Bill Barr and John Bolton are speaking out against Trump — but should have done it much sooner: conservative
Two right-wing Republicans who were part of the Trump Administration have recently been speaking out against former President Donald Trump: William Barr and John Bolton. But conservative Daily Beast opinion columnist Matt Lewis isn’t impressed. In his March 4 column, the Never Trump journalist argues that they should have spoken out a lot sooner.
“Better late than never?” Lewis writes. “Donald Trump’s former attorney general, Bill Barr, and former national security adviser, John Bolton, are back in the news this week, saying things that — to paraphrase Adam Sander in ‘The Wedding Singer’ — could have been brought to our attention yesterday!”
Lewis continues, “By ‘yesterday,’ I mean any time when it might have mattered more. Like during an impeachment, like during an election — you know, a time when hearing the truth from someone with inside knowledge and credibility might have made a difference. Instead, both waited until they were hawking books to spill the Administration’s tea.”
During his months as U.S. attorney general under Trump, Barr — who had previously held that position in the early 1990s under the late Republican President George H.W. Bush — was a staunch Trump loyalist. But after the 2020 presidential election, Trump finally crossed a line with Barr, who refused to go along with the Big Lie and promote Trump’s false claim that widespread voter fraud had resulted in a stolen election. Barr even described Trump’s voter fraud claims as “bullshit.”
In an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt — Barr’s first interview of the Joe Biden era — he recalled that Trump had a major temper tantrum when he told the outgoing president that there was no evidence to support his voter fraud claims. Barr obviously viewed Biden as the legitimate president-elect and believed that Trump had crossed a dangerous line when he refused to accept the election results.
Bolton, during a recent appearance on right-wing Newsmax TV, described Trump as a train wreck on foreign policy — noting that Trump thought Finland was part of Russia.
WATCH: Former Attorney General Bill Barr describes the moment former President Trump accepted his resignation after Barr refused to say there were irregularities during the 2020 election.\n\nWatch more from the exclusive interview with @LesterHoltNBC tonight on @NBCNightlyNews.pic.twitter.com/Wqy9xaYsur— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt) 1646329298
John Bolton pushes back on Newsmax host: "[Trump] barely knew where Ukraine was...It's just not accurate to say that Trump's behavior somehow deterred the Russians"pic.twitter.com/ICRmmeJ8C3— Jason Campbell (@Jason Campbell) 1646145305
“Barr is out with a new book, ‘One Damn Thing After Another,’ where he tells us that Trump’s recipe for a good tweet is ‘just the right amount of crazy,’ and that ‘Trump cared only about one thing: himself. Country and principle took second place,’” Lewis writes. “I’m skeptical that Trump put the country’s interests that high on his list, but at least Barr got Trump’s top priority right.”
Lewis adds, “Meanwhile, uber-hawk John Bolton recently corrected a Newsmax host’s assertion that Trump was tougher than Joe Biden when it came to Russia, saying, ‘It's just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians.’ Bolton also revealed that Trump ‘barely knew where Ukraine was,’ and said that Trump ‘was not fit to be president.’ Let’s be honest: Whatever their motives, both men knew Trump wasn’t fit to be president before they signed up to work for him.”
Nonetheless, Lewis acknowledges that “since Trump remains a very viable threat to run and win in 2024, their eleventh-hour arrival is not pointless.”
“It’s tempting to hold grudges,” Lewis argues, “but in the words of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, ‘You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want.’ Moving past Trumpism will require building a majority coalition that incorporates consistent Never Trumpers with sincere converts and opportunists who determine that the incentives favor virtue over vice. Indeed, complicated converts more often persuade and win over sinners than saints do.”
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