Their case against Trump was compelling, prescient and — ineffective. Now, as they face Trump’s re-election campaign, so-called Never Trumpers face a stark choice: wandering four more years in the policy wilderness, or wading into murky swamp waters and hoping for the best.
The choice is in many ways clearer now than it was then, if only because there is now three-plus years of data. The rationale for aspiring to be an “adult in the room” at the level of a political appointee is looking pretty threadbare.(1) To see why, it’s worth walking through some of the concerns the Never Trumpers originally laid out in their letter, many of which have metastasized.
One of their worries was that Trump’s “vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle.” If anything, it has become more so. The administration’s efforts at Big Think disintegrate under serious scrutiny: Witness the contradiction between Trump’s paeans to “sovereignty” in his UN General Assembly speeches and his interventions, both real and threatened, in the affairs of other nations. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien — Trump’s fourth in as many years — now circulates Trump’s tweets as marching orders, never mind that they often contradict stated administration policy or previous 280-character diktats by the Tweeter-in-Chief.