Ex-Bush aide Peter Wehner slams Trump Jr. over speech

A former top speechwriter for President George W. Bush slammed Donald Trump Jr. this past weekend over a recent speech in which the former first son lamented that conservatives had “ceded ground in every major institution in our country.”

In an op-ed published by The Atlantic Sunday, Peter Wehner took issue with Trump Jr.’s Dec. 19 remarks at the America Fest Conference hosted by Turning Point USA.

“If we get together, they cannot cancel us all. Okay? They won’t. And this will be contrary to a lot of our beliefs because — I’d love not to have to participate in cancel culture. I’d love that it didn’t exist,” Trump Jr. said, according to Wehner. 

“But as long as it does, folks, we better be playing the same game. Okay? We’ve been playing tee-ball for half a century while they’re playing hardball and cheating, right?” he added. “We’ve turned the other cheek, — and I understand, sort of, the biblical reference. I understand the mentality — but it’s gotten us nothing. Okay? It’s gotten us nothing while we’ve ceded ground in every major institution in our country.”

Peter Wehner described Donald Trump Jr. as “intensely unappealing and uninteresting.”
Ethics and Public Policy Center

In his op-ed, Wehner lambasted the 45th president’s oldest son as “intensely unappealing and uninteresting” and “a crude, one-dimensional figure who has done a remarkably good job of keeping from public view any redeeming qualities he might have.”

However, Wehner said he was calling attention to Trump Jr.’s statements because they represented “a message for the tens of millions of evangelicals who form the energized base of the GOP: the scriptures are essentially a manual for suckers. The teachings of Jesus have ‘gotten us nothing.’ It’s worse than that, really; the ethic of Jesus has gotten in the way of successfully prosecuting the culture wars against the left.

“If the ethic of Jesus encourages sensibilities that might cause people in politics to act a little less brutally, a bit more civilly, with a touch more grace?” Wehner, who also worked in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, interpreted Trump Jr. as saying. “Then it needs to go. Decency is for suckers.”

Wehner theorized that this mentality, which he called the “Trumpian ethic,” has taken over the Republican Party.  

Don. Jr.
Peter Wehner criticized Donald Trump Jr. and his father, former President Donald Trump, for the “Trumpian ethic” taking over the Republican Party.
Brian Cahn/ZUMAPRESS.com

“Donald Trump and his oldest son have become evangelists of a different kind,” he wrote, adding that “it would be naive and irresponsible to pretend that what we have seen since Donald Trump left office is the revivification of ethical standards and demands for moral excellence within the Republican Party.”

“When Liz Cheney is more despised in the party than the crazed Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Jim Jordan, Madison Cawthorn, or Donald Trump Jr., you know that the GOP has lost its moral bearings,” Wehner emphasized, adding that while he was sure many in the party would like to move on from Trump, “the Trump family and MAGA world won’t let us. And they’re playing for keeps.”

Trump Jr. had no immediate response to Wehner’s piece.