The Republican Party is filled with cowards. This has been evident since the primaries last year when each and every Republican candidate that was blasted rhetorically and in the voting booth by our now-President slowly transformed from a leader to a spineless bootlicker.
Marco Rubio, who is on record calling Trump a “con artist” and “the most vulgar man ever to aspire to the presidency,” proceeded to fully endorse him months later.
Ted Cruz, also referred to as “lyin’ Ted,” endured personal attacks on his wife and his father by our dignified, tangerine leader and responded by calling Trump a “sniveling coward,” “pathological liar,” “serial philanderer” and “utterly amoral.” He also proceeded to fully endorse Trump and, in perhaps the most pathetic image ever published of an American senator, exhibited a visage of pure self-loathing while at a Trump-Pence phone bank.
And finally we come to the most egregious example: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, standard bearer of the Republican Party and a supposedly principled man and guardian of the core precepts of the GOP. He is perhaps the third most powerful man in the country but certainly first in the race for Invertebrate of the Year.
He called Trump’s insinuation that a judge of Mexican heritage should be removed from a case involving Trump University a “textbook definition of a racist comment.” He “rejected” Trump’s attacks on the family of Humayan Khan, an American Army Captain who just so happened to be a Muslim and was killed in Iraq in 2004. He was “sickened” by Trump’s infamous and somehow irrelevant comments about grabbing women by their genitalia. And when Trump initially floated the idea of a Muslim ban back in December of 2015 Ryan said it was “not what this party stands for and, more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”
Then, as if a pattern were emerging, he also endorsed Trump and was one of the first Republican leaders to embrace the “travel ban” – a euphemism of the highest order – calling the rollout “regrettable,” then offering a slew of contemptible platitudes defending it as per his standard operating procedure.
These three men, along with a lengthy list of others in their party, at one point or another either implied or outright stated that Trump was temperamentally unfit for office. Since the moment of inauguration the veracity of that sentiment has been proven repeatedly. Barring a couple notable exceptions each instance of bigotry, each departure from presidential norms and each violation of the principles on which this nation supposedly stands has been met with silence at best and with nauseating displays of groveling at worst.
Any hope that the presidency would temper Trump’s absurdities or that the gravity of the office would inject a sense of caution, empathy or appreciation of facts into the man has already been revealed as naivety. So too, it seems, is the assumption that the standard tenets of the Republican party will be adhered to by anyone in the new administration or in Congress.
The wall is a revealing example. Erecting a $15 billion monstrosity across hundreds of miles that, for myriad reasons, will do essentially nothing to combat illegal immigration. Then threatening a tariff on imported Mexican goods shows a disdain for free trade and free market ideals and a rejection of the sacrosanct conservative stand against wasteful government spending. And yet the Republican response to the suggestion has been nothing but positive.
Expecting any sort of consistency out of these people is obviously asking too much. If you can renege after less than six months an assertion that Trump’s ineligibility for office is based not even on his policies but on who he is as a person you show yourself to be governed by no principle other than fear.
Whether it is fear of reprisal at the polls, fear of ostracism by others in the party or fear of a late-night tweet storm and a swarm of MAGA trolls doesn’t matter. It is clear Trump is and will always be the exact same person he was as a campaigner. And it is also clear that anyone who so quickly reversed their opinion of the man is simply a scared hypocrite whose character should be questioned no less harshly than that of the man they so recently denounced.
It seems quite possible at this point that the current presidency is careening towards an unseemly end in one way or another. In the event that the Trump administration does something truly grotesque, that their incompetence becomes intolerable or that their skewed world view starts to irreparably damage American interests, it will require courage from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to respond accordingly.
Let us all hope that they rediscover their backbones – or at least fake like they have one – before the America that most of us thought we live in becomes irretrievable.