Now that Trump has royally screwed the pooch, and conservatives, Republicans, and libertarians are once again infighting about Trump’s validity as leader of the right, I see a lot of people once again using the term “Never Trump” to describe his detractors.
During the 2016 election, I made no attempt to hide my disdain for Trump. Something about him didn’t seem right, and he continuously proved that in terms of knowledgeability, leadership, and grace. I became so against him being president that I proudly called myself a “Never Trumper.”
However, when he won the election I dropped the idea of “Never Trump.” I did so, not because I suddenly found myself affectionate for the guy, or had a turn around about my ideas of him. I kept those. But I didn’t see what being “Never Trump” could accomplish at that point. We had Trump. There was no other way around it.
Being “Never Trump” at that point seemed more like an obtuse stance that would cause you to hate and reject everything he did, even if it was something one really wanted from an ideological perspective. I expected this continued full-boar rejection from the left, but not because they were “Never Trump.” It’s because they’re “Never Republican.”
When he defeated Hillary I wrote publicly that everyone, especially his followers who pushed so hard for his election to the point of cult-like belief, should hold his feet to the fire. I also wrote, however, that those who vehemently resisted him should praise him when he does well. Many of us kept to this line of thinking. We applauded when he did something right and raked him across the coals when he did something wrong. For all intents and purposes, the time of “Never Trump” had passed. Without it being given the name, the time of “Watch Trump” began and continued to today.
While there are a few people on the right who still cling to their full rejection of Trump, the idea of “Never Trump” existing today on the right is more or less dead. And it should be. Rejecting Trump just because he’s Trump is something I believe we should leave to the left, who have developed such a derangement around the guy that I actually find it comedic. They’re the character who attempts to march angrily through the yard, blind to all else, and ends up stepping on a rake that hits them squarely in the face.
But outside of them, the only people truly clinging to the idea of “Never Trump” aren’t those who once claimed themselves to be of that group. It’s the die-hard Trump lovers who think the President can do no wrong.
The fact of the matter is, he can do wrong. He does do wrong. His denunciation of due process, his suggestion that Republicans actually do fear the NRA, his promotion of tariffs, and his ignorance about trade deficits are very, very wrong. He needs to be called on it. He needs to be corrected. Not doing so could be highly damaging to the very way of life you elected him to protect.
At least on the right, “Never Trump” is dead. However, “Always Trump” seems to still exist, and that can be just as damaging, if not more damaging, than a permanent resistance.
If we believe the left to be so myopic for their “Resistance” then we’d be wise to cast equal shade on the opposite extreme. There are times when Trump absolutely must be stopped, and we’ve come to that point with this last week.
Painting those who chastise and berate him as “Never Trumpers” is a hollow attack. The reality on the right is that Trump is here, and there is no “Never Trump” now. There is only managing him by voicing our displeasure or approval, and those who voice their displeasure with legitimacy are right to do so.
Addendum: Ed Morrisey of Hot Air has highlighted why standing up to Trump works out for the better. Trump’s tail is now healthily drooped between his legs.