Former Staffer in Bush Administration Telling Conservatives Not to Join Trump’s Cabinet

Posted: Nov 16, 2016 10:20 AM

Eliot Cohen, a former senior counselor to the State Department under the George W. Bush administration, is instructing conservatives not to join Trump’s administration.

After working for a short time with Trump’s transition team, Cohen has announced that he (again) does not think foreign policy experts should become part of Trump’s administration out of principle.

Cohen’s opinion on Trump has had a back-and-forth throughout the 2016 campaign. Cohen began the election as a Never-Trumper. After Trump’s election victory, Cohen decided to take another view when a friend inside the Trump team asked for his help with the transition process. However, after dealing with what he described as a hostile environment, he is back to bashing the president-elect and instructing fellow conservatives to boycott his administration.

Besides his announcement on Twitter, Cohen also penned an op-ed for the Washington Post to detail his exchange with the Trump team and why he has changed his position.

My bottom line: Conservative political types should not volunteer to serve in this administration, at least for now. They would probably have to make excuses for things that are inexcusable and defend people who are indefensible. At the very least, they should wait to see who gets the top jobs. Until then, let the Trump team fill the deputy assistant secretary and assistant secretary jobs with civil servants, retired military officers and diplomats, or the large supply of loyal or obsequious second-raters who will be eager to serve. The administration may shake itself out in a year or two and reach out to others who have been worried about Trump. Or maybe not.

Cohen was apparently so taken aback by an email exchange with a staffer who directed anger towards Never Trumpers that he felt compelled to stop assisting their transition process and instruct others to do the same for the sake of their “integrity.” Cohen described Trump as "not a normal candidate" with a burgeoning administration that is also not normal.

Cohen appeared to pivot his opinion once again, with a tweet later that day in support of a John Bolton nomination for secretary of state.