The worst crime committed by Elliot Abrams, Trump’s dumped deputy secretary of State pick, wasn’t against the law
Elliot Abrams is many men in one–an old-pro at the State department, a staunch neoconservative, and a convicted criminal, having pled guilty to two charges of withholding evidence during the Iran-Contra affair.
And, for a few weeks, he was also rumored to be Pres. Donald Trump’s choice for deputy secretary of State, a position that holds immense importance, especially with a secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who is new to diplomacy and will need time to adjust to the State Department’s methods and objectives.
However, according to CNN, Trump is no longer considering Abrams for the post. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Abrams’s checkered history that cost him, or even Abrams’s strong support of the Iraq War, which Trump has publicly criticized.
No, the biggest crime that Abrams committed, the one earning his banishment from the State Department, was insulting Trump’s ego.
Back in May, after Trump’s victories in the Republican primaries, Abrams wrote an op-ed for The Weekly Standard called “When You Can’t Stand Your Nominee,” which aims to teach “Never Trump” Republicans lessons about shaping their party. Abrams based it on his own experiences as a “foreign policy hardliner” Democrat in 1972 who opposed the party’s 1972 presidential candidate, lefty George McGovern.
In the piece, Abrams does not explicitly condemn or even criticize Trump, but he does seem to look forward at the conclusion to 2020, four years after what Abrams assumed would be Trump’s electoral defeat, when “Trump will be gone, and a new generation of Republican leaders like Rubio and Cruz and Ryan and Cotton and Haley and Sasse will still be in their forties.”
But even if Trump never got to that last paragraph, he may have discarded Abrams based on the opening, a little bait-and-switch joke in which Abrams appears to be bashing Trump: “The party has nominated someone who cannot win and should not be president of the United States,” hewrites before revealing that he’s describing 1972, not 2016.
It’s certainly understandable why Trump would be upset about that, assuming he never made it to the second paragraph.
Said one of CNN’s sources, Abrams’s job was ultimately lost to “Donald Trump’s thin skin and nothing else.”