Never Trump neocons who worked to get Hillary Clinton elected are whining to the media that they've been "blacklisted" from Donald Trump's administration.
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.Good.
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.Translation: we positioned ourselves for roles in Hillary Clinton's administration. Please show pity on us and let us sabotage you from within, Mr. Trump.
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.
"Before he won, the conversation was, 'We really would love for you to change your mind and join us,'" Peter Feaver, a National Security Council special adviser under President George W. Bush, said of informal talks with Trump aides. Feaver, who signed both letters, added that, "Since he won . . . the conversation is, 'There likely will be a blacklist of people who signed the letters who won't themselves be eligible for a post.' "
...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.
Last week, the Trump transition held a private briefing for secretary-of-state nominee Rex Tillerson to prepare him for his Senate confirmation hearing. One former Bush national security official who works at a Washington think tank said that some of his younger staff assistants were invited to participate but that he was not. He assumes it was because he signed the letter.
"It's hostile," said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of further retribution. "It's not just that we're frozen out. . . . I was told they said there was an enemies list."
God, please let that be true.
Among those who signed at least one of the letters are Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, the first two secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security; two former U.S. trade ambassadors, Carla Hills and Robert Zoellick; two former heads of U.S. intelligence agencies, John Negroponte and retired Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden; a former ambassador to NATO; and several former deputy secretaries of various U.S. government agencies.They couldn't have come up with less sympathetic cast of characters. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should have them all investigated.
Not everyone who signed the letters wants a job, and some remain vocal critics of Trump. But many stand ready to serve or offer guidance if asked.No thanks.
...Some of the "Never Trump" letters signers fear they are at the bottom of the pecking order, below those who expressed verbal opposition to Trump's campaign but did not sign either of the letters.
The conflict was exacerbated shortly after the election when Eliot Cohen, a State Department counselor during the Bush administration who had helped organize the War on the Rocks letter, aired new criticism of the Trump transition. In an opinion column for The Washington Post in November, Cohen said that a friend on the transition team had asked him to provide names of potential job candidates -- with the stipulation that he include no one who signed either of the letters.
Cohen wrote that he became convinced there were "pent-up resentments" among members of the Trump team, and he warned young policy experts against working for the administration. Cohen has had no further communications with the transition team.
"Believe me -- my phone is not ringing," he said in a recent interview.
Nor should it be.
Why would be appoint people who hate him?
Other letter signers said Cohen had misinterpreted emails from the transition official and overreacted, and some of them expressed a sense of regret.You've made your bed, now lie in it.
Mary Beth Long, who served as assistant secretary of defense in the Bush administration, signed the War on the Rocks letter. But, she said, her opinion of Trump improved as he began to moderate his rhetoric and selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate.
Long attended a Pence rally in Charlotte in October, during which, she said, a local GOP official announced that a "Never Trump" letter signer in the audience had changed her mind and was now supporting Trump. The crowd cheered.
But her about-face hasn't thawed the ice. Long said her inquiries to the Trump transition team to get clarity on some of his foreign policy positions have gone unanswered. She said that she has spoken with retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Trump's designee for national security adviser, whom she knows from the Pentagon, but that she isn't expecting a job.
"If I were asked to sign a letter like that again, I would be much more careful about the verbiage that related to the candidate himself," she said.
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