After a rather telling interview with the New York Times, it was revealed that both past and present Republican lawmakers are and have been so deeply under the thumb of Donald Trump that they have virtually no choice but to go along with whatever hair-brained, manic, and unhinged policy Trump has laid on the table that day — or face his ire and consider an early retirement.
Per the Times report, “Just under four years after he began his takeover of a party to which he had little connection, Mr. Trump enters 2020 burdened with the ignominy of being the first sitting president to seek re-election after being impeached,” continuing, “But he does so wearing a political coat of armor built on total loyalty from G.O.P. activists and their representatives in Congress. If he does not enjoy the broad admiration Republicans afforded Ronald Reagan, he is more feared by his party’s lawmakers than any occupant of the Oval Office since at least Lyndon Johnson.”
One former GOP lawmaker admitted that he was personally faced with the quandary of bucking Donald Trump back in 2017 and knew full well the consequences he would face if he decided to do so.
“By the summer of 2017, Dave Trott, a two-term Republican congressman, was worried enough about President Trump’s erratic behavior and his flailing attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act that he criticized the president in a closed-door meeting with fellow G.O.P. lawmakers,” the report reads. “The response was instantaneous — but had nothing to do with the substance of Mr. Trott’s concerns. ‘Dave, you need to know somebody has already told the White House what you said,’ he recalled a colleague telling him. ‘Be ready for a barrage of tweets.'”
The ex-lawmaker revealed that he chose not to run for reelection, explaining, “If I was still there and speaking out against the president, what would happen to me?”
Trott is far from the only GOP lawmaker who has faced the nearly impossible conundrum of being a Republican who doesn’t agree with Donald Trump.
“Interviews with current and former Republican lawmakers as well as party strategists, many of whom requested anonymity so as not to publicly cross the president, suggest that many elected officials are effectively faced with two choices. They can vote with their feet by retiring — and a remarkable 40 percent of Republican members of Congress have done so or have been defeated at the ballot box since Mr. Trump took office,” the Times notes in their report. “Or they can mute their criticism of him. All the incentives that shape political behavior — with voters, donors and the news media — compel Republicans to bow to Mr. Trump if they want to survive.”
Trott feels far more comfortable with expressing his criticism of number 45 now that he’s no longer under Trump’s thumb in such a way, stating, “Trump is emotionally, intellectually and psychologically unfit for office, and I’m sure a lot of Republicans feel the same way. But if they say that, the social media barrage will be overwhelming.”
Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) was quick to concur that the fear of Trump’s fury provides an undeniable opening for those challenging the GOP.
“The greatest fear any member of Congress has these days is losing a primary,” he clarified. “That’s the foremost motivator.”
The report went on to state, “The incentive to show fealty to Mr. Trump has become evident to the Club for Growth, a fiscal conservative group that was made famous for its willingness to tangle with Republican leaders and was hostile to Mr. Trump in 2016.”
Group President David McIntosh admitted, “Poll after poll showed us that Republican primary voters wanted their nominees to support President Trump, so in order to make sure they were viable and would get re-elected, they ended up being supporters of his.”
These fleeing GOP members are joined by retiring GOP lawmaker Francis Rooney of Florida who revealed to the Times, “Public officials need to be held accountable, and I don’t think any governmental system works well with blind loyalty without reason.”
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Donald’s “supporters” are not so much actually loyal supporters as they are terrified human beings worried sick about the destruction of their career.
However, the time has come where morals have to come first. Silence in complacence. Careers be damned.
You can read the full report here.
Featured image via Flickr/The White House