Michael J. Knowles

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Michael Knowles
Michael J. Knowles by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Knowles in 2021
Michael John Knowles

(1990-03-18) March 18, 1990 (age 32)
EducationYale University (BA)
Occupation(s)Political commentator, media host, author
Notable workReasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide, Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds
Alissa Mahler
(m. 2018)

Michael John Knowles (born March 18, 1990) is an American conservative political commentator, actor, author and media host. He works for The Daily Wire.

Early life and education[edit]

Knowles was born in Bedford Hills, New York, and graduated from Fox Lane High school. Descended from Italian Sicilian and Irish immigrants,[2][3] his ancestry also includes four English members of the Mayflower voyage: Dr. Samuel Fuller, Stephen Hopkins, Francis Eaton, and John Billington.[4]

Knowles began training as an actor with the Stella Adler Studio of Acting,[5] as part of its Advanced Teen Conservatory. He graduated with a B.A. in history and Italian from Yale University, where he produced the first English rendering of Niccolò Machiavelli's play Andria in 2012. He was raised in the Catholic faith by his family, but fell away during his adolescence; at Yale he experienced a reconversion to the Church, spurred at first by ontological arguments.[6]



Before graduating from Yale University, Knowles participated in two Web series, Never Do Business with Friends and Survive. Upon graduation, Knowles trained with Wynn Handman at his acting studio in New York City and appeared in various Web series, films, and television shows.[7]

After moving to Los Angeles, he acted in the television pilot in of I'm Back and in the television movies Life Coach and Blend In. He also starred as Alejandro in the comedy feature film Hóllyweird.[8]

Political commentary[edit]

In 2016, Knowles was invited to join The Daily Wire, beginning as regular guest and cultural correspondent for The Andrew Klavan Show podcast.[citation needed] He had worked with Andrew Klavan's son, Spencer Klavan, on theater productions while they were undergraduates at Yale.[9][10]

In 2018, Knowles reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage and opposed attempts by some in the conservative movement to recognize such unions.[11]

In April 2019, Knowles gave a speech at the University of Missouri–Kansas City titled "Men Are Not Women"[12] on gender identity during his YAF national college speaking tour. Student protesters disrupted his talk, deeming it "transphobic".[13] One protester assaulted him and sprayed him with an unknown mixture, later determined to be lavender oil and other non-toxic household liquids. The protester was charged with assault and other violations.[14][15][16] Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal praised the protestors and condemned Knowles, alleging that Knowles "professed opinions do not align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion and our goal of providing a welcoming environment to all people."[17] Agrawal also acknowledged how Knowles was treated "crossed a line." Many Missouri lawmakers were dissatisfied with Agrawal's response and threatened to cut the school's budget.[18]

In September 2019, Knowles called teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg "a mentally ill Swedish child" on the Fox News program The Story. Fellow segment guest and Democratic Party activist Christopher Hahn replied, "You're a grown man and you're attacking a child. Shame on you." Knowles responded, "I'm not. I'm attacking the Left for exploiting a mentally ill child."[19] Hahn returned, "Relax, skinny boy; I got this." Knowles promptly added, "She is mentally ill. She has autism. She has obsessive–compulsive disorder. She has selective mutism. She had depression." The network apologized for Knowles's statement by saying his comment "was disgraceful—we apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers." Knowles did not apologize and Fox said it had "no plans" to have him on again in the future,[20][21] but the channel welcomed him back shortly thereafter for a segment with host Tucker Carlson.[22] Knowles later said, "Obviously there is nothing shameful about living with autism or any other psychiatric condition. What is shameful is exploiting children for political purposes."[23]

In September 2019, Knowles's lecture at USC was met with a partial student walkout of around 30 students.[23]

In January 2020, while the first impeachment proceedings of President Donald Trump were underway, Knowles and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz launched the podcast Verdict with Ted Cruz.[24][25] On January 27, Cruz announced on Twitter that Verdict had secured the top spot on the podcast charts for that week.[26][27] After the impeachment trial ended with Trump's acquittal, Cruz and Knowles began to interview Washington politicians such as U.S. Senators John Barrasso, Mike Lee, and Tim Scott, Trump administration officials including then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. They also interviewed actors Jon Voight and Isaiah Washington.

On January 20, 2020, PragerU's website published the inaugural episode of The Book Club, a video series hosted by Knowles that features in each episode a book review or discussion with a guest.[28][29]

On November 13, 2020, Knowles was scheduled as the guest host of The Rush Limbaugh Show.[30] After this opportunity, The Daily Wire in collaboration with Westwood One announced that Knowles would be hosting his own daily radio show on WHLD.[31]


In 2017, Knowles released an empty book called Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide.[32] The book, which contained 266 empty pages and an extensive bibliography, became the top-selling book on Amazon.[33] Shortly after Knowles lauded President Trump on Fox & Friends, Trump called Knowles's book "a great book for your reading enjoyment."[34][35] That year, Knowles began his role as host of The Daily Wire's third podcast, The Michael Knowles Show.

Knowles's second book, Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds,[36] became a number one bestseller for hardcover nonfiction according to Publishers Weekly,[37][38] and a number two bestseller for nonfiction on Audible.[39]

Knowles wrote the introduction to the 70th anniversary edition of God and Man at Yale[40] by William F. Buckley Jr.

Personal life[edit]

Knowles is a practicing Catholic.[41] He married in 2018 and has two sons.[41]


  • Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide (2017), Threshold Editions ISBN 978-1-5430-2497-5 OCLC 984757249
  • Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds (2021), Regnery Publishing ISBN 978-1-68451-082-5 OCLC 1243742524


  1. ^ Knowles, Michael [@michaeljknowles] (January 19, 2021). "My son has already mastered expressions of bemused dismay and droll self-satisfaction—in other words, the entire range of conservative emotions. t.co/NjickoivV4" (Tweet). Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved June 14, 2021 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Knowles, Michael [@michaeljknowles] (March 12, 2018). ".@andrewklavan constantly complains that I don't pay for books. If not in library or on Project Gutenberg, I'll buy used on Amazon, sometimes Kindle or Audible. Among the many values my Italian family instilled in me is never to pay retail. t.co/GzD3yK4Imo" (Tweet). Archived from the original on October 20, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2021 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ YES or NO | Real Answers and Real Drinks with FREEDOMTOONS (Seamus Coughlin), retrieved November 26, 2022
  4. ^ Leftist Thanksgiving Myths DEBUNKED - A Michael Knowles Classic, retrieved November 27, 2022
  5. ^ "Michael J. Knowles". Michael J. Knowles. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "An Interview with the Catholic of the Daily Wire". Those Catholic Men. September 26, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  7. ^ "The Modern Renaissance Man: Michael Knowles on Art, Politics and Jimmy McMillan". Yale Daily News. March 7, 2014.
  8. ^ Mann, Keith (September 25, 2019). "Michael Knowles: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Retrieved October 2, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Michael Knowles | Yale College Arts". collegearts.yale.edu. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  10. ^ "Spencer Klavan | Yale College Arts". collegearts.yale.edu. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  11. ^ Ep. 99 - Should We Accept Gay Marriage? ft. Fr. Michael Schmitz, retrieved February 8, 2021
  12. ^ Michael Knowles at UMKC: "Men Are Not Women", retrieved November 18, 2019
  13. ^ "University of Missouri protester arrested for spraying white liquid on conservative commentator during speech". Newsweek. April 12, 2019.
  14. ^ "Conservative Speaker Michael Knowles Speech Disrupted", The Washington Post, Associated Press, April 12, 2019, archived from the original on April 25, 2019
  15. ^ "Student charged over protest at anti-transgender speech". The Seattle Times. April 12, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  16. ^ "Conservative speaker who was assaulted by protester: 'This was a warning shot to conservatives'". Fox News. New York City: News Corp. April 13, 2019. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  17. ^ Garry, Patrick M. (2019). "When Legislatures Become the Ally of Academic Freedom: The First State Intellectual Diversity Statute and Its Effect on Academic Freedom". South Carolina Law Review. 71 (1): 181.
  18. ^ Thomas, Crystal (April 17, 2019). "UMKC chancellor response to conservative speaker attack faces backlash in Missouri Legislature". Kansas City Star.
  19. ^ Zhao, Christina (September 23, 2019). "Fox News guests fight on-air after one called Greta Thunberg a "mentally ill Swedish child": "Relax skinny boy... you're despicable"". Newsweek. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  20. ^ Koerner, Claudia (September 23, 2019). "Fox News Apologized To Greta Thunberg After A Pundit Called Her "Mentally Ill"". BuzzFeed News. Los Angeles, California: BuzzFeed. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  21. ^ Bauder, David (September 24, 2019). "Fox apologizes for 'disgraceful' comment about Thunberg". WAVY.com. Associated Press. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  22. ^ Bremner, Jade (July 8, 2021). "Fox News welcomes back guest it vowed to ban over nasty attack on Greta Thunberg". news.yahoo.com. The Economist. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  23. ^ a b Goldsmith, Liorah (September 27, 2019). "Michael Knowles event met with student walkout". Annenberg Media. Retrieved June 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (2020-01-22). “Ted Cruz Now Has an Impeachment Podcast, Too.” Ted Cruz now has an impeachment podcast, too." The Verge. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  25. ^ Kearns, Madeleine (2020-02-06). "The Final Verdict?". National Review. Retrieved 2020-02-26
  26. ^ Cobler, Paul (2020-01-28). "Ted Cruz’s podcast on impeachment trial sits atop iTunes charts". Dallas News. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  27. ^ Duehren, Andrew (2020-01-30). "Impeachment Trial Pushes Ted Cruz to Top of Podcast Charts". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  28. ^ "The Book Club". PragerU. Retrieved April 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "The Book Club: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl with Dennis Prager". YouTube. January 21, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ "Rush Limbaugh Show". Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  31. ^ Pergament, Alan (May 25, 2021). "WHLD switches format to conservative talk hosts, led by Dan Bongino". The Buffalo News. Retrieved June 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. ^ Holley, Peter (March 15, 2017). "An author praised Trump on 'Fox & Friends.' Hours later, his book had a presidential endorsement". The Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  33. ^ Concha, Joe (March 9, 2017). "Amazon bestseller 'Reasons to Vote for Democrats' is a book of empty pages". The Hill. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  34. ^ "An author praised Trump on 'Fox & Friends.' Hours later, his book had a presidential endorsement". The Washington Post. 2019.
  35. ^ "Donald J. Trump on Twitter". Twitter (in Latin). July 26, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  36. ^ "Publishers Weekly Bestseller Lists". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved July 5, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  37. ^ Milliot, Jim (July 1, 2021). "Fiction Sales Continue to Rise". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved July 5, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  38. ^ "Publishers Weekly Best-Seller". Associated Press. July 1, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  39. ^ "The top 10 audiobooks on Audible.com". Associated Press. June 29, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  40. ^ Buckley, William F. (September 7, 2021). God and Man at Yale 70th Anniversary edition Simon & Schuster. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781684512362. Retrieved September 20, 2021.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  41. ^ a b Roberts, Judy (June 1, 2021). "Michael Knowles...what he's talking about". Legatus.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]