Ex-State Dept. Official, After Exchange With Trump Transition Team, Warns People to ‘Stay Away’


Eliot Cohen, who served in the State Department under George W. Bush, spent a lot of the past year lamenting Donald Trump‘s rise in the GOP party, but after Trump’s election he offered some sobering words for Republicans.

Just last week Cohen wrote about the big issue of people joining the Trump administration:

I was one of the ringleaders in denouncing him as unfit by temperament, character, and judgment for political office. They will have no use for me, or, to be fair, I for them. But others, including some of my younger friends, will have jobs dangled in front of them, because the government has to be staffed.

It seems to me that if they are sure that they would say yes out of a sense of duty rather than mere careerism; if they are realistic in understanding that in this enterprise they will be the horse, not the jockey; if they accept that they will enter an administration likely to be torn by infighting and bureaucratic skullduggery, they should say yes. Yes, with two conditions, however: that they keep a signed but undated letter of resignation in their desk office (as I did when I was in government), and that they not recant a word of what they have said thus far.

He added that having professionals who fully understand their service to the country is “more important than ever.”

And he tweeted this out on Sunday:

Well, um, after actually speaking with the Trump transition team, he tweeted this follow-up:

The New York Times has more details about Cohen’s exchange with Trump’s transition team. He told the Times he was asked for recommendations to fill out Trump’s national security team. And then this happened:

But when Mr. Cohen suggested the caveat that many foreign policy hands would only enlist if there were credible people leading national security agencies and departments, he said he received a vituperative email in response.

The tone of the email surprised him, he said, expressing a level of vengefulness at odds with an administration that is trying to fill important national security positions with qualified people.

“They think of these jobs as lollipops,” Mr. Cohen said. “I think we’re on the verge of a crisis here.”

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac