In a new column for The New York Times, Bret Stephens, a self-proclaimed conservative "Never-Trumper" praised President Donald Trump for the way he handled the controversy surrounding the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
The column is titled ‘For Once, I’m Grateful for Trump’ and focuses on Trump standing up to what Stephens calls “sly moral bullying.”
Despite Trump mocking Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, “in his ugly gratuitous way at a rally,” Stephens wrote, he is “grateful because Trump has not backed down in the face of slipperiness, hypocrisy and dangerous standard-setting deployed by opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”
“I’m grateful because he’s a big fat hammer fending off a razor-sharp dagger,” Stephens added.
Stephens claimed he started feeling this way about Trump’s response after a friend told him he’d rather be accused of murder than sexual assault, to which Stephens said, “I feel the same way.” He added, “One can think of excuses for killing a man; none for assaulting a woman.”
“Falsely accusing a person of sexual assault is nearly as despicable as sexual assault itself,” he wrote. “It inflicts physical, familial, reputational and professional harms that can last a lifetime. This is nothing to sneer at.”
Stephens even took aim at his own publication for publishing a 1983 handwritten letter by Kavanaugh where he wrote, “We’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.”
“Adolescent boasting now being treated as if it is a crucial piece of incriminating evidence,” Stephens said of the letter.
The rest of the piece focuses on different moments that led him to his opinion on the confirmation. “I’ll admit to feeling grateful that, in Trump, at least one big bully was willing to stand up to others,” he concludes.
Stephens joined The New York Times in April of 2017, and has written several pieces critical of Trump. In December of 2017, he penned a piece titled “Why I’m Still a NeverTrumper,” and in August he wrote a piece criticizing Trump’s rhetoric about the media, titled “Trump Will Have Blood on His Hands.”
Also in December of 2017, Stephens told MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle that “until last year, I voted Republican in every single election,” but added “I think I speak not only for myself but for many other people that I could never vote ever again for a party that is making an open endorsement of a man against whom there are credible accusation of pedophilia,” in reference to former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Stephens' position resembles others from prominent "Never-Trump" conservatives, including Erick Erickson, who wrote on Friday: “I find myself in an odd position where, for the first time, I see myself, one of the original so-called 'Never Trump' conservatives, voting for President Trump in 2020,” adding “The political press has behaved as co-conspirators with the Democrats in the Kavanaugh matter. They have clearly been fully co-conspirators with the Democrats in the Kavanaugh matter.” The Wall Street Journal editorial page also wrote: “Republicans across America can see, and certainly their senators voting on Judge Kavanaugh should realize, that the left hates them as much or more than they loathe Mr. Trump. Conservatives understand that, for the American left, they are all deplorables now.”
Trump also mentioned the unification of the Right on Twitter: