'Stay away': Top professor backtracks on call to co-operate with Donald Trump's team after meeting with them

'After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They're angry, arrogant, screaming "you LOST!"  Will be ugly,' tweets Professor of Strategic Studies Eliot A Cohen

Click to follow
The Independent US

A leading professor of international politics has backtracked on his call for young Republicans disinclined to work with Donald Trump's administration to give the 45th President of the United States a chance.

After meeting with members of Mr Trump's transition team, Professor Eliot A Cohen from Johns Hopkins University reversed his original position by saying that working for the billionaire businessman could mean "compromising one’s integrity and reputation".

Professor Cohen said he experienced an unpleasant encounter over the phone with a senior member of Mr Trump's team, who allegedly vented his fury at all those who had opposed the Republican nominee.

In response, he announced his disappointment on Twitter, stating: "After exchange with Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They're angry, arrogant, screaming "you LOST!"

A national security expert, Professor Cohen had signed two anti-Trump foreign policy letters before election night. After Mr Trump's victory, however, he decided to help promote working in a new Republican White House in eight years.

Writing in The Washington Post, Professor Cohen said: "I am a national security Never-Trumper who, after the election, made the case that young conservatives should volunteer to serve in the new administration, warily, their undated letters of resignation ready. That advice, I have concluded, was wrong.

Trump gets public reality check from Barack Obama

"The tenor of the Trump team, from everything I see, read and hear, is such that, for a garden-variety Republican policy specialist, service in the early phase of the administration would carry a high risk of compromising one’s integrity and reputation."

A former counsellor to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during George W Bush's Presidency, Professor Cohen said the President-elect's team was likely to be comprised largely of "yes men" .

He said: "Trump was not a normal candidate, the transition is not a normal transition, and this will probably not be a normal administration.

"The President-elect is surrounding himself with mediocrities whose chief qualification seems to be unquestioning loyalty.

"He gets credit for becoming a statesman when he says something any newly-elected president might say and then reverts to tweeting against demonstrators and The New York Times."

The appointment of far-right white nationalist Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist and senior counsellor has inspired severe criticism not just from Democrats but also from the Republican establishment.

Mr Bannon, who is chairman of right-wing news website Breibart News, has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks and using Breitbart to push a "white ethno-nationalism agenda" - a former colleague wrote in The Daily Wire.

Professor Cohen said Bannon was not the only problem member of Mr Trump's team. He said: "No band of brothers this: rather the permanent campaign as waged by triumphalist rabble-rousers and demagogues, abetted by people out of their depth and unfit for the jobs they will hold, gripped by grievance, resentment and lurking insecurity.

"Their mistakes - because there will be mistakes - will be exceptional."