Really. You Can Do It.
Congressional Republicans have, throughout Donald Trump’s norm-destroying presidential campaign and four-month presidential tenure, managed to stand by his side, offering weak defenses for his petty, dangerous, and abusive actions. They stick with talking points Trump himself dispels in tweets or interviews. They run from reporters when reporters question them about the most recent Trump scandal. They bend over backwards to protect and defend a man best understand as a low-information voter.
But why? Why do congressional Republicans continue to shield Trump?
Trump, of course, has no interest in the Republican party. He has no interest in conservative policies, save slashing taxes on the wealthy so he and his children can further avoid paying their civic dues. There’s no doubt that Trump is indifferent to the very real plight of many Americans. It’s easy to understand Trump’s desire: Self-enrichment.
Unlike his predecessors, Trump refused to release his tax returns. Nor did he divest from his business interests (and neither has Ivanka, a handbag designer who finds herself tasked with overseeing foreign policies that affect countries – namely, China – in which she has extensive business interests), resulting in doubtless foreign and domestic emoluments clause violations.
Trump visits his own properties every three days in an effort to drive up their value and membership costs as members would have the chance to see and speak with the President of the United States.
Why defend this behavior? Why demean yourself to protect a man acting out of self-interest?
Republicans, are you scared of Trump’s bite? I assure you, his teeth are weak and while his bark may be loud, those who fail to speak softly rarely carry a big stick.
Take, for instance, his attitude towards the House Freedom Caucus. After his firth healthcare bill failed, he angrily took to Twitter and viciously attacked HFC members. But just a few weeks later, he directed Paul Ryan and other legislative leaders to give the HFC everything it wanted in the healthcare bill. Trump entirely conceded, despite his vitriol. There were no repercussions – they got everything they wanted.
Do you fear being primary challenged? You shouldn’t. Trump only received 42 percent of the competitive primary vote and no congressional candidates who contort themselves to fit his mold have succeeded.
It must not be forgot that while Trump may now be popular with Republicans, he barely skated by in the primary, receiving only a plurality of the votes and not topping 50 percent in states until his competitors dropped out. He’s not popular when given another conservative choice.
This is further proved by Trump-esque congressional candidates all failing to win. A Trump wannabe primary-challenged Paul Ryan and though he earned the ardent support of Breitbart and alt-right members everywhere, Ryan utterly vanquished him in the primary. Kansas Republicans had an opportunity to choose a Trumpian candidate to run for a recently vacated House seat, yet they demurred. The Trump wing of the party may have seized the presidential nomination, but it is unable to overthrow sitting representatives and senators. You have nothing to fear.
The Constitution Matters.
It’s time to put the Constitution above your party. Trump has abused his power by firing the man leading an investigation against his campaign because that man refused to swear loyalty to the president. He endangered US sources and future intelligence acquirement by sharing highly classified information with a foreign adversary – an adversary that meddled in our election to boost Donald Trump! He routinely breaks norms and undermines faith in democratic institutions by, for instance, comparing our intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany, accusing (with no evidence or semblance of credibility) his predecessor of illegal wiretaps, and diminishing the very necessary free press by referring to it as “fake news,” rhetoric which serves only to promote willful ignorance among his base.
Our Republic depends on congressional Republicans checking Trump’s power. Why let him abuse and consolidate power; right now, all that’s stopping Trump from fundamentally challenging our system is his easy distractibility and fundamental incompetence. But why rely on that? Why not proactively work to defend the government created by the Founding Fathers?
You swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. So do so. Don’t let a chauvinist brought to politics only by hobby and hopes of boosting himself undermine the very document you claim to treasure and have promised to defend and protect.
It’s okay. You can do it.