Trump thrives on attention, but on Tuesday he likely wilted a little after being “viciously” assailed by not one, but two Senate Republicans with nothing to lose and an opportunity to at least say the right things about Trump. No matter how one assesses the damning indictments of Trump by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), it was refreshing to see they are not completely unpatriotic traitors to America like the preponderance of Republicans in Congress. Let’s face it, any Republican still supporting Trump after seven months of sheer terror and disaster is not concerned about America’s standing in the world or the clear and present danger to the nation Trump represents; Messrs. Flake and Corker certainly appear concerned and they didn’t hold back from showing their disregard for their Party’s tyrant in the White House.
Unlike a real standup Republican, Senator John McCain, both Flake and Corker are out of the Senate after 2018; Mr. McCain will be around to defame Trump for a few years and he has appropriately ratcheted up his criticism. However, both soon-departing Republicans leveled some serious charges of their own against Trump that no small numbers of pundits, including conservative pundits, and journalists have made since before Trump’s poorly-attending inauguration.
What is different about Mr. Flake’s harsh attack on Trump was he did it in an impassioned speech on the floor of the Senate and in the company of his GOP colleagues; he did not fail to impugn the patriotism of his fellow Republicans. Senator Flake quoted a former Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, in a blatant slight against the GOP’s cowardice in protecting Trump. He said:
“That there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by a president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
It is also “treasonable” to the United States because Republicans knew during the presidential campaign that Trump was colluding with a hostile foreign power and only spoke of Trump “being paid by Putin ” when they thought no-one was listening. Add to that acquiescence to what many regard as an act of treason, all Republicans heard Trump’s appeal to Russian spies to help him during the election and they said nothing except “we support Trump.”
While Mr. Flake spent a fair amount of his speech railing on Trump as a liar and a flagrantly divisive piece of work, he did concur with Senator Corker that Trump is decimating America’s standing around the world and threatening the global stability America historically attempts to maintain. Flake said that he was obliged to be critical of Trump.
“As a matter and duty of conscience, the notion that one should stay silent … as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters … is profoundly misguided.”
Senator Corker, while stopping short of openly admitting that he, like the rest of the world, thinks Trump is a threat to America’s national security, warned that there is a risk that Trump will start a world war. When pressed by an interviewer, Mr. Corker “refused to rule out that the President of the United States Trump poses a threat to national security.” Corker said in response to another prompt to come clean about Trump being a threat to America:
“I think there are people around him that work in an effort to contain him” referring to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But he did appear to accept the premise of the question of Trump’s threat to national security saying he worries that “Trump’s recklessness could lead us into a world war.” He explained:
“I do think when you have the kind of issues we’re dealing with in North Korea, where we have a very unstable leader there, when you send out tweets into the region to raise tensions, when you kneecap — which is what he’s done, publicly — when you kneecap your secretary of state, whose diplomacy, you have to depend on to bring China to the table, to do the things that need to be done, when you kneecap that effort, you move our country into a binary choice that could lead us into a world war.”
It should be obvious that everything both Corker and Flake are saying is true and common knowledge to most Americans, but it is likely too little too late. There is absolutely nothing two United States senators can do about Trump except talk. Only Republicans in the House have any authority to begin any serious proceedings against Trump and it is increasingly curious why they are not inclined to act. After all, they have Pence waiting in the wings to rubber stamp every policy near and dear to cruel Republicans’ hearts, so it must be something else; maybe that no small number of congressional Republicans received aid from Russia.
There is also the issue of these two Senators’ leaving office. At the same time they have nothing to lose by assailing Trump as a liar and a threat to America, leaving the Senate also diminishes the impact of their criticism. However, it was crucially important that Mr. Corker warned of the risk of Trump starting a world war, and that Mr. Flake unloaded on Trump in front of his Republican Senate colleagues.
It is noteworthy that everything both Corker and Flake said is a reiteration of what an increasing number of pundits, including conservative pundits, have been saying about Trump. It may aid in garnering support among other Republicans, especially in the House, to take action against a clear and present danger to America’s national security, it’s struggling democracy, as well as peace in the world.
Unfortunately, Republicans are too cowardly to address a real threat to America. Their cowardice makes the two Republican Senators attack on Trump good entertainment value as well as an irritant to Trump, but until the rest of the Party ends their “unpatriotic and servile” devotion to a gross failure like Trump, they are all “committing a morally treasonable offense against the American people.”