“#Never Trump’s utterly unprincipled lies”
July 8, 2020 | 8:12pm
Policy-wise, as President Trump became more conservative, Never Trump turned more overtly liberal.
It just so happens that this groupuscule has massive media influence, far out of proportion to its importance to the American right. I’m speaking, of course, of the Never Trump movement: the coterie of failed political consultants, self-proclaimed “experts” and Washington pundits happy to tell the left media exactly what they want to hear about the Trump GOP and to demoralize ordinary Republicans in a crucial election year.
From pop-up groups like the Lincoln Project and Republicans for Biden to e-publications like The Bulwark, Never Trump is following a familiar, failed pattern: go all out for any Democrat running against Trump. In a tweet this week, Bill Kristol, Never Trump’s de facto leader, endorsed the idea that Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat, should be the next vice president.
Here was the founder of The Weekly Standard, a high official in the George H.W. Bush administration and a longtime conservative figurehead hoping that a left-wing Democrat replaces a conservative in office: a left-wing Democrat, moreover, who recently suggested she is open to tearing down statues of George Washington.
It didn’t have to be this way. Having opposed his candidacy during the 2016 GOP primaries, some Never Trumpers indicated a willingness to call balls and strikes in the first few months after he won the election: They vowed to support Trump when he deserved it (by their lights) and to criticize him when he went wrong.
But it didn’t last. Policy-wise, as Trump became more conservative, Never Trump turned more overtly liberal. “The GOP tax bill’s bringing out my inner socialist,” Kristol tweeted in November 2017. If a tax reform that yielded massive jobs gains before the COVID-19 lockdowns can bring out the man’s “inner socialist,” that only suggests there is no deep conviction in that core.
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin has changed her mind on nearly everything.
In 2015, she suggested that President Barack Obama had promoted the Paris climate accord to distract from his many failures. A year later, she railed against how “ephemeral Obama’s Paris climate change deal is.” In 2017, however, when Trump pulled out of the accord, she said the move “signals solidarity with his climate-change denial, right-wing base that revels in scientific illiteracy.”
Likewise in 2015, Rubin denounced Obama’s Iran nuclear accord as an awful agreement and cited “10 reasons the Iran deal is ludicrous.” In 2017, after Trump pulled out, she fretted that the move threatens US “credibility.”
Rubin’s flip-flops are only outstripped by those of her Post colleague Max Boot. The hard-line war hawk — who once fantasized about imposing on Muslim lands “the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs” — now practically sounds like an Oberlin College wokester, abjectly confessing his white, male privilege at every turn.
But it’s Never Trump’s role in attempting to destroy Trump and his entourage that is most galling. All or nearly all of them signed on to the wildest of the “collusion” and Steele dossier theories — and held on even after the Mueller report debunked these hoaxes.
Sen. Mitt Romney, Washington’s ranking Never Trumper, will go down in history as the only member of the Senate to vote to convict a president of the same political party. Many other Never Trumpers led the charge for appointing a special counsel in the first place.
At the same time, Never Trump ignored or justified one of the biggest political scandal in American history: the Obama Justice Department’s abuse of its power to sabotage Trump’s campaign and then to derail his presidency. In 2018, prominent Never Trumpers backed a Democratic takeover of the House and Senate to punish the GOP; they got half their wish.
Whatever happens in November, conservatives shouldn’t soon forget all this. Just when the nation needed a true bulwark against an increasingly radical left, they betrayed their comrades.
Julie Kelly is author of the new book “Disloyal Opposition: How the Never Trump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President.” Twitter: @Julie_Kelly2
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