IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Discarding his own warnings, Bill Barr backs Trump-led GOP ticket

In 2022, Bill Barr described Trump as an erratic narcissist who discarded “country and principle.” In 2024, Barr is backing the GOP's Trump-led ticket.


After Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020, former Attorney General Bill Barr seemed eager to put some distance between himself and the president he went to radical lengths to serve. In early 2021, for example, the Republican lawyer accused Trump of “inexcusable” behavior on Jan. 6. “The president’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office,” Barr said the day after the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol.

A few months later, Barr sat down with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl and went a little further. Referring to Trump’s election conspiracy theories, the former attorney general said, “It was all bulls---.”

In 2022, he released a book about his experiences and described his former boss as an “incorrigible” and “erratic” narcissist whose post-election lies did “a disservice to the nation.” The idea of Trump running a third national campaign was, as the former attorney general put it at the time, “dismaying.”

Perhaps most notably, Barr added in 2022 that he was convinced that Trump “cared only about one thing: himself. Country and principle took second place.”

A year later, the former attorney general told NBC News “I have made clear that I strongly oppose Trump for the nomination and will not endorse Trump.” It was around this same time when Barr compared voting for Trump to “playing Russian roulette with the country.”

And yet, here we are. The Washington Post reported:

Former attorney general William P. Barr effectively endorsed former president Donald Trump on Wednesday, despite having previously criticized Trump’s conduct while in office and once comparing him to a “defiant, 9-year-old kid.” Asked Wednesday whether he would vote for Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, in November, Barr told Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom” that he would vote for the Republican ticket.

“I’ve said all along, given two bad choices, I think it’s my duty to pick the person I think would do the least harm to the country, and in my mind, that’s — I will vote the Republican ticket,” Barr said. “I’ll support the Republican ticket.”

Yes, this is the same Barr who condemned Trump just two years ago as a man who failed to prioritize core principles.

Broadly speaking, those who worked with the former president during his White House tenure can be broken up into three groups:

  1. Those who continue to respect, admire, and celebrate the presumptive GOP nominee;
  2. Those who are sticking to principle and refusing to back Trump’s 2024 candidacy;
  3. Those who are well aware of Trump’s lies, corruption, and alleged crimes, but have chosen to prioritize party over principle.

Too often, members of the third group tend to overlook the existence of the second group, in large part to avoid further humiliation.

Nevertheless, that second group is both real and sizable. As we’ve discussed, much of the former president’s Cabinet, including Trump’s own former vice president, isn’t supporting his 2024 candidacy. Former members of Trump’s national security team and former Republican congressional leaders have come to the same conclusion.

Barr could’ve joined them. But the craven Republican lawyer — the one who was disgusted by Trump’s willingness to discard “country and principle” — has apparently decided not to.