AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Flanigan
Among former President Donald Trump’s many political talents is his unique ability to drive his opponents seemingly insane to the point of causing their own self-destruction. Trump’s well-established ability to send his critics to the brink of madness, a phenomenon coined by some as “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” has yielded a large coalition of once-respected political figures who have now destroyed themselves. Here are 10 worth noting.
One of the most notable victims of Trump Derangement Syndrome is former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, who repeatedly sought to undermine Trump’s presidency and has since made a series of political swipes surrendering his previous status as a respected military leader.
At the peak of the June 2020 Black Lives Matter riots, for instance, Milley drafted a resignation letter to President Donald Trump that alleged Trump was “doing great and irreparable harm” to the nation. Additionally, at the end of President Trump’s first term, Milley reportedly spoke to a Chinese military official behind Trump’s back to promise he would provide advance warning in the event of a U.S. attack—yet another stunning act of insubordination.
Most recently, Milley shockingly used his farewell ceremony in September to slam Trump as a “wannabe dictator,” not-so-subtly suggesting that Trump had sought to subvert the U.S. Constitution and overthrow American democracy, an extraordinary breach of decorum and common sense. Though his remarks predictably won him plaudits from the corporate media class, his bitter conduct was unbecoming of a top military official.
Another former Trump administration official who surrendered his credibility by allowing his personal disdain for Trump to supersede his duty to the country is former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
After Bolton’s acrimonious exit from the Trump administration in 2019, he became a regular Trump critic on left-wing cable programs. Bolton has blamed his former boss for Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, subtly advocated for the left’s relentless political persecution of the former president, and promoted the left’s false and debunked narrative that Trump is a puppet of Vladimir Putin.
In one of the most bizarre displays of Bolton’s anti-Trump insanity, in January he announced he was considering a 2024 presidential bid as a means of preventing Trump from returning to the White House next November—a move that elicited widespread bipartisan mockery.
Few political commentators have made opposition to Trump a defining feature of their careers quite like Bill Kristol, a supposed conservative whose deep-rooted hatred of the former president nevertheless drove him to support Joe Biden in 2020. “No regrets at all about this,” he tweeted as he announced his decision on Twitter.
A former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quayle, Kristol is best known these days for his leadership of The Bulwark—an anti-Trump publication ostensibly committed to defending “liberal democracy” and resisting “a Bad Orange Man.” Kristol also spends his time pushing for more U.S. funding for Ukraine, bashing Trump on Twitter, and encouraging Republican voters to abandon their party leading up to the 2024 presidential election.
“We are all Democrats now,” Kristol wrote in a February 2020 tweet. In light of his notoriously poor judgement and bad track record of predictions, Kristol’s formal departure from the conservative movement has been a positive development for the American right.
Former National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg’s long descent in recent years into the depths of allying himself with left-wing extremism marks another unfortunate instance of Trump Derangement Syndrome in the media.
Goldberg, who once held a prized place among the conservative commentariat class, has now been largely relegated to obscurity in the ranks of left-wing cable shows on CNN and MSNBC. On account of his seething hatred of Trump, Goldberg left National Review to found The Dispatch, a so-called “conservative” publication that has served chiefly as a safe haven for Never Trump has-beens like Goldberg and fellow refugee from National Review David French.
When he’s not attacking Trump and the America First agenda on social media, Goldberg earns a lucrative paycheck from liberal media conglomerates. In a particularly embarrassing CNN appearance in August, he went so far as to deem small-dollar Trump donors as “one of the biggest problems for democracy.”
The man who famously wrote the book on “Liberal Fascism” has amazingly now placed himself in a political coalition with socialists and Marxists who are trying to weaponize every dimension of government and corporate power to persecute and silence their political opponents.
Once seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s fall from political grace has marked one of the most fascinating political stories of the last decade.
Previously praised as the “future of the GOP,” a conservative “fighter,” and a political “disruptor” who would hold sway in the Republican Party for years to come, Christie has redefined himself as the media’s favorite anti-Trump warrior who is more concerned with attacking the former president than promoting conservative causes.
Prior to entering the 2024 presidential race, Christie joined ABC News, one of the most dishonest news organizations in the country, as a contributor, where he raked in $400,000 a year. His status in the 2024 race is increasingly seen as an opportunity for him to secure his next lofty cable news gig, which he would almost certainly use to further brand himself as an anti-Trump “conservative.”
If Christie’s consistent polling in the low single digits is any indication, however, voters do not approve of his change in career path.
Former Bush White House Communications Director Nicolle Wallace, once a major Republican political operative, now works as an MSNBC host who regularly launches into tirades against Trump and other right-of-center figures in American politics. Most recently, Wallace went viral for a rant against the supposed dangers Trump poses to American democracy, insisting that “something really bad is going to happen.” She continued: “S***’s about to hit the fan in this country,” going on to refer to the “MAGA base” as a “cesspool.”
This episode was far from Wallace’s only moment of visible mental illness on air. Last month, she called the Republican Party the “largest anti-democratic force on the planet.” She has claimed that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s education policies have made her “sick and sad and angry.” And last year, she stated that there is “rot” in white women who have supported Donald Trump.
Wallace now describes herself as a “self-loathing former Republican.” Most Republicans, too, are glad that she has moved on.
Wallace’s MSNBC colleague Joe Scarborough is another notorious example of a one-time “conservative” seemingly driven insane during the Trump era. A former Republican Congressman from Florida’s first congressional district, Scarborough is now famously the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, on which he regularly lambasts conservatives and parrots the favorite talking points of the Democrat Party and progressive activist class.
Earlier this year, he claimed on air that the “rotted corpse” of the Republican Party is on an “eight-year march toward fascism.” He has also accused Trump donors of funding “white supremacy,” and earlier this year opined that Trump’s town hall on CNN was “as chilling as anything I’ve seen on television since January 6th.”
Much like Nicolle Wallace, Scarborough’s newfound animosity towards Trump and Republicans is certainly mutual. It’s almost hard to believe that Scarborough once tried to overthrow the speakership of Newt Gingrich for ostensibly not being conservative enough.
Longtime Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace seemingly lost his mind on live television during the first presidential debate in 2020, which he moderated. During the debate, Wallace routinely cut off Trump while allowing Biden to repeatedly interrupt the former president, while at the same time hurling hard-hitting questions at Trump and frequently interjecting in defense of Biden.
Instead of focusing on substantive issues like Biden’s support for court-packing, the Green New Deal, or defunding the police, Wallace insisted on pivoting to “more substantial subjects” like “climate change”—which consistently ranks near the bottom of issues that voters care about.
In 2022, following his widely criticized debate performance, Wallace left Fox to launch the short-lived “CNN+,” which was infamously discontinued by CNN less than a full month after it kicked off. It seems Wallace hated Trump so much that he threw away his own career to work for one of the most outspoken anti-Trump networks, only to be relegated to obscurity.
Although Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post’s token “conservative” columnist, left the Republican Party in 2020, her political attitude—particularly in recent years—suggests that her allegiance has long been allied with the left.
As political commentator Charles Cooke observed of Rubin’s Trump hatred back in 2017, she “stands out among Trump-obsessed zealots who add nothing to our discourse”—repeatedly flip-flopping on key issues like the Paris Climate Accords, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Her position on virtually every issue is essentially defined as, “the opposite of whatever Trump says.”
Though she openly branded herself as a “conservative” for the majority of her career, Rubin has condemned the GOP for allegedly caring only about “white Christianity,” compared pro-life laws to “something out of Communist China,” and has called to “burn down the Republican Party.”
As Cooke wrote of Rubin, “like so many others in the conservative-nay-resistance,” she simply “does not much understand the philosophy at all.”
Yet another figure driven to lunacy during the Trump era is former Ohio Governor John Kasich, who ran against Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries. Though Kasich had long been respected in the Republican Party first as a leading member of Congress and then as a successful governor, his full betrayal of the conservative cause came in 2020 when he endorsed Joe Biden and spoke at the Democratic National Convention. In his remarks, he hailed Biden as “a man for our times.”
Since 2020, Kasich has joined MSNBC as a contributor, where he has remained complicit in the left’s attempts to undermine conservative values. Much like other Never Trump Republicans, Kasich has made his opposition to Trump’s America First agenda the defining characteristic of his career, income, and public image.
Though there are many more people who have been pushed to the brink of mental breakdown by Donald Trump, one thing remains clear: as long as Trump remains active in American politics, he will continue to drive the left and establishment Republicans crazy.
Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.