Eliot Cohen, who served as Counselor of the Department of State under former President George W. Bush, is urging fellow Republicans to just stay away from the incoming Trump administration.
Cohen once encouraged hesitant GOP members to serve in the Trump White House. But he’s since changed his tune after one talk with President-elect Donald Trump’s team.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Cohen describes himself as a “national security Never-Trumper” who once called on young conservatives to volunteer to work in the new administration. Cohen now claims that advice was wrong.
My about-face began with a discreet request to me from a friend in Trumpworld to provide names — unsullied by having signed the two anti-Trump foreign policy letters — of those who might be willing to serve. My friend and I had agreed to disagree a while back about my taking an uncompromising anti-Trump stand; now, he wanted assistance and I willingly complied.
After an exchange about a senior figure who would not submit a résumé but would listen if contacted, an email exchange ensued that I found astonishing. My friend was seething with anger directed at those of us who had opposed Donald Trump — even those who stood ready to help steer good people to an administration that understandably wanted nothing to do with the likes of me, someone who had been out front in opposing Trump since the beginning.
He even tweeted his concern.
Cohen believes conservatives should avoid serving in the administration for now because “they would probably have to make excuses for things that are inexcusable and defend people who are indefensible.”
“The tenor of the Trump team, from everything I see, read and hear, is such that, for a garden-variety Republican policy specialist, service in the early phase of the administration would carry a high risk of compromising one’s integrity and reputation,” Cohen wrote.
He thinks the president-elect is surrounded by mediocre players who are simply loyal to Trump.
Cohen, who says he hopes he’s wrong, wants people to wait and see who gets the top jobs, and then act.