Could Never Trump Republicans have helped more?

Once we had declared our opposition to Trump’s campaign, he didn’t appear worried. Colleagues have told me that the White House Office of Personnel informed departments that people who signed either of the Never Trump letters would not be cleared by the White House for appointments in the administration. Two of the signatories heard the message, recanting their position and seeking appointments in the administration. Despite their qualifications, neither has received positions. Elliot Abrams, Secretary Rex Tillerson’s choice for deputy secretary of state, did not sign either of the letters. But because he criticized candidate Trump, he was rejected. Not only did Trump’s team refuse Never Trump talent, reportedly on the advice of Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, but he also refused to allow the appointment of Democrats willing to cross party lines and serve in his administration.

Many leading establishment Republicans, including Brent Scowcroft, implored us to put our qualms aside and join the Trump administration as a patriotic duty. They worried the president’s worst tendencies would be magnified by unqualified, enabling supporters installed in senior positions. Some accused us of hubris, of putting our judgments above those of the American people who elected this president. Those are all reasonable arguments that weighed heavily on many of us. But nearly a year into the administration, I’ve concluded it wouldn’t have affected policy outcomes if we Never Trump Republicans joined the administration.