Rumors of a Romney apology to Trump, the price of his being put forward as the nominee for Secretary of State, circulate in the ether of the internet. What he’ll actually say, if anything, is a matter of conjecture. Romney made a lot of scathing accusations of Trump! How do you take back those statements made with such seeming earnestness and still hold any credibility? Well, this is my approach. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Romney apology that should be. Enjoy!
Ladies and gentlemen of the press. Thank you for your kind attention today. As you know, over the last several days, there has been a lot of speculation about the possibility of me filling the Secretary of State slot in a new Trump administration. Certainly, it is well known that I have been meeting with Mr. Trump lately, and this possibility has been discussed. However, the President elect has requested that before a formal offer of the Secretary position can be made, I must first issue an apology for my criticism of Mr. Trump during the campaign. After giving this a fair amount of consideration, I have the following Statement.
In the fog of the 2016 campaign, I made several critical remarks of Donald Trump. I said that he wasn’t a conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan.1 I also said that that his business successes were exaggerated, his policy prescriptions were flimsy, his foreign policy ideas were ridiculous and discriminatory.1 Should he become President, I said, his economic policies would lead to recession. Additionally, I claimed that dishonesty was his hallmark, and that bullying, greed, braggadocio, misogyny, and third-grade theatrics marked his personal character.1 I said all things, and many others still, but I think you get the picture.
Anyway, since the election, I’ve had time to reconsider these beliefs and observations on Donald Trump, some of which were made over the course of years. I’ve been paying close attention to Donald, and how he has performed since his victory over Hillary Clinton, and I have come to an inescapable conclusion: my critique of Donald, given during the campaign, was essentially correct. As of this moment, there exists little new information that compels me to change my mind or revise my conclusions. Donald Trump remains essentially the same morally bereft con-man, now, that he was before the election. Donald has demonstrated this in many ways. For instance, consider Donald’s failure to deliver on his promise to set himself apart from his business dealings should he win the Presidency. To date, Donald has not sold his businesses, put them a blind trust, or turned over his companies to his children, with Donald staying out of company affairs and they staying out of state affairs. No. He continues to operate both the affairs of state and business, intermixing them along with his family. In fact, in countries where he holds interest, like Argentina, he seems to have used his inevitable office to benefit himself and his businesses, receiving the permits that had hitherto been stalled. The timing and the appearances of this point to impropriety. If true, this would be a gross dereliction of the grave responsibilities of the great office that Donald will soon occupy. Donald knows better.
Adding to the warning signs that Donald will be nothing more than a politician after the most cynical tradition is his rapid retreat from some of his more important campaign promises. Donald promised to tell his Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate possible crimes committed by Secretary Clinton, but has since backed away from this promise on more than one occasion. Certainly, an argument could be made about preserving the independence of the AG by not demanding an independent prosecutorial appointment, but that is not the argument being made by Trump and his surrogates. Instead, they echo the need to move on, to not hurt her, or more ridiculously, to “help her heal.” What about justice, Mr. Trump? Doesn’t that bear consideration? If Secretary Clinton committed crimes (as it appears she has) shouldn’t she get her day in court as any less politically connected American citizen most certainly would? And if not, what signal would that send to the would-be corrupt and powerful? More importantly, what does the decision to allow Hillary Clinton to escape justice portend for how the Trump administration will conduct its business? The answer to that likely will fill the country with doubt and apprehension, not hope for the country’s stability. They might ask themselves, “What separates our country from so many Banana Republics, run merely on the whim of a strong man?” What, indeed?
And what about Obamacare? Donald promised to repeal this very unpopular, failing, and oppressive law. However, it seems that after one meeting with the current President and his no-doubt highly flattering reception of Trump, Donald is willing to retain some of the more expensive and crippling parts of that law. This is disturbing, not only for how easily pliable Donald seems to be under the influence of a complimenting tongue, but also how it calls into question Donald’s convictions. I give credit to all involved for being compassionate towards those with pre-existing conditions, and certainly this is an issue that needs to be dealt with, but using the power of government to force insurers to accept them is not only improper, it will result in the government having greater involvement in the healthcare industry (which historically has been a net negative), including employing greater public funds from an already bankrupt government. Donald needs to keep his promise of a full repeal of Obamacare, and also develop free market solutions to solve this and other healthcare issues, and not just offer big government by Trump rather than Obama as a solution. As President, he’s supposed to be the people’s servant and act in their best interests, and not do merely what is politically expedient. It’s not about him. He can’t treat the U.S. as if it were merely one of his casinos, one that he can cast aside in the event it goes belly-up, safe in the knowledge that he’ll be protected while his investors have to pay the piper.
I could go on. Trump’s issues are not confined only to the one’s that I’ve mentioned. That is not to say that none of Donald’s solutions have been completely lacking in merit, but he’s shown little that he has the knowledge of nor any interest in dealing with the important and even existential issues that the U.S. faces, such as the $30 trillion dollars in debt that looms on the horizon like a hurricane. Should things not dramatically change in this area, meaning the dramatic reduction of federal expenditures (something Donald is loath to do), the U.S. faces an economic calamity possibly worse than any that world has yet born witness to.
I really wish that I was wrong about these things, or that Trump had, in some significant way, reformed. Unfortunately, the only thing that has changed since the primary is that this severely morally-compromised man now has real power. This does not please me. I take no joy in saying these things nor pleasure in my predictions being proved right. I care about my country, and this country needs a wise and capable President, now more than ever. I will remain ever wishful that Donald has an epiphany motivating him to rise to the requirements of his august office, but this is not the lesson of history. As Edward Johnson of the old Massachusetts Bay Colony once observed, “Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good and the government cannot be bad…But if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn…[T]hough good laws do well, good men do better; for good laws may want good men and be abolished or invaded by ill men; but good men will never want good laws nor suffer ill ones.”2
It has been suggested that Donald’s consideration of me for Secretary of State has always been a charade, and that Donald never really intended to nominate me for the position. Instead, what he wanted was to humble me for my previous comments, to get me to apologize and then give the position to a less independent person. Putting in Donald’s terms, he wanted to get me on my knees, as, during the election, he once bragged he could do if he so chose. Well Donald, I’m not in the habit of apologizing for telling the truth. Furthermore, I have no interest in serving in an administration where, because of Trump’s Machiavellian machinations, the status quo is such that honesty is always in doubt, where conservative solutions are often seen as means to pacify the base instead of being the determined plans of the President, and where it seems corruption is firmly ensconced even before the oath of office is administered.
Like many Republicans, I support my party for its ideals and values. I don’t support it because I like the color red. Likewise, I opposed Hillary and the Democrats based on principle, not party loyalty. If, under Donald’s leadership, my party comes to represent the antithesis of the time-honored and time-tested values of inclusion, limited government, and individual liberty, principles that have served it and the country well, then the party will no longer have me as an advocate. If recent reports are true, that Trump advisers are circulating in Congress the idea that this is no longer the party of Reagan, then I’d say that the GOP is already on that lamentable track. Under Trump, the only real principle is personal loyalty to Donald himself, not loyalty to the country, the Constitution, conservative principles, or even decency. My serving as Secretary of State would do little to changed that, and so I would rather not have history attach my good name to that of Trump. Those that have condescended to associating with Donald, good and principled people, instead of positively affecting Donald have only found themselves ethically or ideologically tainted. I will not join them. I’ve tried too hard to be an honorable person to throw that away for anyone. My public service was motivated through an interest of being some use to our beloved country, for the good. I am not so interested in power that I would principally change who am in order to gain it. Therefore, as if it’s not clear by this point, I am not interested in being Trump’s Secretary of State nor serving in a Trump administration in any capacity. I will not apologize. It is up to President Trump to prove me wrong, to prove to me and the rest of the country that he is more than just the lesser evil of a deeply divide election. Should he do this, proven though sustained ethical and wise leadership, then, I will happily apologize. To that end, I wish Mr. Trump success, and to America, I bid good luck!