The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: james mattis

No President Before Trump Provoked So Many Former Appointees To Openly Revolt

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Waves of former officials working for President Donald Trump have consistently turned on him and denounced his conduct throughout his first term in the Oval Office, a trend that only seems to be accelerating as the November election approaches.

Olivia Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence who worked on the coronavirus task force, was the latest to condemn the president in searing terms on Thursday. In an ad for Republican Voters Against Trump, she described the president as callous to the deaths of Americans and only interested in his re-election.

Read Now Show less

WATCH: Why Five Important Trump Allies Finally Turned Against Him

Some Republicans who were blistering critics of President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election have since turned into devoted supporters, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. But with some other prominent Republicans, the opposite is true: they went from being Trump allies to being vehement critics. Amanda Carpenter, a Never Trump conservative who formerly served as Cruz's communications director, takes a look at some of those defectors in an article published in The Bulwark on September 14 and explains the reasons for their defections.

"For all the loyalty Donald Trump enjoys from his most sycophantic followers, many prominent figures who famously assisted him have given up on the president altogether," Carpenter explains in her article. "It's worth taking a look at the breaking points for these various White House staffers, cabinet secretaries, political advisers and others — the moment when each decided he or she just couldn't stick with Trump anymore. Because we can learn a lot about Trump and the overall effect he is having on our country by studying what made these individuals — from revered military leaders to Trump's sleazy surrogates — finally snap."

Here are five of the former Trump allies who, according to Carpenter, reached a breaking out.

1. Elizabeth Neumann

In 2016, conservative Republican Elizabeth Neumann voted for Trump. But now, Neumann — who served as assistant secretary for counterterrorism and threat prevention at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Trump — is making no secret of the fact that she plans to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden in 2020's presidential election. And she endorsed Biden in an anti-Trump attack ad by the group Republican Voters Against Trump.

Neumann, Carpenter notes, has stressed that a white nationalist's August 2019 terrorist massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas did a lot to turn her against Trump. The shooter killed more than 20 people, mostly Latino, in response to what he called the "Hispanic invasion of Texas." Carpenter told The Bulwark, "The point at which my position changed and I said 'No, at this point, you are culpable' was after El Paso…. Post-El Paso, there is no excuse."

2. John Bolton

John Bolton was an odd choice for Trump's national security director: while Trump has been greatly influenced by the isolationist and hypernationalist Patrick Buchanan, Bolton is a devout neocon and an unapologetic war hawk. Nonetheless, having Bolton in his administration was a way for Trump to thumb his nose at liberals — that is, until Bolton reached the point where he could no long stomach Trump's foreign policy views. Bolton, Carpenter observes, "decided he had to leave in September 2019, after Trump made plans to invite the Taliban to Camp David public."

Bolton, Carpenter notes, has said of Trump, "The day after the election, whether Trump wins or loses, we face a real debate — maybe an existential debate — about what the future of the Republican Party is. I just think it's important for the Republican Party to separate itself from Trump and for the conservative philosophy to separate itself from Trump."

3. Gen. James Mattis

Like Bolton, former Defense Secretary James Mattis left Trump's administration because of the president's views on foreign policy. Carpenter explains, "Mattis walked out on Trump in December 2018 when the president ignored his advice and abruptly pulled troops out of the Middle East. Mattis is quoted in Bob Woodward's new book, Rage, as saying, 'When I was basically directed to do something that I thought went beyond stupid to felony stupid, strategically jeopardizing our place in the world and everything else, that's when I quit.'"

4. Miles Taylor

Miles Taylor, who served as chief of staff at DHS, told The Bulwark, "The total tonnage of bad Trump ideas that never materialized were enough to crush anyone's hopes about a successful presidency. But the one that broke my desire to continue serving was his perverse insistence on resuming family separation at the border — and making it worse. It was sick, wrong, and un-American. That's when it became clear that saying 'no' to Trump was no longer enough."

Like Neumann, Taylor has appeared in a pro-Biden ad from Republican Voters Against Trump:

Woodward Book Says Mattis Feared Trump Would Start Nuclear War With North Korea

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The coronavirus bombshells in Bob Woodward's new book, Rage, due out September 15, are so explosive that they have somewhat overshadowed other important parts of the book — for example, the veteran journalist/author's reporting on President Donald Trump's foreign policy decisions. And Woodward, according to the Guardian's Julian Borger, describes some of the ways in which Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and others tried to rein Trump in on foreign policy.

Read Now Show less

Trump’s Hostile Misuse Of The Military

For most of the 21st century, American presidents have been busy proving that the U.S. military cannot bring peace and stability to Iraq and Afghanistan. But that does not stop the current president from believing it can bring peace and stability to American cities.

On Monday, Donald Trump made it clear that his tiny quota of patience was running out. "If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents," he warned, "then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them." He has in mind going beyond the traditional use of the National Guard in favor of active-duty troops.

Read Now Show less

Are Democrats Smart Enough To Take Yes For An Answer?

Here's the fail-safe test for whether a political party is growing and strengthening or shrinking in size and prospects: Is that party spending its time, energy and effort seeking, recruiting and welcoming converts to its ranks, or is that party instead hunting down heretics within its ranks and, in the name of political purity, banishing them to some outer darkness?

Because American politics is always a matter of addition, not subtraction, the convert-seeking and convert-welcoming party is healthier and almost always has the better prospects of winning the November general election. Republicans understood that well in 1980 when the GOP presidential nominee openly courted and embraced converts, even giving them very own designation as Reagan Democrats. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the future Democratic nominee told the nation: "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America." Thus did Barack Obama become the first Democrat in 12 presidential elections to win 53 percent of the national Vote.

Read Now Show less

A Timely Warning From The Generals

Under ordinary circumstances, open dissent from high-ranking military officials against the actions of civilian political leaders would signal a danger familiar to other countries. Such rumblings from military circles often indicate that constitutional freedoms are in jeopardy and that martial law, or even a coup d'etat, may be on the horizon.

In these extraordinary circumstances, however, all expectations are reversed — and the usual order of things is turned upside down.

Read Now Show less

Raging At Sen. Murkowski, Trump Stokes GOP Divisions

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As the Republican Party is struggling to defend him in a moment of nationwide strife, President Donald Trump decided Thursday night to fuel divisions within GOP rather than make nice.

He had already lashed out on Wednesday at his former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who sharply criticized Trump's response to the ongoing George Floyd protests. But on Thursday night, Trump took at aim at sitting Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Read Now Show less

Former Defense Chief Mattis Issues Devastating Rebuke To Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote a stern takedown of President Donald Trump's recent actions published on Wednesday, saying he is "angry and appalled" and that the commander in chief isn't even trying to bring the country together.

"Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try," Mattis said in a statement published by The Atlantic. "Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children."

Read Now Show less