Eliot Cohen is no Dick Cheney, but he is a longtime neocon who acted as a cheerleader for the Iraq War and just wrote a book subtitled The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force. In other words, not a guy who shies away from a tough-minded foreign policy. And yet, today he said this:
After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They’re angry, arrogant, screaming “you LOST!” Will be ugly.
— Eliot A Cohen (@EliotACohen) November 15, 2016
Cohen was a pretty public #NeverTrumper, so maybe this is nothing but personal animosity acting out. That happens all the time in Washington. Still, Trump’s staffing decisions so far have all put power solely into the hands of loyalists who worked with him during the campaign, and most of the talk about future picks has been the same. There’s not much sense that he’s yet willing to branch out and choose experienced people who don’t have any particular personal loyalty to him. In addition, the New York Times reports that Mike Pence’s transition operation isn’t going too well:
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition operation plunged into disarray on Tuesday with the abrupt resignation of Mike Rogers, who had handled national security matters, the second shake-up in a week on a team that has not yet begun to execute the daunting task of taking over the government.
…Mr. Pence took the helm of the effort on Friday after Mr. Trump unceremoniously removed Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who had been preparing with Obama administration officials for months to put the complex transition process into motion. Now the effort is frozen, senior White House officials say, because Mr. Pence has yet to sign legally required paperwork to allow his team to begin collaborating with President Obama’s aides on the handover.