Donald Trump is the GOP and the GOP is Donald Trump
Dear fellow Americans and especially members of the media: Please stop waiting for more Congressional Republicans to have an “awakening” and denounce President Donald Trump. What you are missing is this simple truth: Trump is the GOP and the GOP is Trump. (At least in today’s political climate.)
If you need any more proof of this just look what has happened in the two days since Republican Senator Jeff Flake stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate and delivered an emotional speech warning that Trump’s conduct was “dangerous to a democracy.” Flake declared: “I rise today to say: Enough.” And then the Arizona Senator laid down a challenge to his fellow Republicans, “Because politics can make us silent when we should speak, and silence can equal complicity.”
Flake later told NBC News that he hoped that this was a “tipping point” and that other Republicans would follow his lead.
So what did we hear from his fellow Republicans in Congress? Well Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss) was on MSNBC’s Meet the Press shortly after Flake’s speech and was asked point blank if Trump’s “character” bothered him. What was his response? Wicker first pushed back against Chuck Todd’s assertion that Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn) – who had earlier in the day said Trump was “debasing” our nation with his “constant non-truth telling” and “name calling” – and Flake’s speech had addressed Trump’s “character.”
Then Wicker stunningly went on to say he “didn’t know what the speech today said” referring to Flake’s speech. (Does Wicker not understand English?!)
But then Wicker told us point blank the truth: “I think most of us in the [GOP Senate] conference are very comfortable with the direction that this chief executive of our nation and this head of our Party wants to take us.”
Wicker summed it up perfectly-Trump is the head of the GOP and Congressional Republicans are “very comfortable” with him as their leader. In fact, Oklahoma GOP Senator Jim Inhofe declared on Wednesday that it was good people like Flake who didn’t fully embrace Trump would be leaving Congress: “Maybe we do better by having some of the people who just don’t like him [Trump] leave, and replace them with somebody else.”
The message of Inhofe as well as people like Steve Bannon is simply this: If you aren’t 100 percent on board with all of Trump, then get out. They truly couldn’t be any more blunt in telling us that if you have problems with Trump’s character, his lies, bigotry, etc. you are no longer welcome in the new GOP.
Interestingly some in the media have slammed the Republicans in Congress for giving us a “profile in cowardice” in the days after Flake’s speech. Again they either don’t get it or are in denial. It’s not the Republicans in Congress lack courage to criticize Trump- they simply are on board with Trump. You don’t criticize what you agree with and that is why we are seeing GOP Senators like Richard Shelby (R-Al) and James Risch (R-Idaho) on cable news refusing to denounce Trump.
And it’s not just the GOP elites on board with Trump. A Fox News poll released Wednesday found that 83 percent of the GOP rank and file of approve of Trump.
The point is that Flake, Corker and the few Republicans who speak out about Trump are the exception. They are the so-called “good Republicans.” But the reality is that they are out of step with today’s GOP. The GOP is no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan. It’s the party of Trump, the party of Bannon and Breitbart and others who years ago would’ve been wholly rejected or been left to wallow on the fringes of the party of Lincoln.
And as such, the GOP is now defined by a serial liar, by a man who has courted and even defended white supremacists, a man who publicly sided with Bill O’Reilly over the women he sexually harassed , a man who mocked a disabled reporter and trafficked in bigotry, sexism and racism on his way to winning the White House.
I hope there comes a day that Republicans do rise up and denounce Trump. I’d love to see Republicans take to the streets to protest Trump and say “not in my name.” But until then – if that day ever comes – Trump is the GOP and the GOP is Trump.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.