The rise of Donald Trump as a Republican presidential candidate has surprised many pundits, but not conservative commentator Glenn Beck.
Trump has widened his lead over other Republican presidential candidates in public opinion polls. Other non-professional politicians, including Dr. Ben Carson, a brain surgeon, and Carly Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett-Packard, have also shot ahead of politicians in the polls.
Voters are angry, and they "want somebody just to say it the way they think it — especially if they say it in a non-politically correct way," Beck says.
Beck, the broadcaster and author, is considered one of the most influential — and loudest — voices in American conservatism. Formerly with Fox News, Beck now hosts a daily radio program and founder of The Blaze, a cable and Internet network. His most recent book is It Is About Islam.
But Beck tells NPR's Scott Simon that he doesn't support Trump, and doesn't think he is a true conservative.
"It's hard to say you espouse conservative principals and small-government principals when you are saying that you think [the] Canadian health care system works and is wonderful," he says.
On Trump's appeal
He is not a politician. He is saying the populist things right now. I think what's happening with Bernie Sanders with the left is the same thing that's happening with Donald Trump, and that is ... they want somebody just to say it the way they think it — especially if they say it in a non-politically correct way.
On whether Trump is conservative
I don't think he is; I haven't heard him talk about the Constitution or small government. It's hard to say you espouse conservative principals and small-government principals when you are saying that you think [the] Canadian health care system works and is wonderful.
On Trump's high approval ratings among conservative talk radio listeners
I have lots of listeners who say I'm wrong on this, but that's OK ...
But that's OK, I speak my mind and my opinion is my opinion. Nothing more and nothing less.
I look for a man of integrity, humility, who is rooted in the Constitution. Because if you root yourself in the Constitution, we can't go too far left and we can't go too far right. We are held by principles we all used to declare we found self evident.
On the state of American politics
This is saying something, coming from Glenn Beck, I think, for a lot of people who view Glenn Beck as the clown or the monkey on TV, but we have a real, serious issue with civility. As long as we're civil, I think debate, vigorous debate, is good for everyone.