Never Trumpers: The Real Putin Republicans - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Never Trumpers: The Real Putin Republicans

So as thousands of conservative activists gathered in Orlando, Florida, for the Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC — in the heart of the Swamp — Washington, D.C. — there was this news in the Hill:

GOP critics of Trump to gather in DC to offer CPAC ‘counterprogramming’

The report said this:

Republican figures opposed to former President Trump will gather in Washington, D.C., this weekend for an event that has been subbed “counterprogramming” of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which is also set to take place this weekend.

Anti-Trump conservatives are set to attend a summit on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 hosted by Principles First, an organization that describes itself as “‘a grassroots effort to rediscover and champion principles in the 21st century.”

The summit, according to the group, will focus on “conservatism’s meaning & the path to a more principled future for our country” through panels, speeches, networking and discussions concerning “the meaning of conservatism today and the future of our movement.”

They included “Never Trumpers,” the latter described this way by the New York Times:

They wrote open letters, boycotted the Republican National Convention twice, started podcasts and websites and raised millions of dollars for their efforts to defeat him.

And but of course, the group heard from the Trump-hating, anti-constitutionalist January 6 Committee “Republicans,” Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. The two are taking a momentary break from using the committee’s police state–style tactics of roaming through the personal electronic communications of over 100 American citizens and the thousands whose communications were on those phones.

Let’s be clear. The Never Trumpers, the Trump Haters, and the “Principles First” anti-Trump Republicans are really “Principles Last” — and now they must be held to account for the invasion of Ukraine. The something that never happened on Trump’s watch.

As the New York Post headlined a mere four months into the Biden presidency:

Never-Trump conservatives are complicit with Team Biden’s moral outrages and norm-breaking

The story reported:

Remember Never Trump?

For four years, an influential clique of think tankers, Republican operatives and talking heads claimed that any conservative who supported Donald Trump was complicit with a uniquely malevolent presidency. But if Trumpian conservatives are responsible for everything the 45th president was faulted for, then Never Trump should likewise own the evils of the new Biden administration.

Never Trumpers spoke of the Trump GOP almost as if it were Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, a dictator’s discredited political organ, badly in need of a purge.

“President Donald Trump leaves office with a crimson-stained legacy,” thundered Peter Wehner, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “A similar stain attaches to those in the party who supported and sustained him.”

William Kristol, a prominent Twitter user, condemned Trump’s “enablers”: “They share the responsibility. They share the guilt. They ought to share the opprobrium.”

Fair enough. I am all too happy to have supported the president who unhesitatingly attacked what Newsweek described in 2018 as “forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad” — which included Russians. Newsweek reported this:

U.S. Military Killed ‘A Couple Hundred’ Russians In Syria Airstrikes, Pompeo Says As Trump Considers New Attack

The report quoted then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, newly nominated for secretary of state, as saying this:

“In Syria, now, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match. A couple hundred Russians were killed,” Pompeo said during his confirmation hearing in Washington.

Without doubt, President Vladimir Putin got the message: Don’t mess with Trump.

Not to be left out was Trump’s much-noted response to top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, who was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” on Americans. Trump ordered a precision missile strike on Soleimani — which killed him.

Additionally, Trump ordered a raid by U.S. Special Operations forces that successfully took out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group — ISIS.

All of which sent a message to the world — and specifically in the case of the Russians — Putin. The message, yet again: Don’t mess with Trump.

Putin didn’t.

Now, the Never Trumpers got their way. Trump is out and Joe Biden is in. In the course of his first year, Biden executed a disastrous exit from Afghanistan that sent a global message of utter incompetence and weakness. Inside the U.S., Biden lost complete control of the southern border, with hundreds of thousands streaming across into the U.S. and vanishing into the interior of the country. On day one of his term, Biden canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline. His overall energy policy sent oil prices soaring, with Americans now paying well north of $4 a gallon to fill their tank, with experts warning it could keep climbing to $7 or even $9 a gallon. That doesn’t even count the Biden-induced inflation rate that is the highest in 40 years.

All of which doesn’t take into account what many Americans see with Biden on their television, resulting in headlines like this one from Politico:

Poll: Voters’ doubts rising about Biden’s health, mental fitness

And all of which sends a vivid message to Vladimir Putin, not to mention to the Chinese and Iranians, among other American adversaries. That message: Joe Biden, politically and personally, is weak as tea, not to mention incompetent. He is decidedly no Trump and no threat.

The result: Putin invades Ukraine.

Now let’s go back to the Never Trumpers. To quote Bill Kristol and apply his logic on Trump supporters to the Never Trumpers who supported Biden?

The Never Trumpers are “enablers” of Putin’s invasion. “They share the responsibility. They share the guilt. They ought to share the opprobrium.”

I like Bill Kristol. We simply disagree about Trump.

But the aforementioned New York Post story by Sohrab Ahmari and Matthew Schmitz — written, notably, after a mere four months of Biden disasters in 2021 — now applies in spades to the Never Trumpers and Trump Haters. One Biden-led disaster after another has swamped both America and the world at large. Ahmari and Schmitz added this in their piece:

Many of these men and women embraced candidate Joe Biden. Biden, Wehner effused, is “an admirable human being, empathetic and generous in spirit.” Mona Charen, the syndicated moralist and former EPPC fellow, confessed she had “never been happier with a vote” than the one she cast for Biden.

Again, judging by the standard they themselves set during the Trump era, the Never Trumpers are enablers of the Biden presidency. By their own lights, they must share in the responsibility for every weak or incompetent act committed by Biden and his administration. They wanted him — and they got him. As Ahmari and Schmitz correctly noted, the Never Trumpers should be judged by the same standards to which they held others.

In this case, that means, yes, the Never Trumpers do in fact have a share of responsibility for the bloodbath in Ukraine.

Which is to say, the Never Trumpers and Trump Haters are in fact the real Putin Republicans.

Not good. Not good at all.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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