NeverTrump ‘Conservatives’ Have Incited Political Violence

As their preferred candidate crashes in national polls and the race tightens to a dead heat in Joe Biden’s must-win states, NeverTrump “conservatives” are once again taking their marching orders from Democrats. The death, destruction, and mayhem besieging Democratic-run cities across the country, NeverTrump dutifully recites, is all Donald Trump’s fault.

Team Biden crafted the inane talking points to deflect concerns that the violence in cities such as Portland and Kenosha rapidly was backfiring on Democrats; scenes of angry mobs attacking Trump supporters, including Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his wife, leaving the White House late Thursday night after the president’s speech accelerated those worries.

But rather than condemn Antifa and Black Lives Matter or devise a legitimate plan to work with Democratic mayors to end the chaos, the Biden campaign decided to blame the president—so NeverTrumpers from Bill Kristol to the frauds at the Lincoln Project are piling on. 

“Democrats will not win by cowering in fear that Trump will blame them for the violence he provoked,” Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s faux conservative, advised in her Monday column. “They win by making the case that Trump has made America more violent and increased racial tension for his own political benefit.”

But the dangerous political environment now threatening to derail Biden’s shot at the White House is precisely what NeverTrump has cultivated for more than four years. The consequences of NeverTrump’s nonstop gaslighting against the president, his family, Republican lawmakers, and regular Trump supporters are playing out in real-time with real damage and real lives at risk; the timing couldn’t be worse for NeverTrump and their Democratic allies. 

What’s unfolding is a case of political payback and there’s no denying NeverTrump’s insidious role in fueling this national tragedy.

In fact, Jennifer Rubin herself has called for the harassment of Trump associates including rank-and-file Republicans and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the first mother to serve as White House press secretary. 

After Sanders and her young family were thrown out of a Virginia restaurant in 2018, Rubin said that type of resistance wasn’t enough. “What is most successful is getting a million people on the street to protest,” Rubin said. “No one is telling them to be violent protesters, but we’re not going to go let these people go through life unscathed. Sarah Huckabee has no right to live a life of no fuss, no muss, after lying to the press, after inciting against the press. These people should be made uncomfortable, and I think that is a life sentence.”

Well, Rubin got her wish and then some.

From accusing the president of treason and acting like a murderous dictator to denouncing his supporters as cultists and white supremacists, NeverTrump owns this unsafe terrain.

Rubin’s call to arms came almost one year to the day after a leftist lunatic tried to slaughter several Republican congressmen, severely injuring one. The attempted assassination of Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) in 2017, however, largely was ignored by NeverTrump as they instead fixated on phony crimes of election collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

To that point: NeverTrump fully endorsed the political prosecution of Donald Trump first by Barack Obama’s FBI then by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The investigations ensnared innocent people whose lives were nearly ruined simply because they backed Donald Trump. But rather than stand on “conservative” principles for a blind system of justice and against the use of federal power to destroy political opponents, NeverTrump cheered.

Lt. General Michael Flynn and campaign volunteer Carter Page, NeverTrump argues, are enemies of the state who deserved their fate despite solid proof both men were targeted and framed by Obama’s henchmen. The natural trajectory of rage-filled partisans hunting down Trump associates through the legal system to hunting down Trump voters on the streets is here.

NeverTrumpers shamefully fan the flames of racial hatred. Without evidence, NeverTrump insists that the president is a racist; ipso facto, so is anyone who backs him. They refuse to back off the “very fine people” trope that intentionally misrepresents what the president said after the August 2017 protests in Charlottesville to make it sound like he complimented alt-Right bigots. “The president is embracing open white nationalists,” Charles Sykes, editor of The Bulwark, declared. “How much lower can we go?”

The president is responsible for a nonexistent “surge” in “white nationalist terrorism,” David French tried to explain in 2019.

Before his swearing-in as the junior senator from Utah, Mitt Romney promised he would keep tabs on Trump’s character “shortfall” and “speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, [or] anti-immigrant.” (Romney marched with Black Lives Matters activists in June.)

The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson claimed the “overt racial animus in many of Trump’s base is virulent, widespread, readily detectable in surveys.” Bill Kristol shamefully condemns Fox News viewers and host Tucker Carlson, his one-time protégé, as white nationalists. “The Republicans are being identified as the white nationalist party,” MSNBC contributor Max Boot claimed in 2018. “The Republican Party, as currently constituted, needs to be razed to the ground, it needs to be destroyed.”

Rubin repeated Boot’s directive the following year in war-like terms. “We have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them because if there are survivors, if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again.”

People who back the president, according to Jonah Goldberg, are like members of a “cult” blindly following the president: “[Trump] considers criticism of his behavior a greater offense than voting against his agenda—and so do his most ardent supporters. This creates a powerful cultural incentive to define norms down, or just defenestrate them entirely.”

Goldberg, like so many NeverTrumpers, compared the president’s style to some of the evilest men in history including Josef Stalin and Fidel Castro. “Trump is not a dictator, but his two-hour speech, possibly the longest ever delivered by a U.S. president, shared many of the traits associated with demagogues who feed off a cult of personality,” Goldberg wrote in his criticism of the annual Conservative Political Action Committee event in 2019.

Evangelicals are another frequent target of NeverTrumpers. “Soon enough, the ‘need’ to defend Trump will pass,” David French preached to Trump-supporting evangelicals in 2018. “He’ll be gone from the American scene. Then, you’ll stand in the wreckage of your own reputation and ask yourself, ‘Was it worth it?’ The answer will be as clear then as it should be clear now. It’s not, and it never was.”

Not even pro-life teenagers from Kentucky are safe from NeverTrump’s scorn.

NeverTrump is as liable for the current climate as the news media or the Democratic Party. From accusing the president of treason and acting like a murderous dictator to denouncing his supporters as cultists and white supremacists, NeverTrump owns this unsafe terrain. And no amount of revisionist history or public threats from Joe Biden that this will continue unless he wins in November can erase NeverTrump’s culpability in creating the destructive, now deadly, race and political war engulfing the country they purport to love.

About Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.

Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

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