GOP: Nothing Here to See
Republican leaders in Congress, with one notable exception, seem to be in a political crouch, content with accepting the top-line results that even mountains of bad behavior by President Donald Trump are ok, so long as there are no criminal charges from the Mueller Report.
Move along, nothing to see here, seems to be the mantra.
The exception, of course, is Sen. Milt Romney, R-UT, who offered a scathing criticism of Trump and his campaign associates Friday, saying he was “sickened” by their “dishonesty” after reading special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s redacted report. “I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” Romney said.
The silence from the GOP matters, of course, because there are growing calls for impeachment, with several Democrats, now including presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.
As a practical matter, without substantial buy-in from Senate Republicans, impeachment efforts will go nowhere.
But as a matter of belief in effective governing, integrity in office, upholding a public trust, the silence of the GOP leadership is terrifying.
Among the Democrats, we can all see that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in a bind here. Too much attention to impeachment without the real threat of conviction in the Senate says the efforts will be divisive and end poorly, perhaps even strengthening Trump’s reelection bid, now 18 months away. Getting that conviction will require substantial numbers of Republican Senate votes — something that seems not in the works.
Indeed, in Congressional time, it would be difficult to see an actual impeachment would barely have enough time to come to a critical vote in time for the elections. So, we’re going to see a lot of restraint on the part of Pelosi and her minions. Rather, we’re likely to see a series of continuing hearings, public disclosures and attempts at embarrassment for the Trump White House all the way to elections.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, even refuses to take up suggested, relatively routine follow-up request following the report, like requesting the full unredacted report.
The most curious, but totally predictable response has come from the president himself, who tweeted in two parts that attack the report as fabricated and untrue. “Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue. Watch out for people that take so-called “notes,” when the notes never existed until needed. Because I never. . . . . . agreed to testify, it was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the “Report” about me, some of which are total bullshit & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad). This was an Illegally Started Hoax that never should have happened. . .”
The president doesn’t seem to understand or accept the idea that what the special counsel has found is fact, not opinion. No, it’s not a hoax, regardless of the origins of the report. No, the investigators were not 18 angry Democrats. No, people did take notes, in opposition to Trump assertions.
No, the report is not “bullshit,” Mr. President. The whole point of a special counsel investigation is to establish a set of facts, and then to declare the logical path to follow as a result.
Moreover, he may see the obvious — that he looks bad — or that the totality of the Mueller probe shows that Trump’s misadventures were totally self-caused.
The president’s innate need to blame someone else, anyone else, betrays his ego-manical, narcissistic personality — and his career-long insistence on authority and personal loyalty from all around him.
More than ever, the question of how bad things need to be to move Senate Republicans into standing up to Trump is hanging in the air.
The Mueller Report also strongly shows that the mainstream news media, led by The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal generally had it right over the last two years. While the president railed about “Fake News” every time he heard a discouraging news word, the investigative skills of reporters and editors generally were far more correct than Trump can acknowledge.
A truly great country, like any great institution worth respect, is able to take on its mistakes, admit them, and go about the job of restoring order. Want to Make America Great? Drop the silent, partisan act, own up to the problems uncovered, and let’s get busy.