Cohen: Conservatives' integrity and reputation at risk in Trump administration
Former State Department official Eliot Cohen is warning “Never-Trump” foreign policy experts to stay away from President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s transition team.
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“My bottom line: Conservative political types should not volunteer to serve in this administration, at least for now,” Cohen wrote in a Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday detailing his experience with Trump’s team. “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, a fierce Trump critic during the general election, added.
During the general election, Cohen signed a letter with other Republican foreign policy and national security experts condemning a potential Trump presidency.
He wrote in a separate editorial last week that members of the foreign policy community previously opposed to Trump could serve under two conditions.
He suggested experts keep a signed, but undated, letter of resignation in their desks, and also refuse to renege on earlier criticisms of Trump.
But Cohen, who served in the George W. Bush administration, rescinded that recommendation, writing on Twitter on Tuesday that experts “should stay away.”
Cohen’s experience with the Trump team comes after the President-elect replaced Gov. Chris Christie as the head of the transition with Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence posts, deletes photo of Trump campaign staff without face masks, not social distancing Pence threatens to deploy military if Pennsylvania governor doesn’t quell looting Pence on Floyd: ‘No tolerance for racism’ in US MORE. Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), a leading figure on national security, said Tuesday he would be departing as well.
Cohen said in the Post-op-ed that experts should wait for the team to fill positions before joining the administration.
“I hope that I am wrong. I hope that the administration will settle down and that I can cheer it when it is right and offer temperate criticisms when it is wrong. But the auspices here are disturbing,” Cohen added.