Let’s recap the past tumultuous week or so of the Trump presidency.
On May 9, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey with little notice to anyone. The White House released a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a Trump appointee, saying that Comey had mishandled the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails by releasing information that harmed Clinton. White House officials vigorously defended the firing, denying it had anything to do with the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The next day, in an interview with Lester Holt, Trump made his staff out to be liars by saying that the memo had nothing to do with his firing Comey. In fact, he fired him because of the Russia investigation.
The day after the Comey firing, Trump invited the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the Oval Office. He also invited Russian press to the meeting but denied access to the US press. During that meeting, Trump revealed “highly classified” information about our fight with ISIS. Again, White House officials tried to downplay the blunder but made themselves look foolish instead.
Before that scandal could get a proper airing, information surfaced that Comey kept memos detailing his meeting with Trump and that the President asked Comey to back off his investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia. If the memo is accurate, Trump may be guilty of obstruction of justice.
In light of all the information, Deputy AG Rosenstein announced that he’s appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to look into all the accusations. The investigation will dominate news out of Washington for weeks, if not months. Republicans worry their agenda is in danger.
As revelation after revelation unfolded, Republicans and conservatives became increasingly wary of Trump. At first most were denying the need for an independent investigation but seemed relieved when Mueller was finally appointed. Some prominent conservatives, though, started ruminated about how to end the debacle. Blogger Erick Erickson basically called on Trump to resign. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat said that Pence and cabinet could use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Few were rising to his defense.
However, North Carolina Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07) is doubling down on his support. Undeterred by the accusations that have other members of his party anxious, Rouzer released a statement saying, “I fully support President Donald Trump and firmly believe that he is the right person at the right time to save America. No president has done more so early in their administration to protect the moral and spiritual principles upon which this country was founded, nor has any president done more by this point of time in office for the working men and women who make America great.”
That’s sticking his neck out. Maybe Rouzer knows something the rest of us don’t or maybe he just knows his constituents. So far, Trump’s base seems to be sticking with him, even if the GOP establishment is not. But the bold statement of support seems to be risky. If the investigation reveals serious wrong-doing by the president, he will certainly see this statement again. If Trump’s base turns on him, Rouzer’s judgment will be called into question. That could be enough to add his Congressional district the list of ones in play.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >