On Thursday night, radio show host, author, and former Education Secretary Bill Bennett appeared on Fox News. During his appearance, Bennett praised Donald Trump for apologizing for certain things he said earlier in the campaign, after which Bennett proceeded to blast conservative NeverTrumpers:
He does not need to speak to the “Never Trumpers,” some of my friends – or maybe former friends – who suffer from a terrible case of moral superiority and put their own vanity and taste above the interest of the country.
This is coming from the editor of The Book of Virtues. It says everything about Bennett’s development in recent years — and none of it good — that he has gone from “virtue is the most important thing in life” to “you need to support Trump even though he’s a liar, hypocrite, and serial adulterer!”
In any case, conservative columnist and passionate NeverTrumper David French had what must be the best possible response to Bennett’s accusations. He explains at National Review:
Yes, voters have a responsibility to exercise good judgment. But the greatest responsibility lies with the con artist and his knowing enablers. Trump — like Obama before him — is selling hope. But that hope is a false hope, and all those “establishment” figures who scorn the alleged “moral preening” of Never Trump know it. They’re aware of the pyramid scheme, and they choose to further it anyway, like the minions who circulate to cheap hotels across the land, pitching scams in meeting rooms. They’re co-conspirators.
No one likes to be told they’re wrong. But it is, in fact, wrong to support Trump, and when I see a member of the GOP establishment selling the Trump brand, I’m transported back to Kentucky, watching a huckster exploit people I love.
French rightfully calls Trump a “snake-oil salesman of years past” who “promises the cure as he exacerbates the disease.”
There may be some American conservatives who will vote for Trump simply because he isn’t Hillary Clinton. But it says everything about Trump and his followers that this is the only argument they have left. Those who can read between the lines can’t help but conclude that Bennett and co. know Trump is everything they used to rail against. They’re only supporting him because they believe that Hillary is even worse.
Perhaps, but that doesn’t give you the right to accuse those who can’t take that step — simply because Trump represents almost everything they despise — of “putting their own vanity and taste above the interest of the country.” They simply put their own values above the drive to “win” for winning’s sake. Not too long ago, the author of The Book of Virtues would undoubtedly have agreed with them.
Sadly, like so many others Bennett has decided to sell out his principles for “Team GOP.” He’s free to do so, but don’t come nagging and complaining that others won’t compromise their virtues too.