Max Boot, the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, gave an interview with Politico in which he assessed Trump’s presidential performance alongside another vocal Republican critic of Donald Trump: Eliot Cohen.
Unlike most in the Republican party, neither pivoted between finding Trump a laughable presidential candidate and then a respectable president. Cohen and Glasser have been critical of Donald Trump since day one, and they affirmed in their interview that President Trump has turned out just as terrible as they predicted he would be. Both men also agreed that Donald Trump hasn’t yet done his worst. He hasn’t yet destroyed NAFTA, lifted sanctions for Putin, or actually bombed North Korea… but that doesn’t mean any of those are off the table.
Susan Glasser asked Mr. Boot if perhaps he was being hyperbolic about the consequences of Trump. In response, Boot said that if the reality television star had been elected in a less stable country, Trump would probably already be a literal dictator.
“Look,” he responded, “the good news story of the first year of the Trump presidency is that there are checks and balances…. Trump as a personality type is probably no different from a Mussolini, a Peron, a Chavez. And if you were operating in Argentina or Italy, he would probably be a dictator by now. But luckily, he’s not operating in those countries.”
Boot also has strong condemnation of his party for holding Trump’s water, no matter how damaging he is to the country. He and Cohen have called those folks “Vichy Republicans.” Boot elaborated:
“It’s a disorienting experience to have people that you’ve thought of as your friends and comrades in arms for years, you know, think that you’ve gone off the rails. And at the same time, you think they’ve gone off the rails. I mean, this was the kind of split in American politics we probably have not had since the Vietnam War days. I mean, this is not a normal partisan disagreement. It’s a political realignment. I mean, I spent my entire adult life as a Republican. I worked as an adviser on three Republican presidential campaigns, but now I’m actively rooting for Republicans to lose the congressional elections next year, because the Republicans have shown they are unwilling to uphold their oaths of office. They are unwilling to defend the Constitution against the nonstop threats emanating from Donald J. Trump. And that, to me, trumps, so to speak, anything else, including concerns about tax cuts, or any of these other issues that a lot of Republicans tell themselves are the most important thing in the world.”