Congressman John Duncan Jr. writes in The American Conservative that he has learned the same tough lesson from Donald Trump, who he supported, that he did from George W. Bush, whom he also supported.
During the primary campaigns of both candidates, Rep. Duncan was drawn to each by their rhetoric about ending unwinnable wars and not behaving like the world’s policeman.
But after each president came to power, he shifted his stance in the direction of the neoconservative position. The congressman writes of his disappointment about Trump’s shift:
Now, disappointment is settling in once again. I was one of the earliest members of Congress to endorse then-candidate Trump. I did it primarily because he seemed to be the least-hawkish of all the Republicans running for President. As a result, I was one of six members of the House, (along with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL.) who was invited to the Mayflower Hotel in Washington to hear Mr. Trump’s first major foreign policy speech on April 27, 2016.
That speech was filled ideas and sentiments that could have been taken straight from the pages of the American Conservative Magazine.
It was a non-interventionist, anti-nation-building, America First speech.
On many occasions since then—in debates, at rallies, and in tweets—Mr. Trump consistently criticized the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I was so inspired that I later wrote an article for the American Conservative published on Sept. 26, 2016, entitled “Trump vs. the GOP Elite.”
In it I wrote that I was supporting Trump because of his stands on six major issues: courts, trade, immigration, jobs, healthcare, and especially, war. I pointed out that I was the last Republican left in Congress who had actually voted against going to war in Iraq (at the time there were seven, six in the House and one in the Senate).
“The American people are tired of permanent, forever wars” I wrote, adding, “Finally, and most importantly, (Trump) does not seem (like so many leaders today) to have a need to turn every two-bit dictator into another Hitler so he can prove himself to be another Winston Churchill.”
When I heard that President Trump was going to address the Nation about Afghanistan, I hoped he would say we were ending this wasteful, needless war that had already cost this country so much in dead and maimed young people and close to a trillion dollars in costs. I had hoped but doubted, as he has chosen to fill his inner circle with military generals.
Needless to say, he gave a speech that cheered the likes of Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and the neoconservative foreign policy establishment, going back on so many of his campaign pledges.
Read more here.