NeverTrump Chickens Coming Home to Roost
Noted farmer and poultry expert, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, once said in a sermon, that Barack Obama may or may not have been present for, that “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” Such is the way of nature, with an order to things, cause and effect, which some describe as karma.
Reverend Wright may have been referring to misguided American policies with unintended consequences. If he was speaking about US interventions in the Middle East leading to power vacuums and the rise of regimes far worse than what they were replacing, he would be correct. On the other hand, if he was claiming that the US government created AIDS to exterminate people of color, then his credibility has flown away with his chickens.
Another group of chickens are coming home to roost in the second year of the Trump presidency, namely the NeverTrump variety of fowl. Somewhere on the scale between turkey and chicken, most resembling peacocks however, these birds are finding that there is no nest for them to come home to. They are left to roost in the green rooms and television studios of CNN and MSNBC, rather than in the halls of government where they are most comfortable.
The NeverTrumpers, who were adamantly against Donald Trump’s nomination, election, and virtually every subsequent decision, are now suddenly befuddled as to why they remain on the outside in the cold, looking in on a warm, cozy, and productive White House.
In a recent issue of Foreign Policy, Matthew Kroenig, a 40-year-old Georgetown professor and expert on nuclear proliferation, with work at both the CIA and Pentagon on his resume, wonders why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hasn’t called him to serve in the State Department. He seems a logical choice to advise the Trump administration as they paddle through unchartered waters with Trump’s new pal, Little Rocket Man.
So, what’s the problem? Why is this ideal candidate getting the cold shoulder from Team Trump? It seems his chickens have come home to roost.
Around the time that Donald Trump secured the GOP nomination for president, “Fifty of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members for President George W. Bush” signed a letter that was quite critical of candidate Trump.
Another open letter, four months earlier in March 2016, was signed by 122 NeverTrump national security types, including Professor Kroenig. This letter was even more harsh, as it was early in the primary season when the signers must have believed Trump would flame out long before he could possibly win the nomination.
It was quite safe at the time to sign such letters as no one thought Trump would win the election. These bureaucrats, many of whom served under both Presidents Bush, some serving as far back as Nixon, echoed the two Bushes, who themselves did not support the nominee of their party and may have even voted for the Hillary Clinton, were outraged over the uncouth and unsophisticated rube that their party nominated.
As they said in the second letter, Mr. Trump, “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
They proudly beat their NeverTrump chests and proclaimed, “None of us will vote for Donald Trump.” Because, “from a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief.”
They went further, “Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President.” And added, “He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions.”
Continuing, they wrote that Mr. Trump, “Has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based.” That, “Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself.”
Getting personal they wrote, “Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President.” Or that, “He lacks self-control and acts impetuously.”
Concluding they brayed, “We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.” I could go on, but the two-page diatribe speaks for itself, a critique one would hear from Morning Joe or Jimmy Kimmel, not the supposed smart set of the Republican Party foreign policy establishment.
The same Republicans who would be doing backflips with joy if a President Jeb! or Kasich were in the Oval Office and doing what Trump is doing. Trump is running the table with his conservative agenda, fulfilling the political dreams of NeverTrumpers, yet they can’t stand him and wish he would go away.
It’s ironic that these geniuses gave us the Iraq war and subsequent Middle Eastern chaos including ISIS. Or that they advised past presidents on how to manage North Korea becoming a rogue nuclear power while the uneducated and impetuous goofus is the one who may have finally disarmed the Kim dictatorship.
The smart set, going all the way back to Nixon, was just this week upstaged by the guy they had no confidence in and thought would be dangerous to the world. And now they have the gall to complain that Trump now has no confidence in them or their intellect and judgement?
Imagine yourself being that vocally critical over your potential future boss then wondering why that boss then tells you to pound sand when you come looking for a job. What did they expect?
It’s not blacklisting. Instead these so-called experts demonstrated their own foolishness in signing on to that letter, as the Georgetown professor is belatedly learning. Trump would be nuts to hire as advisors those who demonstrated how out of step and wrong they were in their assertions in the letter.
Not just the professor but other prominent signers as well, including Michael Hayden, former CIA and NSA director for George W. Bush. The boss of those same intelligence agencies that missed 9/11 but were certain that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
But back then it was safe to pile on candidate Trump. He wasn’t going to win the election. CNN, Obama, and John Oliver told us so, as did all of the polls. Were they really trying to prevent a Trump presidency, which all of those in the know said wouldn’t happen? Or were they auditioning for a position in the all-but-certain Hillary Clinton administration?
Regardless, these NeverTrumpers outed themselves as shallow political hacks, and now their chickens have come home to roost. Enjoy the sidewalk, look in through tall the fence, because that’s as close most of you will ever get to Willie Wonka Trump’s magical chocolate factory.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Photo credit: Rikki's Refuge via Flickr