It is no secret that Trump hires loyalists. Fealty is basically a requirement to work under the 45th president. From his shockingly small real estate set up, to his administration, Trump has shown us time and time again his preference for enablers. Since Trump has left office there has been
a slew of adult daycares for whiny Trump conservatives, an uptick of think tanks aligned with the former president, where his most ardent supporters have continued to spout Trumpian nonsense.
Enter the Center For Renewing America (CRA), one such think tank, launched by the Conservative Partnership Institute (an incubator that’s the brainchild of former Heritage president Jim DeMint and former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows), that has become a pretty high profile player in Conservative politics. Axios reported that former DoD official, and CRA current national security senior fellow, Kash Patel is actively being considered for a high level post at the CIA or the NSC. One would think the Trump circle would abandon some of its more questionable alumni, but it’s apparently going to be the same old song and dance for a hypothetical second Trump term.
Let’s take a look at some of the things Patel has been doing since departing from his government post:
- Unlike other fellows at CRA, who contribute (insane) policy prescriptions in the form of white papers, Patel took on a more front-facing media role appearing on, for example,Steve Bannon’s podcast to spread conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.
- CRA’s Patel complained that House Republicans hadn’t impeached Joe Biden yet. I want to note that Fox News and House Freedom Caucus member Ken Buck (R-CO) have pointed out House Republicans have produced no evidence that supports an impeachment is warranted.
- Patel pushed back on the idea that the Department of Defense was not cooperating with the Biden Transition despite reporting that then Acting Defense Secretary ordered a Pentagon wide halt on working with the transition team.
- Needing to reaffirm his sycophancy to Trump, Patel wrote an…interesting children’s book featuring characters such as “King Donald.” (apparently after being “dictator” on Day One Trump will revery to… royalty?)
- Patel penned a column that not only implied that former CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Chris Wray, and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were part of some conspiracy to take down Trump, but used these examples to justify creating a partisan committee to investigate the intelligence community. One such committee was formed (voted on along a party line vote) and they have yet to produce any information vindicating the conspiracy theory.
- Patel founded a non-profit organization that paid “thousands of dollars” to two alleged whistleblowers who helped the aforementioned partisan panel House Republicans created to investigate the Federal government.
Patel, as a government official, was no stranger to controversy. Let us not forget that the former DoD Chief of Staff rose to prominence after writing the infamous Nunes memo, a grossly partisan screed that accused intelligence officials of political bias against the former president. In 2016, as a prosecutor for the Department of Justice, Judge Lynn Hughed slapped an “order of ineptitude” on Patel for taking “three days, seven telephone calls, three voicemail messages and one snippy electronic message” to get a court transcript. And who could forget that our favorite CRA senior fellow was (allegedly) involved in a potential backchannel to Trump on Ukraine (which had implications in the former president’s first impeachment). Finally, let us not ignore Patel’s role in persuading Trump to fire Mark Esper for not deploying Troops during the George Floyd protests.
Kash Patel has shown us time and time again he is unfit to work in intelligence. The reporting from Axios should terrify us all. The damage Patel left in his wake during the Trump Administration is disturbing, especially given that Patel said a second Trump government means revenge.
If “personnel is policy,” as we and many from Ronald Reagan to Elizabeth Warren have said, then the media discussion of the election should include a focus on personnel from CRA such as Kash Patel.