Earlier this month, Marc Thiessen walked into the Oval Office for a wide-ranging interview with President Trump, discussing everything from the possibility of renaming bases named after Confederates to the administration’s stance toward China. Marc joined the show this week for a special final episode for the three hosts, taking us inside his conversation with the president.

Marc Thiessen is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute where he studies and writes about American presidential leadership and counterterrorism. A member of the White House senior staff under President George W. Bush, Thiessen served as chief speechwriter to the president and to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. A biweekly columnist for The Washington Post, Thiessen has done postgraduate studies at the Naval War College and has a B.A. from Vassar College.

Lockdowns don’t work, argues Lyman Stone in a recent piece. Instead, to really crush the curve of coronavirus infections (rather than just flattening it), we need to follow the model of successful Asian nations and implement a robust system of contact tracing. Lyman called in from Hong Kong to discuss what this would look like, as well as China’s recent efforts to crack down on the city.

Lyman Stone is an Adjunct Fellow at AEI, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and a former International Economist at the US Department of Agriculture. He blogs about migration, population dynamics, and regional economics at In a State of Migration. His work has been covered in the The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous local outlets.

Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, or the “Factual Feminist” as she is known online, joined Banter today to discuss the gender discrimination debates surrounding COVID-19, the state of identity politics in America, the new FX show “Mrs. America,” and more.

Christina Hoff Sommers is co-host of the popular podcast “Femsplainers” and author of “The War Against Boys” and “Who Stole Feminism?”. Her writings have appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Dr. Sommers is also the host of the popular video blog, “The Factual Feminist.” She holds a PhD in philosophy from Brandeis University and a BA from New York University.

As summer gives way to winter in the Southern Hemisphere, how prepared are the nations of South and Central America for the coronavirus? AEI fellow Ryan Berg joined the show this week to discuss the likely impact of the virus, and what it means for US foreign policy toward Venezuela, Brazil, and the rest of the region.

Ryan C. Berg is a research fellow at AEI, where he studies Latin American foreign policy and development issues. Before joining AEI, Dr. Berg served as a research consultant at the World Bank and a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Dr. Berg obtained a PhD from the University of Oxford and a BA in government and theology from Georgetown University.

Can President Trump unilaterally “reopen” the country? How much power do the states’ governors have to regulate businesses, parks, and other facilities? Can we make China pay for the economic damage the CCP has wrought? And when and how will these interminable lockdowns end? Law professor, constitutional expert, and podcast aficionado John Yoo joined Banter this week to answer these questions and more.

John Yoo is Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and a visiting scholar at AEI since 2003. He served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the US Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003, where he worked on constitutional and national security matters, as General Counsel of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary from 1995–96, and as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the US Supreme Court. He is the author “Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush,” along with several other books.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw’s story needs no embellishment. In 2012, on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, an improvised explosive device left his right eye destroyed and his left blinded. Only through the careful hand of his surgeons, and what doctors called a miracle, did Crenshaw’s left eye recover partial vision. And yet, he persevered, completing two more deployments. Why?

He tells his story in his new book, “Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage,” which he joined Banter to talk about with us. We discuss the outrage culture plaguing our politics, and what we can do about it. Then, we ask the Congressman about America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the long-term implications it is likely to have.

How will the coronavirus shape the future of US national security? Will the world hold China responsible? How is the pandemic affecting America’s strategy toward Iran? And what is the greatest novel about foreign policy? AEI’s Kori Schake answers all these questions and more in this week’s episode of Banter.

Kori N. Schake is the director of foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. Before joining AEI, Dr. Schake was the deputy director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. She has had a distinguished career in government, working at the US State Department, the US Department of Defense, and the National Security Council at the White House. She is the author of several books, most recently “America vs the West: Can the Liberal World Order Be Preserved?” (2018) and “Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony” (2017).

In times of national crisis, how do American institutions respond? AEI President Robert Doar joined Banter this week to discuss the work AEI is doing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and draw on his own experience serving in New York’s government in the years following the attacks of September 11.

Robert Doar is the president and Morgridge Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He joined AEI in 2014 to create a new body of work on poverty studies, after serving for more than 20 years in leadership positions in the social service programs of New York State and New York City under Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. AEI’s poverty studies program and the scholars in it have since become leading voices in the national discussion on the importance of work, family, and personal responsibility in human flourishing.

During the later years of the George W. Bush administration and throughout the presidency of Barack Obama, a group that came to be known as “reformocons” began arguing that the Right needed to update its policy agenda; formulated to address the circumstances of the late 1970s, it had since gradually hardened into a set of dogmatic slogans. Family, community, traditional religion, civil society, and civic republicanism needed protection and support, they argued. But taking these social concerns seriously did not mean abandoning the Right’s affinity for market economics; it meant putting that affinity to use in the service of empowering working families.

What has come of this agenda? How does the presidency of Donald Trump relate to it? And will reform conservatism be a force in the future? To discuss these questions and more, we were joined by Dr. Yuval Levin.

Just weeks after political pundits left Joe Biden’s campaign for dead, he stormed back on Super Tuesday and reclaimed his status as the Democratic primary’s frontrunner. What caused this resurgence? And what does it mean for the Democratic Party? Matt Continetti joined the show to discuss what it means for Bernie, whether socialism is still the future for the Democratic Party, why Elizabeth Warren could never catch on, and much more.

Matthew Continetti is a resident fellow at AEI, where his work is focused on American political thought and history, with a particular focus on the development of the Republican Party and the American conservative movement in the 20th century. A prominent journalist, analyst, author, and intellectual historian of the right, Continetti was the founding editor and the editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon. He is also a contributing editor at National Review and a columnist for Commentary Magazine, and appears frequently on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report” with Bret Baier and MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily” with Chuck Todd.

The major fault line in American politics, argues Michael Lind, isn’t Republican vs. Democrat: It is the managerial overclass — the university-credentialed elite that clusters in high-income hubs and dominates government, the economy, and the culture — vs. the working class of the low-density heartlands. The two classes clash over immigration, trade, social values, and a range of other issues, and the constant triumphs of the numerically-smaller overclass are the primary source of political tension today.

To break down this conflict, and discuss how to solve it, we interviewed Michael Lind, author of “The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite.” Lind is the author of more than a dozen books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, including “The Next American Nation” and “Land of Promise.” He has been an editor or staff writer for The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New Republic, and The National Interest. He has taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins and is currently a professor of practice at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

For Banter’s 400th episode, Governor Jeb Bush joined the show to discuss his time in politics and what he views as the biggest challenges facing the United States. We discuss two issues near and dear to his heart — immigration and education policy — as well as what shaped his own political beliefs, how the GOP can broaden its appeal to younger voters, who he thinks will win the Super Bowl, and much more.

Governor Bush served as governor of Florida from 1998–2006, becoming the first Republican ever to be re-elected to that post. He is the son of President George H. W. Bush and the brother of President George W. Bush.

Anthony Scaramucci joined Banter to discuss the Democratic field of presidential candidates, his journey from President Trump’s inner circle to fierce critic, the future of the Republican Party, and what it’s like being an outsider in Washington, DC.

Anthony Scaramucci, or “The Mooch,” is the founder of investment firm SkyBridge Capital and former White House Communications Director for President Trump. His time as Communications Director, however, was short-lived; he was fired after just 11 days. Scaramucci continues to run SkyBridge Capital today, while also serving as a regular contributor to CNN and other prominent media outlets. A native of Long Island, New York, The Mooch received a B.A. in economics from Tufts University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat joined Banter to discuss what it’s like being a conservative who writes for a predominantly liberal audience, the state of religion in America, and why the Star Wars sequels represent all that is wrong with modern American society.

Ross Douthat is a fellow at AEI and a columnist for The New York Times. In 2009 he became their youngest-ever columnist, taking the position at the age of 29. He’s the author of several books, including “Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the American Elite” and “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.” His new book, “The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success,” is out February 25.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik recently emerged as a rising star of the GOP for her role in the Trump impeachment hearings. She has long been on the national stage, though, having become the youngest ever Congresswoman when elected at the age of 30 in 2014. Congresswoman Stefanik joined us this week to discuss impeachment, how Republicans can appeal to younger Americans, the GOP’s approach to environmentalism, and more.

Elise Stefanik represents New York’s 21st congressional district. An Albany-native, she earned a BA in Government from Harvard University in 2006.

This week we sat down with David French to discuss the new media venture he is helping launch, The Dispatch. We also discuss if he is optimistic about the future of conservatism in America, the Democratic primary race, identity politics, impeachment, the meaning of “David French-ism,” his near-presidential run in 2016, and much more.

David French recently joined The Dispatch as a senior editor after several years as a staff writer at National Review. Before that he was president of the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education and served as a JAG officer in the US Army during the Iraq War, where he was awarded a Bronze Star.

This week we sat down with the great Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic to discuss a few of her recent essays on the craziness of college admissions, what is happening on college campuses, the meaning of Jordan Peterson, and much more.

Caitlin Flanagan has written for The Atlantic since 2001 and is the author of two books: “To Hell with All That” and “Girl Land.” Her subjects have included modern family life, college admissions, adolescence, sexuality, and the culture wars. She was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and she has won a National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism. Before becoming a writer, she was an English teacher and college counselor at Harvard-Westlake school.

This week we sat down with Andrew Sullivan, blogger extraordinaire and former editor of The New Republic. A gay conservative who helped pioneer the marriage equality movement, he was pals with Boris Johnson at Oxford, did his PhD at Harvard, and writes one of the best columns we read each week — a Friday essay on politics and society for New York magazine.

He joined us this week for a long interview in which we discuss everything from his upbringing in Britain, his college days with Boris Johnson, his experience in the gay rights movement, his views on religious liberty laws, President Trump’s impeachment, and much more.

According to some polls, more millennials today support socialism than capitalism. Is this a temporary blip or a more worrying long-term trend? Paul Ryan worries it is the latter, and the former Speaker joined this week’s episode of Banter to discuss how conservatives can go about changing this. We also ask Speaker Ryan about inequality, poverty, evidence-based policymaking, and much more in a rapid-fire Q&A.

Paul Ryan, who served as Speaker of the US House of Representatives from October 2015 to January 2019, is a distinguished visiting fellow in the practice of public policy at AEI. He is also a professor-of-the-practice at the University of Notre Dame, where he is teaching political science and economics. At AEI, Speaker Ryan’s work focuses on opportunity, mobility, the social safety net, and entitlement reform.

American global leadership may be out of fashion, but New York Times columnist Bret Stephens argues that the alternative is far worse. Stephens joins Banter to discuss foreign policy under President Trump and make the case that the world — and America — are far better off when America is leading it.

Bret Stephens joined The New York Times as an Op-Ed columnist in April 2017. Before that, he was deputy editorial page editor and foreign affairs columnist for The Wall Street Journal and editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post. He has reported from around the world and interviewed scores of world leaders, and is the author of “America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.” Mr. Stephens is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including two honorary doctorates and the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He was raised in Mexico City and holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and an MSc. from the London School of Economics.