It’s really no secret to anyone who has been watching the story unfold — Donald Trump’s administration is full of the worst of the worst. The White House is being run like the mafia now, but a really crappy mafia — a pseudo-mafia of Hollywood comedies that keeps shooting its own people in the feet.
It’s a joke. The whole mess is a joke. Infighting, backstabbing, bribery, blackmail, loud threats, and pledges of loyalty. Donald Trump has steered the United States in the anti-democratic direction of Russia or even North Korea.
One other thing — the man acts guilty as hell when it comes to Russia. He’s basically been involved in Russian money laundering for 30 years. He freaks out anytime investigations into his campaigns ties to Russia, his taxes, and his financial connection to Russia heat up. He’s now bashing one of his top political supporters, campaign boosters, and secretaries — apparently trying to get him to quit instead of Trump firing him — because that would be a super convenient way for Trump to kill the Russia investigation.
Trump fired the head of the FBI because he didn’t like the way he was investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. He is stabbing in the back one of his most loyal political allies. He has met with Putin for hours while keeping the US media and other Americans out of the room. His team has arranged backchannels to the Russian government and requested secure lines of communication … from Russia’s end.
Trump also has countless sketchy business deals and conflicts of interest. Membership fees at his Mar-a-lago resort doubled in January after Trump became president. Rather than staying at the White House, Trump was jetting down to this private resort weekend after weekend, raking in the dollars the Secret Service and US government had to pay to stay there.
The Republican Party — which had a bitter fight with Trump during the primaries — has basically just looked the other way. Trump could probably shoot someone in plain sight and with clear intent and Republicans in Congress, Fox & Friends, and addicted Fox viewers would claim it was an accident. Like I said, it’s the stuff of North Korea, not a healthy democracy.
But the Republican Party is looking the other way for a reason or 5.
For one, they want to get legislation passed that serves their interests. That hasn’t been working too well. The legislation that has arisen has died time and time again. No, it’s not because of the Democrats, which have very little power in Congress right now. It’s because the “party of no” and of “screw the average American to give more money to the rich” has to deal with itself now. Republican leaders in Congress — despite pledging for 7 years to get rid of Obamacare the first chance they got — can’t get rid of Obamacare because it has a few semi-sensible people in its fold.
But the point is, if the whole idea of passing purely Republican legislation falls into the ditch enough, this is not going to be a holdout topic to turn on Trump. Heck, they could even start blaming it all on Trump and his dysfunctional White House.
A second critical point for Republicans in Congress is that they want to be re-elected. If the Republican #FakePresident goes down in flames (that is, impeachment), that makes the Republican Party as a whole look bad. That shifts independent and moderate Republican voters away from the party as a whole, including members of Congress running for re-election in 2018. This is certainly one of the key reasons Republicans in Congress go out of their way to not criticize Trump.
But Trump has been attacking the GOP’s own lately. When the health care bills have died, it was Congressional Republicans’ fault, not Trump’s. When former Senator Jeff Sessions, now Attorney General of the United States (head of the Justice Department), decided to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and possibly also refuse to fire the former FBI director who is now running the investigation, Trump started bashing him on Twitter, turning him into a whipping boy rather than the “great, brilliant, wonderful” man Trump claimed he was when he was the only Republican in the U.S. Senate supporting Trump. When Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski stood up to the GOP’s “cruel” health care proposal, the Trump administration apparently threatened Murkowski and her state in no uncertain terms.
When is enough enough? When do these people’s Republican colleagues in the Senate stop enabling Trump’s abuse … and Trump’s attack on several cornerstone democratic institutions and principles.
“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them,” Thomas Jefferson said. Trump has made the press — which has uncovered many of Trump’s most seemingly corrupt connections to Russia and most insidious moves in government — enemy #1. Why? Because he or some people on his team understand that enemy #1 for democracy is the free press.
When will Republicans in Congress stand up to Trump’s attacks on US democracy and impeach him? I’d say it will be 1) when they give up on passing legislation on his watch, or give up on Trump’s “innocence” helping them with that, 2) when they see his presence in the White House as hurting their re-election chances more than helping them, and 3) when he starts attacking them and their kin. All three of these possibilities are opening up right now.