If you’re looking for an uplifting post, keep scrolling. This one is just a reminder that not only has the Republican president-elect undermined faith in American democracy with an outrageous lie about millions committing voter fraud to award his opponent a record-breaking popular vote victory, but as of this weekend, the four most powerful Republicans beneath Trump on the org chart are on record abetting that lie.
House Majority Leader Paul Ryan says it doesn’t matter to him if Trump is lying or not. Senatortoise Mitch McConnell says the claim is “irrelevant.” Reince Priebus says hey, maybe 2.6 million and counting really DID vote illegally. VP-elect Pence says lies about big, important things are just self-expression, so chill.
A clear pattern is emerging:
1. Trump says or does something outrageous through wounded vanity or rank ignorance.
2. Republican leaders rush to normalize the action or statement, regardless of the danger to the nation.
3. Trump’s business associates and/or the Republican Party capitalize on the fallout.
It’s an astounding combination of political cowardice and opportunism — without precedent in my lifetime, I think.
I suspect the Taiwan call fallout had similar origins, and it is being handled in similar fashion. Just as needy adulation junkie Trump is constitutionally (i.e., personal, not national constitution) unable to admit defeat on any level, he is also compelled to take a congratulatory call from an important person, so he took the call from Taiwan.
At first, official DC was shocked, and their disapproval caused Trump to double-down with anti-China tweets. Then Republican stooges like Tom Cotton and everyone’s favorite No Labels poster boy John Huntsman stepped forward to proclaim it a bold new direction in Chinese-American relations. [MiniTruth link]
Trump critics have noted ties to Taiwanese commercial interests in Trump’s inner circle, intimating that there might be a sharp (if treasonous) business strategy behind the seemingly ham-handed diplomatic imbroglio. Maybe. The evidence that Team Trump is approaching his impending presidency as a world-historical grift opportunity is unmistakable.
But I think even these less flattering interpretations give Trump too much credit. Trump is a conman, but only his inherited wealth and connections plus a flair for tacky showmanship allowed him to grift at the highest levels. If not for the machinations of Fred Trump, Donald would likely be pitching shady timeshare deals to senior citizens in a third-rate Orlando hotel’s Mickey Mouse Room.
I see nothing in his business background that suggests Trump is a genius and much to suggest the opposite, so until confronted with evidence to the contrary, I’ll assume he’ll continue to make blunders that are wholly motivated by rage and/or insecurity, in response to stimuli that arise by chance or are concocted by associates who hope to benefit from Trump’s utterly predictable responses.
And the amoral shell of a party that was the object of Trump’s hostile takeover will continue to put its political objectives over the nation’s interests, as long as Trump is useful to them. It’s not surprising that the GOP would hitch its wagon to Trump; they’ve been putting party over country as long as I can remember.
But I confess to being a little surprised at the speed and scale of the corruption. The mainstream media has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that it isn’t up to the task of exposing Trump. The Republican Party at the highest levels has traded the appearance of patriotism for a spot at the trough. If this country is to be saved before it collapses and is sold off piece by piece, it’s really is up to us now.