Sunday 22 September 2019

Jennifer Rubin: 'Blame for this Trump fiasco lies with the Republicans'

US President Donald Trump greets members of the five branches of the military by video conference on Christmas Day, in the Oval Office of the White House. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
US President Donald Trump greets members of the five branches of the military by video conference on Christmas Day, in the Oval Office of the White House. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jennifer Rubin

Let's put aside for the moment the question of whether US President Donald Trump committed crimes in obtaining the presidency (conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws by hush-money payments or receipt of assistance from a foreign power) or since his election (in obstructing justice, witness-tampering, etc).

Let's not dwell on the closure of his foundation, which the New York state attorney general found to have engaged in a "shocking pattern of illegality". Let's not argue whether attacks on the US courts, the First Amendment, the FBI and the Justice Department violate his duty to "take care" that the laws are faithfully executed, nor on whether his receipt of foreign emoluments, ongoing conflicts of interest and hiring of ethical miscreants have debased his office.

Let's address "just" the obvious, frightening reality this president is incapable of performing the basic functions of the office (eg. keeping the government open), attending to the US's national security (eg. not handing geopolitical gifts to US enemies) or truthfully relating intelligence (eg. not lying about Jamal Khashoggi's killers). He no longer has the advice of any respected, competent senior adviser nor the trust of members of his own party.

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We have got to this sorry stage of events because Republican lawmakers shielded him from scrutiny and indulged his lies, racist rhetoric and attacks on democratic norms. To make matters worse, Republican senators refused to reject unqualified or extreme nominees.

You'd think at some point they might feel just a twinge of regret, a tiny speck of guilt over having created and sustained a political monster who has thrown the country into chaos.

And yet...not a single Republican senator has committed to delaying confirmation of key cabinet nominees until the special counsel's report is complete. Not a single Republican lawmaker has committed to bipartisan legislation forcing Trump to turn over tax records and divest himself of his businesses. Not a single Republican member of Congress has declined to endorse him for re-election. Certainly none has called for him to resign for, if nothing else, his endemic lying and effort to defraud voters during the 2016 election (eg. lying about pursuit of business deals with a foreign foe, hiding payments to women).

Not a single Republican chairman has conducted an oversight hearing on the handling of Hurricane Maria, Jared Kushner's and Ivanka Trump's possible conflicts of interest, Ivanka's use of personal emails, or dozens of other incidents involving mismanagement or corruption.

Unless and until Republicans start acting in these or other meaningful ways to constrain this president and accelerate his departure from office, they should forgo the distressed tweets and murmurs of discontent. They aren't victims here; they are Trump collaborators. (© Washington Post)

Irish Independent

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