No, Trump’s Conservative Critics Have Not Been ‘Destroyed’ or Silenced

Source: National Review | December 14, 2016 | Charles C. W. Cooke

Progressives misunderstand the purpose of ‘Never Trump.’


In order to answer these questions, one has to reiterate what exactly the Never Trump position entailed, as well as remember that it was never a pledge to reject conservatism or to join the Left on the barricades. Rather, it was a description that was applied to those rightward-leaning figures who believed that Donald Trump was a poor choice as the GOP’s nominee, and that he was an unfit candidate for president. Although I rarely used the term myself, it did apply to me as a practical matter: Throughout the primaries and the general election, I argued that Donald Trump was (a) an immoral man, ill-suited to the office of the presidency; (b) a political opportunist, likely to pursue policies that would seriously damage conservatism in the long run; and (c) a wannabe authoritarian who shouldn’t be trusted with power. As a result, I both opposed his nomination during the primaries and concluded during the general that I could not back somebody so manifestly unsuited to his coveted role.

Quite obviously, Trump’s victory rendered much of this moot — not, of course, because his victory has altered his character or because his success has impelled reconciliation, but because the role of Trump’s critics has by necessity been changed. Before November 8, those who opposed Trump were warning that voters should decline to take the risk he represented. That, by definition, involved a binary choice, the material question being: Should Trump be the nominee/president, or should Trump not be the nominee/president? Now that the election is over, that question has dissolved into the clouds. For better or worse, Trump is going to be the president. Progressive hysterics notwithstanding, that matter is done; decided; settled. To pretend that this isn’t true — and so to shout “No! No! No!” in response to everything that he does — would, frankly, be absurd.

So what should I do? Well, I should do precisely the same thing I did with President Obama, whom pretty much all of we Never Trump types also strongly opposed: Criticize him when he’s wrong, praise him when he’s right, and keep a tally of how many of my fears are being realized post-election. Thus far, at least, this is what I see being done. Of course conservatives who opposed Trump are praising some of his cabinet picks; mostly, they’ve been good. Of course conservatives will praise Trump if he signs a bill of which they approve; they would have done so under any president, including Obama. Of course conservatives are pleased that, for now at least, he’s being less vindictive than we feared; we are thankful that this facet of his character has not yet come to the fore.

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  • Consistent #12138

    ConservativeGranny #12145

    I have to disagree with Mr. Cooke here. I do not think all that much of many of Trump’s cabinet picks. Too many dems, too many Goldmann Sachs people, too many who don’t share conservative ideas. Many of his picks were the same old establishment types that the Trumpsters said they didn’t want. And Ben Carson? Really?

    The bringing of his family members in to “run the show” for him so he can have time to tour around the country making a fool out of himself proving that he can’t live without the adulation and applause for more than a few days doesn’t bode well for a stable serious POTUS.

    Also I think Trump is just as vindictive and dangerous as he has always been. Note the exclusion & toying of those who have displeased him, the tweeting criticism of companies resulting in losses in their stock value, the bullying and government promises of goodies for companies that want to move some jobs out of the US. And he hasn’t even taken office yet! This guy is going to get much worse.

    Oh the never Trumpers are still here shaking our heads in disgust.

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