- See also: Opposition to Donald Trump
The Never Trump movement was a political group opposed to Donald Trump's candidacy for President, even after Trump became the front-runner in the 2016 Republican presidential race. The movement included neocons, globalists, Cruzites, Leftists, feminists, and pro-illegal immigration Democrats. There are also some liberal-leaning Republicans who declared their opposition to Trump. These Republican opponents included a handful of current and former elected officials, and a few mostly older commentators and academics. According to a 2019 journal article published by Cambridge University Press, Never-Trumpers are significantly less conservative than supporters of Trump.
The term "Never-Trumper" refers particularly to Republicans who remain stridently, though often secretively, opposed to the Republican president. This includes a cluster of the Utah Establishment, for whom Mitt Romney is a puppet, and various neocons and Koch brothers types.
The stated reasons and motivations of Republican opponents of Trump varied. Some churches opposed Trump because they supported illegal immigration. A few Washington, D.C.-based pro-life organizations and in academia claimed that they opposed Trump based in part on his past comments about women, despite how that is a feminist objection and the current feminists generally support abortion. A "Catholic" letter was publicized against Trump, even though Trump's top campaign staff consisted of devout Catholics and he even spoke highly of Pope Francis, despite the Pope's harsh criticism of Trump's support for building a wall against illegal immigration.
The Never Trump movement is largely synonymous with token conservatives – mainly RINOs and faux conservatives who the liberal media frequently promotes as "conservative" voices. While they are in the extreme minority of the Republican Party, they are heavily promoted by the mainstream media which makes them appear more important than they actually are. David Horowitz, a pro-Trump conservative, has identified two types of NeverTrumpers: those like Bill Kristol who hate Trump so much that they even oppose the most mainstream of his conservative policies and side with the Left, and those who claim to support some of the president's policies while still irrationally opposing him nonetheless. Most NeverTrumpers are politically complacent, claiming to stand for conservative principles but being unconcerned of the advances of leftism and then criticizing President Trump when he actually tries to roll back their advances. They also have the same low moral standards that they claim Trump has. As conservative intellectual Victor Davis Hanson noted, NeverTrumpers are frequently found on left-wing media outlets.
2016 presidential election
According to polling data (which proved inaccurate when trying to predict the general election outcome) Trump entered the 2016 Republican national convention with a majority unfavorable poll number among the entire American people, rather than just GOP primary voters, likely due to unrelentless leftist attacks against him. Regardless, Trump won the primaries and the general election in a historic landslide, illustrating the American people's rejection of the Never Trump movement.
The so-called "pro-life" letter against Trump
A letter signed by merely ten pro-lifers, two of whom were officers of the Susan B. Anthony List, a conservative organization that has been associated with feminism, criticized Trump on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. The letter expressly sided with feminist Megyn Kelly against Trump:
|“||Moreover, as women, we are disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular. He has impugned the dignity of women, most notably Megyn Kelly, he mocked and bullied Carly Fiorina, and has through the years made disparaging public comments to and about many women. Further, Mr. Trump has profited from the exploitation of women in his Atlantic City casino hotel which boasted of the first strip club casino in the country.||”|
There is nothing pro-life about the foregoing criticism. Feminists, as a group other than the individuals mentioned above, are generally big supporters of taxpayer-funded abortion.
"An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics" letter
A so-called Catholic letter dated March 7, 2016 and containing 37 signatories—more than 20% who were associated with the "Ethics and Public Policy Center"—attempted to make a Catholic case against voting for Donald Trump. Here is an excerpt from the letter, which was posted online by National Review:
|“||Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States. His campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country.||”|
One may question what, if anything, the above issue have to do with Catholicism.
The so-called "Conservatives Against Trump" rant in National Review
On Jan. 21, 2016, the neoconservative-leading National Review published a list of 22 individuals who oppose Donald Trump. Most of these individuals are associated with the media, such as Glenn Beck.
The Con Con movement
Many of the Republicans who seek a new federal constitutional convention, or an Article V convention, refused to endorse Donald Trump. For example, Michael Farris stated that he would not endorse Trump. The Koch brothers also were anti-Trump.
Convention delegate fight
Although Trump won a majority of Republican state primaries, many states did not award delegates on a statewide winner take all basis. In addition, although candidates for convention delegates are pledged to specific Presidential candidates, in many cases the individuals selected to serve as delegates are not strong advocates for their pledges. As a result, the Anti-Trump movement unsuccessfully sought to change the rules for the Republican National Convention to eliminate the requirement that delegates pledged to Trump actually vote to nominate Trump as President.
During Trump's presidency
The size and influence of the Never Trump movement had greatly declined by Trump's first year as president. Many never-Trumpers have refused to give Trump credit when he made a decision as president they liked. For example, while some Never Trumpers congratulated President Trump for declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, others – even those known for supporting Israel – stayed silent on the declaration. Many of them also criticized Trump's foreign policy because it put U.S. interests first, and they took a knee-jerk stance against Trump's policies – much of this was to preserve their social acceptance among the liberal elite. Other never-Trumpers eventually warmed to president Trump after seeing his actions as president, and they acknowledged his achievements. Trump succeeded in numerous issues where the Never-Trumpers and the GOP establishment failed.
Conservative critics have described the "Never Trump" movement as useful idiots of the liberal media. As seen with the quick firing of Never Trumper Kevin Williamson from The Atlantic due to his conservative pro-life positions on abortions, their knee-jerk opposition to President Trump did not cause the left-wing media to fully accept them.
In April 2018, David Brooks, himself a Never Trumper, admitted that the Never Trump movement had failed. If it had succeeded, the Supreme Court would have had a 6–3 Democrat majority by mid-2018.
Many Never-Trumpers, despite claiming to be "conservative", openly advocated for electing Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections. This came despite the extreme positions of Democrats. Because of their irrational and reflexive opposition to President Trump, Never-Trumpers were often forced to either support far-left policies or significantly lessen their opposition to them. NeverTrumpers who claimed to be "conservative" openly admitted that they would support far-left Democrats over President Trump. Many "Never Trump" heroes, such as Anthony Scaramucci, are political moderates-to-liberals unfit to govern the U.S. Some Never Trumpers chose to support left-wing Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. While attacking Trump, Never Trumpers did not object to the Democratic Party's promotion of a radical left-wing homosexual agenda.
- Matt Grossmann. Twitter. August 23, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
- Mason, Ian (January 21, 2018). How Never Trump Spent Their First Year in Resistance. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Nolan, Lucas (October 23, 2017). Salon Publishes List of Approved Trump-Hating Twitter Conservatives. Breitbart News. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- Concha, Joe (July 9, 2018). #NeverTrumpers dominate media despite Trump party loyalty at historic high. The Hill. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- Horowitz, David (August 20, 2018). David Horowitz: Trump’s Character and Trump’s Presidency. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- Delingpole, James (August 23, 2018). Delingpole: Trump Derangement Syndrome Is Making Conservatives Lazy, Cowardly and Stupid. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
- Nolte, John (April 23, 2019). Nolte: Bill Kristol Taunts Rudy Giuliani for Getting Cancer. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- Kraychik, Robert (March 13, 2019). Victor Davis Hanson: Never Trump ‘Careerists’ Are ‘Counterfeit Leftists’. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
- "Poll Chart: Donald Trump Favorable Rating", Huffington Post. Retrieved on March 21, 2017.
- "Poll: Clinton, Trump most unfavorable candidates ever", USA Today, Aug 31, 2016. Retrieved on March 21, 2017. “Among U.S. adults, Clinton now has a 56% unfavorability rating, while Trump had 63%.”
- Trump wins presidency, defeats Clinton in historic election upset. Fox News. November 8, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- Goldmacher, Shane & Schreckinger, Ben (November 9, 2016). Trump pulls off biggest upset in U.S. history. Politico. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- $63 Million and Counting: Anti-Trump Ads Take Over the Airwaves, ABC, March 19, 2016
- Trump under attack by 187 organizations directly funded by George Soros, http://drrichswier.com/, March 20, 2016
- Republican Convention. The Green Papers. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- Peters, Jeremy. "In Pennsylvania, Unbound Delegates Remain Wary of Donald Trump", New York Times, April 27, 2016. Retrieved on March 21, 2017.
- The Beltway's 'Whistleblower' Furor Obsesses Over One Name, By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations, October 30, 2019.
- NY Mag: Never Trumpers Crash and Burn. Breitbart News. December 28, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Pollak, Joel B. (December 6, 2017). #NeverTrump on Jerusalem, Embassy Decision: ‘Good for Trump’. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
- Glick, Caroline (August 5, 2018). Caroline Glick: Never Trump’s Insane Foreign Policy. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- Nolte, John (March 3, 2019). Nolte: Never Trump CPAC Coverage Mocks Cancer, Christians, and Baby Murder. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
- Jones, Greg (November 4, 2019). The Downfall of Conservatism, Inc. Human Events. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
- Shaw, Adam (December 19, 2017). ‘Never Trump’ Conservatives Soften to President Trump, Hail His Achievements. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Hilton, Steve (February 18, 2019). Steve Hilton: Never Trumpers just hate that Trump is actually succeeding where they failed. Fox News. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
- Nolte, John (January 15, 2018). Nolte: The Media Has Found Its Useful Idiots in #NeverTrump. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
- Nolte, John (April 6, 2018). Nolte: Kevin Williamson’s ‘Atlantic’ Firing Should Wake Up #NeverTrump (But It Won’t). Breitbart News. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
- Scarry, Eddie (April 10, 2018). David Brooks: 'The anti-Trump movement is a failure'. Washington Examiner. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- Nolte, John (June 29, 2018). Nolte: Never-Trump Would’ve Handed Democrats 6-3 Supreme Court Majority. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
- Multiple references:
- Kurtz, Howard (July 6, 2018). Divorcing Trump: Why some conservatives are now pushing Democrats (!). Fox News. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
- Scaliger, Charles (July 6, 2018). Establishment Conservatives Now Hoping for Democratic Takeover in November. The New American. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
- Scarry, Eddie (July 7, 2018). Media's anti-Trumpers aren't 'leaving' the GOP. They've been fired. Washington Examiner. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
- Hayward, John (February 3, 2019). Hayward: A Wake-Up Call for NeverTrump. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
- Lifson, Thomas (May 30, 2019). Conservatives who want to oust Trump must support these liberal positions. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
- Nichols, Tom (August 15, 2019). Why this Never Trump ex-Republican will vote for almost any 2020 Democratic nominee. USA Today. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
- Bleau, Hannah (August 15, 2019). Never Trumper Jeff Flake Lists Democrat Candidates He Would Support over Trump. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
- McGhee, Kaylee (August 22, 2019). Anthony Scaramucci is the newest Never Trump hero. Washington Examiner. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
- Drucker, David M. (September 19, 2019). Never Trump Republicans plotting to back Biden. Washington Examiner. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
- John Hayward. Twitter. October 11, 2019. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
- Gottfried, Paul (October 29, 2019). ‘The Dispatch’ is Warmed-Over Neoconservative News. The American Conservative. Retrieved October 29, 2019.