’Tis the season for end-of-year lists –– most famously the one that asks whether you’ve been “naughty or nice.”
However, a powerful, unpublished “enemies list” always hovers over the media and political landscape. Updated 24/7 and always in motion, this “naughty” list generates name-calling headlines, reflecting the persona, whims, fears and grievances of its keeper –– Donald J. Trump.
Those “named” to Trump’s Enemies List (TEL) should recall the Eagles classic-rock verse: “You can check out, but you can never leave.” That “Hotel California” cliché reflects Trump’s long memory and inability to forgive perceived violations of his obsessive demands for loyalty that run only one way.
Listed below are 10 names who clashed with Trump’s loyalty demands and actions in conflict with the law. Subsequently, the 10 voted or acted according to what they believed was, and is, in the national interest. Unfortunately, butting heads with Trump’s firmly held beliefs (true or false) is messy, cringeworthy and noisy — always playing out at full volume on media’s center stage.
Remember, no matter where one ranks, the faces are equal in size on the dartboards at Mar-a-Lago.
10: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)
The 2012 Republican Party presidential nominee is TEL’s foundational name for two reasons. First, Romney epitomizes the GOP that many believe Trump hijacked in 2016 and remade in his image. What Trump thinks about the Utah senator is neatly summarized in then-President Trump’s Oct. 5, 2019 quote: “He is a pompous ‘ass’ who has been fighting me from the beginning…”.
Second, Trump never forgets that Romney was the only GOP senator to vote in favor of his failed conviction on Feb. 5, 2020, ending Trump’s first Senate impeachment trial. A year later, on Feb.13, 2021, Romney joined nine other Republican senators who voted to convict Trump during his second failed impeachment trial.
Keep these two socially distanced at all times!
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Another TEL archenemy with her name carved in stone after Speaker Pelosi ushered through the House two Trump impeachments on Dec. 18, 2019, and Jan. 13, 2021.
At her Dec. 8 weekly press briefing, The Hill reported Pelosi “would ‘never forgive’ former President Trump and his ‘lackeys’ for the ‘trauma’ that Capitol Hill staff experienced during the Jan. 6 riot.”
The last dramatic chapters of Trump vs. Pelosi can only be imagined.
- Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
He is the newest, shocking TEL entry. “Shocking” after the Drudge Report screamed a Trump quote in red letters: ‘F*ck him’: Bitter Trump blasts Netanyahu” –– recorded during a Dec. 10 Axios interview.
Apparently, Trump was deeply offended when Netanyahu congratulated President-elect Joe Biden 12 hours after the U.S. networks declared him the winner. Also, on Dec. 10, The Hill reported: “Netanyahu responds to Trump attack, says ‘it was important’ to congratulate Biden.”
Now for Trump’s blow-back: The Washington Post reported that evangelical leaders warned Trump “risked alienating his Christian base by distancing himself from the Israeli leader.” That matters since 81 percent of white evangelical Protestants voted for Trump in 2020 –– a voting block that he desperately needs to run again in 2024.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James
She has asked to subpoena Trump for a Jan. 7 deposition. Fireworks ahead! This is part of an ongoing civil fraud investigation stemming from the Trump Organization allegedly under-valuing real estate holdings for tax and insurance purposes but overvaluing as assets for loan collateral.
Watch for Attorney General James to rise in the 2022 TEL rankings.
- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger
Both Kemp and Raffensperger earned Trump’s ire when they refused the president’s request/demands to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. And, for doing their jobs by obeying the law, both are being primaried by Trump loyalists as they run for reelection in 2022.
Trump will do anything to ensure that Kemp and Raffensperger are defeated.
- Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)
To many Americans, Liz Cheney is a hero for speaking the truth about Trump from her perch on the Jan. 6 House Select Committee. Conversely, Trump wants her out of Congress more than anyone who voted for his impeachment.
The Hill reported Trump said: “ ‘She [Cheney] is a smug fool, and the great State of Wyoming, together with the Republican Party, fully understands her act. To look at her is to despise her,’ Trump continued. ‘Hopefully she will continue down this unsustainable path and she will soon be gone!’ ”
In 2022, expect the Trump/Cheney volcano to explode.
- Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley
Ironically, Trump selected Gen. Milley as chairman despite then-Sec. of Defense James Mattis’ recommended man for the job. Recently, at Mar-a-Lago, the former president publicly called the chairman of the joint chiefs a “f-ing idiot.”
Some consider Gen. Milley a hero for his actions after the election because he feared Trump’s erratic behavior could start a foreign war. Instead, the battle of Capitol Hill occurred on Jan. 6.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.)
It is well known that Trump and McConnell despise each other. Trump believes McConnell was insufficiently loyal to him after the Nov. 2020 election. Reportedly the two have not spoken since Dec. 15, 2020. Their battle will only escalate with Trump meddling in Senate primaries, impacting McConnell regaining “majority” in his title.
- United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack
Trump is waging the political equivalent of a thermo-nuclear war to keep this committee from learning the truth about his actions surrounding Jan. 6, 2021. War means one side loses, but Trump must never lose.
- President Joe Biden
The president is guaranteed TEL’s highest-ranking while Biden holds the title that Trump believes he won. From Trump’s perspective, how someone as strong, powerful, and all-knowing as Donald J. Trump lost reelection to such an inferior, weak, mentally challenged old man can only mean the election was rigged –– driving Trump to avenge his loss.
Prediction for 2022: Ongoing multi-front battles makes TEL the list to watch.
Myra Adams writes about politics and religion for numerous publications. She is a RealClearPolitics contributor and served on the creative team of two GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.