Trump Nixes Elliott Abrams for State Department Job
February 11, 2017
Jamie Gangel and Elise Labott /CNN & Justin Raimondo / AntiWar.com & Sen. Rand Paul / Ron Paul Liberty Report
Elliott Abrams, who served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, will not get the No. 2 job at the State Department, three Republican sources told CNN. But Abrams was nixed from the list of contenders after. Donald Trump learned of Abrams' biting criticism last May of his fitness to become president. Abrams had called Trump "thin-skinned." Trump's rejection of the Abrams' appointment would seem to confirm this diagnosis.
Trump Nixes Elliott Abrams for State Department Job
Jamie Gangel and Elise Labott /CNN
(February 10, 2017) -- Elliott Abrams, who served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, will not get the No. 2 job at the State Department, three Republican sources told CNN. But Abrams was nixed from the list of contenders after President Donald Trump learned of Abrams' biting criticism last May of his fitness to become president, the Republican sources said.
The President found out about Abrams' outspokenness against Trump after meeting with him on Tuesday to consider him for the position, which would have made him Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's deputy. The meeting went well, but Trump could not get past Abrams' past criticism, the sources said.
Abrams, Bush's deputy national security adviser, had emerged as the top contender to become Tillerson's right-hand man.
"This is a loss for the State Department and the country and, for that matter, for the President," said one Republican source. Another Republican source with knowledge of what happened said Abrams would not get the job because of "Donald Trump's thin skin and nothing else."
Tillerson tried to convince Trump to make Abrams his deputy despite the criticism because he felt he needed his foreign policy experience, according to multiple sources. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Jared Kushner also strongly supported Abrams and urged Trump to reconsider, the sources said.
Abrams penned an opinion piece in May in The Weekly Standard titled "When You Can't Stand Your Candidate" after Trump clinched enough support to become the GOP's presumptive nominee.
"The party has nominated someone who cannot win and should not be president of the United States," Abrams wrote in the first line of the article. Despite that critique, Abrams never signed any of the open letters top GOP foreign policy officials penned opposing Trump's nomination.
The criticism went both ways. Trump has lambasted politics advocated by the former national security official. While in the White House, Abrams supported the Iraq War, which Trump backed in its early days but soon vigorously opposed -- particularly on the 2016 campaign trail -- as a "stupid" decision.
And Trump has frequently argued against other views embraced by neoconservatives like Abrams, including that the US has wasted too many resources abroad, particularly in trying to promote democracies in the Middle East -- a key tenet of the Bush administration.
Trump Nixes Elliott Abrams for State Dept. Job
Neocon Warmonger Is Fired before He's Hired
Justin Raimondo / AntiWar.com
(February 10, 2017) -- Despite a media campaign trying to offload neoconservative Elliott Abrams onto the Trump administration, and considerable pressure from within the cabinet to appoint him Deputy Secretary of State, President Trump has decided against including the controversial interventionist and Iraq war supporter in his administration.
Like virtually all of his fellow neoconservatives, Abrams disdained Trump's unwillingness to kowtow to our alleged "allies" and sneered at him for his supposed "ignorance."
Media accounts attribute this to Trump being "thin-skinned" – Abrams was highly critical of Trump during the presidential campaign, as I pointed out on Twitter. But this is a remarkably superficial analysis of what really went on, for Abrams' critique of Trump was that of a globalist who is unalterably opposed to Trump's "America First" foreign policy views.
As our regular readers know, we here at Antiwar.com have been conducting a campaign against Abrams, urging the President not to appoint him and telling our readers to call both the White House and their congressional representatives.
Sen. Rand Paul also signaled that he would oppose Abrams, who would have been subject to Senate confirmation. [See story below -- EAW.]
Rand Paul: Do not let Elliott Abrams anywhere near the State Department
Senator Rand Paul / Ron Paul Liberty Report
(February 7, 2017) -- I hope against hope that the rumors are wrong and that President Donald Trump will not open the State Department door to the neocons. Crack the door to admit Elliott Abrams and the neocons will scurry in by the hundreds.
Neoconservative interventionists have had us at perpetual war for 25 years. While President Trump has repeatedly stated his belief that the Iraq War was a mistake, the neocons (all of them Never-Trumpers) continue to maintain that the Iraq and Libyan Wars were brilliant ideas. These are the same people who think we must blow up half the Middle East, then rebuild it and police it for decades.
They're wrong and they should not be given a voice in this administration.
One of the things I like most about President Trump is his acknowledgement that nation building does not work and actually works against the nation building we need to do here at home. With a $20 trillion debt, we don't have the money to do both.
I urge him to keep that in mind this week when he meets with Elliott Abrams, the rumored pick for second in command to the Secretary of State.
Abrams would be a terrible appointment for countless reasons. He doesn't agree with the president in so many areas of foreign policy and he has said so repeatedly; he is a loud voice for nation building and when asked about the president's opposition to nation building, Abrams said that Trump was absolutely wrong; and during the election he was unequivocal in his opposition to Donald Trump, going so far as to say, "the chair in which Washington and Lincoln sat, he is not fit to sit."
Why then would the president trust him with the second most powerful position in the State Department?
Abrams was equally dismissive throughout Trump's entire candidacy. As a Never-Trumper, he repeatedly said he would neither vote for Clinton nor Trump. He likened the choice to the one the nation faced of McGovern vs. Nixon.
I voted for Rex Tillerson for secretary of state because I believe him to have a balanced approach to foreign policy. My hope is that he will put forward a realist approach. I don't see Abrams as part of any type of foreign policy realism.
Elliott Abrams is a neoconservative too long in the tooth to change his spots, and the president should have no reason to trust that he would carry out a Trump agenda rather than a neocon agenda.
But just as importantly, Congress has good reason not to trust him -- he was convicted of lying to Congress in his previous job.
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