The Bush speechwriter who coined the term ‘axis of evil’ has become one more Never-Trump Republican overtaken by the pace of the events he decries
The chaos that marked Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a hallmark of his presidency. Decorum once associated with the Oval Office has been replaced by “modern presidential”, an amalgam of tantrums, tirades, and tweetstorms, all emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Trump-owned properties. This break with the past is every bit as much about substance as it is style.
Trump’s legal brush-back pitch hurled at the author Michael Wolff, his firing of FBI director James Comey and his taunts of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s dictator, are not simply poses. They graphically reflect Trump’s understanding of his powers and the deference to which he believes his decisions and person are entitled.
David Frum’s Trumpocracy is an attempt by the former speechwriter for George W Bush – author of the term “axis of evil” – and never-Trump Republican to come to grips with this. He laments what he views as “the corruption of the American Republic” and painstakingly catalogs the threats he sees posed by Trump to America, liberal democracy and Europe.
Frum is disturbed by Trump’s nepotism and tropism toward kleptocracy, citing a legal ruling obtained by Trump that the White House was outside the scope of federal anti-nepotism laws. More broadly, Frum is alarmed by Trump “disabling” the “federal government’s inhibition against corruption” and his disdain for the notion that the law should be insulated from politics. To prove his point, Frum cites Trump’s expectation of personal loyalty from federal prosecutors and his public comments that the FBI director “really reports to the president”.
Frum is not sanguine about a return to old norms in a post-Trump America. He observes that…