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Endorsement in hand, Trump takes new steps to humiliate Bill Barr

Bill Barr abandoned his principles and said he'd vote for Donald Trump. The former president decided to humiliate his former attorney general again anyway.


By mid-March, the race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, to the extent that it ever existed, was over. Donald Trump had already won nearly every primary and caucus, and each of his intraparty rivals had ended their campaigns.

It was against this backdrop that the former president — after earning the label as the GOP’s presumptive nominee — decided to continue publicly ridiculing New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, largely because he’d backed Nikki Haley’s campaign.

Trump didn’t need to go after the Republican governor again, but the former president doesn’t just like prevailing over foes and critics, he also likes humiliating them after the fight is over.

Something similar happened with House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, who’s bid for House speaker was derailed last fall when Trump trashed the GOP congressman. Even after Emmer’s campaign for the gavel was over, the former president continued to demean the Minnesotan — not because he had to, but because he wanted to.

Last night, former Attorney General William Barr became the latest target. Trump published this message to his social media platform:

“Wow! Former A.G. Bill Barr, who let a lot of great people down by not investigating Voter Fraud in our Country, has just Endorsed me for President despite the fact that I called him ‘Weak, Slow Moving, Lethargic, Gutless, and Lazy’ (New York Post!). Based on the fact that I greatly appreciate his wholehearted Endorsement, I am removing the word ‘Lethargic’ from my statement. Thank you Bill. MAGA2024!”

In other words, the former president still wants the public to know he sees his former attorney general — the one who intends to vote for him — as “weak, slow moving, gutless, and lazy.”

To be sure, Barr had already taken steps to humiliate himself. As we discussed last week, after Trump’s defeat in 2020, the then-attorney general 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.”

It was against this backdrop that Barr appeared on Fox News last week and told viewers he’d vote for his party’s Trump-led ticket anyway.

The former president could’ve been gracious about this. He also could’ve ignored the news altogether. But Trump apparently feels the need to humiliate those who he believes wronged him, even after they’ve bent the knee.

Barr set his dignity on fire last week. Last night, the man Barr intends to vote for poured lighter fluid on the flame.

This post updates our related earlier coverage.