Hollywood screenwriter turned conservative writer and blogger Roger Simon wrote a post last week titled, “Why the Remaining NeverTrumpers Should Apologize Now.” If, by NeverTrumpers, Simon meant those who refuse to this day to accept the fact that the President was duly elected and continue to work to undermine his Presidency by any means possible, the headline would be too restrictive. Those unethical citizens and dangerous insurrectionists owe everyone an apology, including the founders and children yet unborn. They have done incalculable damage to the nation, society and our institutions, and we will suffer grievously because of it, if the U.S. survives it at all.
It is clear, however, that he is directing his screed at people like me, non-ideological moderates and conservatives who proclaimed during the 2016 campaign that they would never support the candidacy of Donald Trump, for all the self-evident reasons. Simon writes,
“Nevertheless, it is time for the remaining NeverTrumpers to apologize for a reason far more important than self-castigation or merely to make things “right.” Donald Trump — whose initial victory was a shock, even, ironically, to those of us who predicted it — has compounded that shock by being astoundingly successful in his first year, especially at the conclusion. (He’s a quick study, evidently.) More conservative goals have been achieved or put in motion in eleven months than in any time in recent, or even distant, memory. It’s an astonishing reversal for our country accompanied by the beginnings of an economic boom.”
It is true that any objective and fair observer should be able to acknowledge that the Trump administration has been far from the nightmarish failure Democrats and the news media have misrepresented it to be. It is also true that the cataclysmic bungle that the Left was certain Trump would sink the country with has not occurred. (Progressives consider conservative policies as cataclysmic, and thus are useless for this analysis.) Unlike the Left, I will give the President credit for what he has presided over and facilitated, because all Presidents get credit for that. ISIS has been greatly weakened. The economy and consumer confidence are improving. The stock market is soaring. Illegal immigration is no longer being encouraged and sentimentalized by the federal government. We are backing away from world government, and refusing to be extorted by North Korea. As promised, the glut of federal regulations is being decreased, rather than expanded.
All of this is worthy of respect, especially since the President has been trying to do his job in the teeth of unprecedented obstruction and hostility from “the resistance” and the mainstream news media. For a candidate who seemed to equate popularity with virtue, and who constantly cited his poll numbers, the United States finally appears to have a leader who is not guided by or intimidated by polls at all. I did not foresee that, and admit that I am pleasantly surprised.
Nonetheless, as a former NeverTrumper who supports the office of the President of the United States and always will no matter who occupies it, I view none of my 2016 opinions of Donald Trump and his fitness for office as unfair or badly reasoned. Good results are always in part moral luck; what beneficial results that have been achieved this year were not inevitable, and at several junctures, notably before General Kelly was brought on as Chief of Staff, disaster seemed more likely than not. Competent and responsible leadership is not only made up of what a leader does, but how he does it. How Donald Trump operates as President is divisive, obnoxious, politically self-destructive, undignified, chaotic and scary, just as I expected. This conduct, which is entirely a product of his character deficits and near complete lack of interest in ethical values, does harm far beyond the benefits any policies he may advance that I agree with, or that are improvements over the mess left by Barack Obama. He is, day by day, week be week, diminishing that strength and credibility of the Presidency by lowering it to his thuggish, crude, juvenile level. He is also provoking his opposition and the news media to lower themselves to his level or lower, doing further damage to our democracy.
So no, I have no regrets about my warnings about electing Donald Trump President, and nothing I have seen indicates that I have anything to apologize for, or that my analysis was incorrect. No one with the character and proclivities of Donald Trump should be elected President; I believe that as strongly as I believe that once a President is elected, he deserves and must receive the traditional loyalty, respect, deference and support of every citizen, who should sincerely wish for his success. Lots of Americans owe President Trump an apology.
But not me.