Eliot Cohen, a former official in President George W. Bush's administration, has blasted President Donald Trump's maneuvers during his first days in office. Cohen accused Trump of already committing executive overreach and further dividing the country, predicting that the president will be impeached before completing his first term in office.
On Jan. 29, Cohen critiqued Trump's first 10 days in the Oval Office in an editorial for The Atlantic. Having previously served as a counselor to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from 2007 to 2009, Cohen is currently the director of Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies.
The former Bush official accused Trump of delivering a divisive inaugural address and insulting CIA officials during his visit to a memorial honoring their fallen. Cohen also blasted Trump for signing an executive order prohibiting travel from several Muslim-majority countries and appointing the White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon to the Principals Committee of the National Security Council, a seat historically reserved for generals. In Cohen's view, Trump does not have the temperament to be president.
"Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better," Cohen wrote. "It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity -- substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one of more new wars ... on top of the ones we already have."
The former Bush official asserted that the trajectory of Trump's presidency is pointed towards eventual impeachment.
"It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment," Cohen continued. "The sooner Americans get used to these likelihoods, the better."
Cohen issued a warning to conservative lawmakers who defend Trump, asserting that they will be judged harshly by history.
"For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time," Cohen wrote. "Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it."
While polling indicates that Trump is the most divisive president in modern U.S. history, the data also provides a clear reason why GOP lawmakers are unlikely to break from him.
On Jan. 30, a poll conducted by Morning Consult found that while only 47 percent of registered voters have a favorable view of Trump while 48 percent view him unfavorably, the president is approved of by 86 percent of self-identified Republicans in GOP districts, The New York Times reports.
As long as Trump continues to enjoy strong support from conservative constituents, it would be politically damaging for Republican lawmakers to publicly speak out against him with the 2018 midterms looming.
Cohen asserted that while he views Trump's agenda as a violation of American values and his temperament to be dangerous, he believes that the president's efforts will ultimately be in vain.
"He will fail because however shrewd his tactics are, his strategy is terrible ... With every act he makes new enemies for himself and strengthens their commitment; he has his followers, but he gains no new friends," Cohen wrote.
The former Bush official concluded that Trump "will fail most of all because at the end of the day most Americans, including most of those who voted for him, are decent people who have no desire to live in an American version of... Vladimir Putin's Russia."