Conservative activist explains how 'psychologically broken’ Trump 'has reshaped the Republican Party'
When Fox News’ Chris Wallace interviewed President Donald Trump on Friday, July 17, he wasn’t shy about asking tough questions. According to Never Trump conservative Peter Wehner, one of the biggest takeaways from the interview is how bitter Trump sounded. That bitterness, Wehner stresses in a July 21 article for The Atlantic, will be remembered as Trump’s #1 contribution to the Republican Party.
When Wallace asked Trump how he will regard his years as president, Trump responded, “I think I was very unfairly treated. From before I even won, I was under investigation by a bunch of thieves, crooks. It was an illegal investigation.” And that obsession with grievance, according to Wehner, speaks volumes about how Trump views the world and the ways in which he has reshaped the GOP.
“Donald Trump is a psychologically broken, embittered and deeply unhappy man,” writes Wehner, a senior fellow at the right-wing Ethics and Public Policy Center. “He is so gripped by his grievances, such a prisoner of his resentments, that even the most benevolent question from an interviewer — what good parts of your presidency would you like to be remembered for? — triggered a gusher of discontent.”
Trump, Wehner argues, is the most influential Republican president since Ronald Reagan — although not in a good way.
“In a single term, Trump has reshaped the Republican Party through and through, and his dispositional imprint on the GOP is as great as any in modern history, including Ronald Reagan,” Wehner argues. “I say that as a person who was deeply shaped by Reagan and his presidency. My first job in government was working for the Reagan Administration, when I was in my twenties. The conservative movement in the 1980s, while hardly flawless, was intellectually serious and politically optimistic. And Reagan himself was a man of personal decency, grace and class.”
While Reagan was known for his optimism and his “morning in America” speeches, Wehner writes, Trump’s legacy is one of anger and grievance.
“There were certainly ugly elements on the American right during the Reagan presidency, and Reagan himself was not without flaws,” Wehner explains. “But as president, he set the tone, and the tone was optimism, courtliness and elegance, joie de vivre. He has since been replaced by the crudest and cruelest man ever to be president.”
Reaganism, Wehner laments, has been replaced by Trumpism in the GOP.
The Never Trumper writes, “Donald Trump is a vindictive man who also happens to be commander in chief and head of the executive branch…. One senses in Donald Trump no joy, no delight, no laughter. All the emotions that drive him are negative ones. There is something repugnant about Trump, yes, but there is also something quite sad about the man. He is a damaged soul.”