President-elect Trump talked about the NeverTrump movement at a fundraiser at the National Portrait Gallery last night. He claimed that “they just didn’t understand” him. His comments appear to have been typically scattered so it makes one wonder if he ever really understood NeverTrumpers.
Donald Trump said late Wednesday that members of the Never Trump movement just didn’t understand him.
“These people were angry. They didn’t even know me. I never met them,” the president-elect said during a fundraiser at the National Portrait Gallery, according to a video of the event obtained by Axios.
“They’re really right now on a respirator,” he continued.
I’m not really sure what he means by that. Obviously the segment of people who were trying to derail his nomination at the convention or the one trying to pull off some miraculous Electoral College shenanigans haven’t succeeded. From my perspective, that was never the center of gravity for the NeverTrump crowd though.
“And we actually do have some Never Trumpers that are fantastic people. They just didn’t understand me.”
I suppose with this statement Trump is referring to the critics and opponents who came begging for jobs after he won the election. “Fantastic people” who at the time were “total losers” and “dummies.” In politics everything is an act. Everything with Trump is an act. The only thing separating him from typical politicians is that he hasn’t made a career out of it.
A great deal of what manifested as NeverTrump was in my opinion the rejection of the sort of politics where people’s words have the shelf life of a Snapchat photo—the sort of politics where Governor Rick Perry can one day promise to eliminate the wasteful Department of Energy as President and on another say that Donald Trump is “a cancer on conservatism” and then ultimately sit before a Senate committee hoping to be approved as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Energy. This sort of thing happens routinely in Washington with virtually no one marveling at the mendacity. Many of us who were merely jaded have now simply decided to call a farce a farce.
We’ve always known that much of politics is fakery and lies. Donald Trump’s candidacy only shined a carbon-arc spotlight on that reality and the reality that most people don’t care as long as they’re on the winning team. The NeverTrump movement that I know may be in limbo but we’re not on a respirator any more than the Democrat Party is on a respirator. In politics many are eager to declare an idea dead based on the outcome of a single election. Those people are either terribly ignorant or they are dishonestly trying to sell you something.
Many of us who opposed Trump remain skeptical of him. The outcome is not what we wanted, but apart from a loony few, we realize it’s not going to be undone. So we watch and intend to hold Trump to account. We will applaud any good that he does and we will be critical of him when he proposes big government, anti-liberty ideas. This rankles the tribalists who think we must give full throated support to the man in the White House because of he belongs to the right party. People who don’t cheer for the right team are, by default, the enemy even if they no longer cheer for any team.
My colleague Kimberly Ross explained it well.
Also considered among the deceased on election night was that principled movement called #NeverTrump. I was a member from day one and still happily claim it. But as of right now, the NT ideology should be placed on the backburner and left simmering until further notice.
“Why should it be removed from a place of prominence?” Simple. Our next president has been decided, and he is Donald Trump.
“Shouldn’t the movement be left to wither away?” No. Because our next president is Donald Trump.
Perhaps the movement should relabel itself for the broader context, the dishonest and broken system that tells people that they owe their votes to particular party even when candidates haven’t earned them.