Just like Donald Trump will never “pivot” to presidential, Congressional Republicans will never “pivot” to standing up to any of Trump’s activities. It’s not going to happen, so we just need to quit pretending.
President Trump unceremoniously fired FBI Director James Comey. This brazen act – firing the man heading up the investigation into your campaign’s collusion with an adversarial foreign entity – caused immediate shock and alarm.
Who Will Save the Republic? asks Timothy Egan in the New York Times.
No one, that’s who. Republicans control both the House and Senate, the branch of government tasked with being the check on the Executive Branch. However, Republican leaders have shown exactly zero interest in holding President Trump accountable.
Was the reaction any different when the President shared highly-classified intel with foreign adversaries while in the Oval Office? Nah. Just more mealy-mouthed press releases feigning concern with no action to back it up. What about attempts to intimidate Director Comey into dropping the investigation into Michael Flynn? More of the same.
Republicans cower in their offices, scheming how to hold on to power while a madman down the street shreds the essence of our democracy with wild abandon, all the while popping up from their hidey-holes to occasionally to release a weak statement about their growing unease with Trump’s action.
While maverick-y Senators may make noise about accountability, the Republican-controlled Senate has rubber-stamped every single Trump nominee. When some of those nominees lied during their sworn testimony (hi there Jeff Sessions!), Republicans reacted with a collective shrug.
Going back to the campaign, the only semblance of integrity came when the Access Hollywood video came to light. You remember that one, right? It is the one where Trump bragged about sexual assault. The one where our now-President claimed to be able to just grab women by the pussy because he was rich and famous. Yep, that one.
At that time, Republicans recoiled in faux-horror. The feigning of moral outrage reached an apex with Rep. Jason Chaffetz. In his statement un-endorsing Trump, Chaffetz said, “”I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine.” He added: “My wife and I, we have a 15-year-old daughter, and if I can’t look her in the eye and tell her these things, I can’t endorse this person.”
After reveling in the positive press for a few days, Chaffetz decided that looking his daughter wasn’t that important after all. He announced that he was once again on the Trump Train, integrity and “good conscience” be damned.
At the height of hypocritical nonsense, nearly a third of Republican Senators had un-endorsed Trump. Many House Republicans were also abandoning the Trump Train.
Then, like the spineless cowards they are, Republicans just as quickly re-endorsed. Many Republicans mangled the English language by vowing to vote for Trump without actually endorsing him. The linguistic gymnastics previewed the moral flexibility we are seeing with Congressional Republicans today.
Congressional Republicans showed no moral core when their candidate bragged about being a serial sexual predator. Nor when he called Mexicans a bunch of rapists, nor when he attacked a Gold Star family, nor when he spewed racist garbage at a federal judge, nor when he attacked a former Latina beauty queen.
Since the election, Congressional Republicans have rolled over like pliant lapdogs for every unqualified, racist, or plain bat-shit crazy nominee that Trump has put forward. Republicans have abdicated every chance to act as a co-equal branch of government, deciding that tax cuts for millionaires take precedence over a functioning democracy. Oversight is a joke, with Rep. Devin Nunes colluding with the Trump White House before eventually recusing himself from the Russia investigation. The House Oversight Committee is being led by Rep. Chaffetz, he who will soon return home to not look his daughter in the eye. In the Senate, the investigation looking into Russian connection of the Trump campaign is being led by Trump campaign advisor Sen. Richard Burr.
Trying to intimidate, then firing the FBI Director, the only person with any reasonable claim to independence in the Russia investigation, gave Republicans the opportunity to show some semblance of a backbone. The leaking of classified information gave yet another opportunity. On every level, they continue to fail spectacularly.
Stop pretending that there will be a magical Republican pivot where Congressional leaders discover political courage. It will never, ever ever ever ever happen. Period.