David Nakamura of the Washington Post reports:
They are some of the biggest names in the Republican national security firmament, veterans of past GOP administrations who say, if called upon by President-elect Donald Trump, they stand ready to serve their country again.
But their phones aren’t ringing. Their entreaties to Trump Tower in New York have mostly gone unanswered. In Trump world, these establishment all-stars say they are “PNG” — personae non gratae.
Their transgression was signing one or both of two public “Never Trump” letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation.
One letter, with 122 names, was published by War on the Rocks, a website devoted to national security commentary, during the primary season in March. The other, with 50 names, including some repeat signatories, was published by the New York Times during the general-election campaign in August.
Now, just days before Trump is sworn in as the nation’s 45th president, the letter signers fear they have been added to another document, this one private — a purported blacklist compiled by Trump’s political advisers.
Am I being too harsh in thinking that the moaning of such “all-stars” is pathetic? If you are on record that Donald Trump’s candidacy is a danger to the nation, how can you expect Trump to offer you a job? Both letters are extraordinarily harsh.
It’s possible that Trump nonetheless might offer a position to a signatory either because Trump is forgiving or because the signatory’s service is badly needed. But to expect him to do so, and to the complain to the Washington Post that he probably won’t, seems presumptuous.
It’s also a bit jarring, at least to me, to learn that folks who viewed Trump as beyond the pale want to work for him right out of the gate. Why not wait for him to show that he’s not a danger to the nation?
Words have meaning. “Never” doesn’t mean “not until he wins.”
I’ll go further. Folks who, like me, were not “Never Trumpers” but who harshly criticized candidate Trump shouldn’t feel aggrieved if they don’t get considered for a job in the administration. Words have consequences.
However, Nakamura’s reporting suggests that Team Trump might offer positions to some in this category. Maybe there’s hope for the hard core Never Trumpers down the road.
The president-elect has virtually no experience in national security and foreign policy, and his transition team could presumably benefit from the broadest pool of applicants for the influential appointive positions in the State Department, Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.
The broadest pool would include President Obama’s team. Should Trump consider its members? I don’t think so.
Similarly, I see nothing wrong with excluding from consideration folks who hold Trump and his policy positions in the contempt expressed in the “Never Trump” letters. I doubt that the new president will be unable to find highly qualified people for the jobs in question without dipping into the pool of 150-plus Never Trumpers. Nakamura doesn’t present evidence that he will.
Instead, he continues:
But the purportedly blacklisted figures report to their jobs at Washington law firms and think tanks in a state of indefinite limbo as their colleagues, some working in the same offices, are flirting with potential administration jobs.
Okay. Now I have to call this “pathetic.”
I know a few of the people who signed at least one of the offending letters, and I respect them. In fact, I respected everyone who signed because all of them showed the courage of their conviction.
I assumed that all of them knew there might be consequences and were prepared, and maybe even proud, to accept them. Not all of them, it turns out.
Shows how naive I am.