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NYT conservative columnist: I'm still 'never Trump' after first year

NYT conservative columnist: I'm still 'never Trump' after first year
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New York Times conservative columnist Bret Stephens revealed he still sees himself as a "never Trumper" after a year of President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE's term in the White House, despite agreeing with many of Trump's policy moves.

In an op-ed in the newspaper Saturday, Stephens wrote, "I still wish Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene referred to Parkland school shooting as 'false flag' event on Facebook Senators vet Mayorkas to take lead at DHS CNN poll: Melania Trump leaving office as least popular first lady ever MORE were president."

"[C]haracter does count, and virtue does matter, and Trump’s shortcomings prove it daily," Stephens writes. "This is the fatal mistake of conservatives who’ve decided the best way to deal with Trump’s personality — the lying, narcissism, bullying, bigotry, crassness, name calling, ignorance, paranoia, incompetence and pettiness — is to pretend it doesn’t matter."

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“'Character Doesn’t Count' has become a de facto GOP motto," Stephens adds. “'Virtue Doesn’t Matter' might be another."

Stephens joined The New York Times in April 2017, leaving The Wall Street Journal to join the more liberal ranks of the Times opinion page, and at the time was a vocal member of the #NeverTrump movement of conservatives that had sought to stop Trump from winning the GOP nomination the year before.

In early December, he seemed to renounce the Republican Party amid Trump's support for Alabama Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Long-shot Espy campaign sees national boost in weeks before election Ocasio-Cortez slams Tulsi Gabbard for amplifying ballot harvesting video MORE (R), who was accused in a Washington Post investigation of previous sexual misconduct with underage girls.

“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 accusations of pedophilia,” Stephens said of Moore.

Stephens warned on Saturday that the GOP's support for Moore likely tainted the Republican Party's brand with younger voters.

"It also risks permanently alienating a millennial generation for which the GOP will forever be the party of the child-molesting sore loser and the president who endorsed him," Stephens writes.

"Conservatives may suppose that they can pocket policy gains from a Trump administration while the stain of his person will eventually wash away. But as a (pro-Trump) friend wrote me the other day, 'presidents empower cultures.' "

"This won’t end with Trump," Stephens concludes. "It may have only begun with him."