Ardent sports fans comprehend that it is a completely natural tendency, and duty, to support their favorite team regardless of their win-loss record, or if a team member makes an embarrassing public misstep. It is no different in the sport of politics. Republicans support their own and it is the same with Democrats. This is particularly true for the team leader; never waver in support for the man or woman at the top.
In the case of Republicans, their standard bearer is a man they have known all along was ill-equipped to ever be in the White House and that is not including Trump’s predilection to criminal behavior, authoritarianism and blatant unrepentant corruption. Republicans certainly were aware of Trump’s corruption because no “renowned” business man declares bankruptcy six times and still maintains a multi-billion dollar business empire; shady deals have been a staple of Trump’s so-called business acumen but the Republican establishment and conservative punditry supported him all the same.
Apparently, to protect the conservative “brand,” the Republican brand, right-wing columnists discarded any sense of decency they may have developed over the years and fully embraced and supported the Trump directly after the election, but now they are finally showing signs that they recognize their folly and are speaking out. It isn’t entirely clear if finding their voices is to distance themselves from Trump to protect their credibility or the conservative brand, but at least they are speaking out.
Three noted conservative columnists have made cases against Trump’s fitness for the White House gig and they have argued points that Democrats and those of us on the left have trumpeted since long before Trump won the Republican nomination, not the election. What is very telling is that Republicans and conservative pundits and writers witnessed the same Trump behavior as Democrats and liberals for well over a year, but they embraced him as a demigod anyway because he carried the home team’s flag.
Erick Erickson is one conservative who heartily embraced Trump post-election, but his tune changed this week after it was revealed that Trump exposed highly-classified intelligence to the Russians. Erickson “reported” that according to a White House insider:
“What Trump did is far worse than what is being reported. The President does not seem to realize or appreciate that his bragging can undermine relationships with our allies and with human intelligence sources. He also does not seem to appreciate that his loose lips can get valuable assets in the field killed.”
Unlike many conservatives, Erickson is not defending Trump’s mammoth blunder because he knows one of the sources intimately and trusts their word explicitly. Erickson was defending the “source’s” need to “leak” the information because he understands it is the only way to stop Trump and protect national security. He said:
“If the President, through inexperience and ignorance, is jeopardizing our national security and will not take advice or corrective action, what other means are available to get the President to listen and recognize the error of his ways?”
David Brooks, NYT’s conservative columnist penned an opinion piece titled “When the World Is Led By a Child.” In the conservative’s article he writes:
“Trump is an infantalist. There are three tasks that most mature adults have sort of figured out by the time they hit 25. Trump has mastered none of them. Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif.”
It is worth the short read to get to the finer points Brooks clearly makes about why Trump is ill-equipped to be president, besides acting like “a 7-year-old boy who is bouncing around the classroom.” Brooks also notes that Trump is “the all-time record-holder of the Dunning-Kruger effect; the phenomenon in which the incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence.”
Although Brooks goes through a litany of accurate assessments of Trump’s childish behavior, he seems to be most concerned, and rightly so, that:
“The Russian leak story reveals one other thing, the dangerousness of a hollow man. Our institutions depend on people who have enough engraved character traits to fulfill their assigned duties. But there is perpetually less to Trump than it appears. When we analyze a president’s utterances we tend to assume that there is some substantive process behind the words, that it’s part of some strategic intent.”
Obviously, Brooks is stating that Trump has no strategic intent, but he also knows like everyone on the left that Trump never had any “strategic intent.” He has known that obvious fact since Trump entered the race for the presidency, and yet he reined in his criticism to protect the conservative brand that Trump is decimating every day he occupies the White House.
New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat proposed using the 25th Amendment as opposed to impeachment to get Trump out of the Oval Office; a place he shouldn’t be allowed to visit, much less occupy. Douthat fairly summed up what kind of mess Republicans are desperate to get away from despite his “exhortations” to them a few days ago about fulfilling their duty to America. He wrote:
“If the G.O.P.’s surrender to candidate Trump made exhortations about Republican politicians’ duty to their country seem like so much pointless verbiage, now President Trump has managed to make exhortation seem unavoidable again.”
Douthat explained that Trump lacks even the basic traits necessary to be president, traits Trump wouldn’t know if they walked up to him, introduced themselves and then smacked that silly orange right off his face. Douthat wrote:
“One needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed.”
Douthat ends his piece with an open and public appeal to Republican leaders to put an end to the “team’s” and the country’s nightmare before Trump can inflict too much damage on the “brand” and the nation. He wrote:
“I respectfully ask Mike Pence and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to reconsider their support for a man who never should have had his party’s nomination, never should have been elevated to this office, never should have been endorsed and propped up and defended by people who understood his unfitness all along.” (author bold)
It isn’t often, if ever, that a conservative of any stripe echoes the deep-seated sentiment of Democrats and the left even if they tacitly agree. But in this case, in pleading with Republicans to do the right thing and stop defending a corrupt, incompetent criminal, something liberal columnists have called for since Trump was inaugurated, Douthat is saying exactly what the left started screaming about a year ago. Except at this juncture, and amid the daily revelations that Donald Trump is as corrupt as he is criminal, removing Trump from office because he is unfit to serve is not going to cut it. Trump needs to impeached and sent to prison along with every last one of his subordinates who aided or covered for his disastrous and criminal administration.