The Washington Post is saying that these people are ready to serve their country again, but their phones aren’t ringing. They’ve gotten so desperate, they’ve even begun calling Trump Tower.
They are some of the biggest names in the Republican national security firmament, veterans of past GOP administrations who say, if called upon by President-elect Donald Trump, they stand ready to serve their country again.
But their phones aren’t ringing. Their entreaties to Trump Tower in New York have mostly gone unanswered. In Trump world, these establishment all-stars say they are “PNG” — personae non gratae.
Their transgression was signing one or both of two public “Never Trump” letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation.
One letter, with 122 names, was published by War on the Rocks, a website devoted to national security commentary, during the primary season in March. The other, with 50 names, including some repeat signatories, was published by the New York Times during the general-election campaign in August.
Now, just days before Trump is sworn in as the nation’s 45th president, the letter signers fear they have been added to another document, this one private — a purported blacklist compiled by Trump’s political advisers.
“Before he won, the conversation was, ‘We really would love for you to change your mind and join us,’ ” Peter Feaver, a National Security Council special adviser under President George W. Bush, said of informal talks with Trump aides. Feaver, who signed both letters, added that, “Since he won . . . the conversation is, ‘There likely will be a blacklist of people who signed the letters who won’t themselves be eligible for a post.’ ”
Trump transition aides did not respond to a request for comment for this article.
The president-elect has virtually no experience in national security and foreign policy, and his transition team could presumably benefit from the broadest pool of applicants for the influential appointive positions in the State Department, Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.
But the purportedly blacklisted figures report to their jobs at Washington law firms and think tanks in a state of indefinite limbo as their colleagues, some working in the same offices, are flirting with potential administration jobs.
Last week, the Trump transition held a private briefing for secretary-of-state nominee Rex Tillerson to prepare him for his Senate confirmation hearing. One former Bush national security official who works at a Washington think tank said that some of his younger staff assistants were invited to participate but that he was not. He assumes it was because he signed the letter.
“It’s hostile,” said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of further retribution. “It’s not just that we’re frozen out. . . . I was told they said there was an enemies list.”
Among those who signed at least one of the letters are Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, the first two secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security; two former U.S. trade ambassadors, Carla Hills and Robert Zoellick; two former heads of U.S. intelligence agencies, John Negroponte and retired Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden; a former ambassador to NATO; and several former deputy secretaries of various U.S. government agencies.
Not everyone who signed the letters wants a job, and some remain vocal critics of Trump. But many stand ready to serve or offer guidance if asked.
“We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office,” read one particularly harsh letter signed by 122 of these GOP national security leaders. They called his trade policies “a recipe for disaster” and said his view of American influence and power on the world stage is “wildly inconsistent” and “unmoored in principle.” He has “utter contempt” for Mexico, the letter said, and “endangers” the safety of Muslims. He is “fundamentally dishonest,” they added.
Can we all just appreciate the fact that Trump put these people on a black list? This is the kind of president America needs. One that won’t compromise and and won’t change his mind to get along with people who hate him. America has had eight years of that, and that’s enough.
Source: Washington Post