In a far-reaching interview with Politico, two long time conservatives who opposed not only the election of President Donald Trump, but his nomination, stated that he has been worse than expected and he would likely have ascended to dictator status were it not for American “checks and balances.”
According to both conservative Foreign Policy columnist Max Boot and ex-Condoleezza Rice adviser Eliot Cohen, Trump is “incredibly erratic and unpredictable,” and has put the country at more risk since being elected.
Boot admitted that, “some of the worst-case scenarios that we imagined have yet, mercifully, come to pass,” with Cohen chiming in to say, “It’s true, they haven’t started World War III yet … That’s a pretty low bar.”
According to Boot, who normally opines on foreign affairs, Trump is doing an impressive amount of damage domestically.
“In many ways, the damage he’s doing at home is even worse, where he’s undermining the rule of law,” Boot explained. “He’s obstructing justice. He’s lending the support of the presidency to monsters like Roy Moore. He is exacerbating race relations. He is engaging in the most blatant xenophobia, racism and general bigotry that we have seen from the White House.”
He added, “All these things are very corrosive to the future of American democracy.”
Asked if wasn’t maybe being a bit too hard on the President, Boot stated that if not for the U.S. system of government, Trump might well be a dictator already.
“Look, the good news story of the first year of the Trump presidency is that there are checks and balances, ” Boot told Politico. “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.”
Discussing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Cohen took a hard shot at the president.
“In some ways the most appalling thing of all, that he continues to question the fact of a very serious Russian attack on the core of our political system,” Cohen stated. “I mean, I don’t know how you get more reckless and dangerous than that. And you know, the president’s first obligation is to defend the country. And in this respect, he doesn’t seem to be interested in doing that.”
Cohen also defended his refusal to fall in line with conservatives who have held their noses while backing Trump.
“Honestly and truly, the moment when I decided to do this, we’d had my kids over to the house and my grandchildren. I was looking at my little granddaughter and I was just thinking, ‘What’s going to happen when she comes back home on spring break, you know, 15, 16 years from now, and she says, Grandpa, I’ve been reading about this crazy period and I guess you were around there. I know you wrote a lot, but what did you do when this was happening?’ And I just thought, ‘I have to be able to give her a decent answer.'”
Boot agreed, saying he loathed Trump from the moment the New York Business man announced he was running for President.
“I was just outraged about Trump from day one, when he rode down that damn escalator at the Trump Tower and started bashing Mexicans. I mean, I could not believe this was a mainstream political candidate in the United States,” he remarked. “I was just—like everybody else, I kind of assumed that he was going to be a flash in the pan; that the Republican Party could never possibly nominate him.”
“But I think I was dead right in my judgment that this is somebody who is not fit to hold office, and I think he has shown that pretty much every single day that he has been in office,” he continued. “And I think one of the shocking, if not entirely surprising, things is the extent to which he has not changed one iota. He has not become one degree more presidential in the year since he took office.”
You can read and listen to the entire interview here.