Earlier this week, Eliot Cohen wrote in these pages that if Republicans are asked to serve in the Trump Administration, they should do so, if cautiously:
You asked what I thought about going to work in a Trump Administration. I do not have to worry about that, of course: I was one of the ringleaders in denouncing him as unfit by temperament, character, and judgment for political office. They will have no use for me, or, to be fair, I for them. But others, including some of my younger friends, will have jobs dangled in front of them, because the government has to be staffed.
It seems to me that if they are sure that they would say yes out of a sense of duty rather than mere careerism; if they are realistic in understanding that in this enterprise they will be the horse, not the jockey; if they accept that they will enter an administration likely to be torn by infighting and bureaucratic skullduggery, they should say yes. Yes, with two conditions, however: that they keep a signed but undated letter of resignation in their desk office (as I did when I was in government), and that they not recant a word of what they have said thus far. Public service means making accommodations, but everyone needs to understand that there is a point where crossing a line, even an arbitrary line, means, as Sir Thomas More says in A Man for All Seasons, letting go without hope of ever finding yourself again.
Now, he’s changing his tune, writing in the Washington Post that an encounter with the transition team left him very worried about the direction of the incoming administration:
My about-face began with a discreet request to me from a friend in Trumpworld to provide names — unsullied by having signed the two anti-Trump foreign policy letters — of those who might be willing to serve. My friend and I had agreed to disagree a while back about my taking an uncompromising anti-Trump stand; now, he wanted assistance and I willingly complied.
After an exchange about a senior figure who would not submit a résumé but would listen if contacted, an email exchange ensued that I found astonishing. My friend was seething with anger directed at those of us who had opposed Donald Trump — even those who stood ready to help steer good people to an administration that understandably wanted nothing to do with the likes of me, someone who had been out front in opposing Trump since the beginning.
Read the whole thing.