The release of the Mueller report and the ever-increasing Democratic field for the 2020 presidential race have flushed the Never Trumpers and neocons out of the woodwork once again. This brings to mind an immediate question: What have these people learned since their political world went up in smoke three years ago?
For a pair of prominent 2016 Never Trumpers, an intense loathing of the president seems on boil barely beneath the surface. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) tweeted out his perfunctory scolding of Trump after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings, writing in a manner so predictable that the term “workaday” best applies. In short, wagging his finger at Trump seems to be Romney’s main job as a Republican senator.
Romney rather futilely portrays himself as the self-appointed “conscience” of a party filled with grassroots members who do not remotely consider him to be the leader of anything. He first road-tested this act in 2016, “disqualifying” Trump for not repudiating ex-KKK grand wizard David Duke’s endorsement fast enough for his liking. Trump won the election. Romney continued to claim the moral high ground against Trump on racial issues in 2017 and 2018 and failed again to make any real impact. Is it any surprise, then, that he would be “sickened” by the Mueller report? What is a tad confusing is how he can’t see that his moral posturing has been totally ineffective. Whether you like him or not, Romney is not moving the needle at all with his sermonizing approach.
And then there is prominent pundit Ben Shapiro, who doesn’t seem to fit the label of a strict Never Trumper or neoconservative; he has long been both. However, he has a knack for not getting tied down by any position he may have held previously. This allows him to appeal to many Trump supporters while barely concealing, if at all, his antipathy toward the president he vowed he would “never vote for” in 2016.