” by “how quickly” the team was able to launch The Bulwark after The Weekly Standard’s demise. The Weekly Standard published its final issue on December 17 after its parent company, Clarity Media Group, announced the magazine’s sudden closure.
Money for The Bulwark’s expansion was raised in recent weeks and the revamped website has funding in the neighborhood of about $1 million which should last about a year, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.
That said, Sykes said he welcomes more financial support.
“As far as I’m concerned, we are not going to get any Russian or Saudi money, so we are going to have to hope to get support from donors across the country and political spectrum who are willing to put country over party,” Sykes said.