US Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) showed us where the Republican Party is today. Alexander told us that, yes, Donald Trump asked the Ukrainian government to interfere in our elections, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not enough to impeach the president. Just a few years ago, that would have been a shocking statement. In the age of Trump, it’s just the mainstream Republican Party line.
We watched the GOP go from denying that Trump did anything wrong to it doesn’t matter in just a few months. In October, Senator Lindsey Graham said specifically that if there was a quid pro quo, “that would be very disturbing.” Now, he’s changed his tune completely and says it’s ok.
I’ve come to believe the Republican Party no longer has any real principles and their only priority is winning. We saw it here in North Carolina first. The GOP tried to rig elections with a monster voter suppression law that would have restricted access to the ballot box and disenfranchised voters. They overruled local governments to redistrict municipal races and make them partisan despite a hundred years of advocating for local control and smaller government. They made judicial races partisan despite a national trend to try to reduce partisanship in the courtroom. The goal was not better government. The goal was to help Republicans win.
When the GOP impeached Clinton over an extramarital affair, they insisted on witnesses and documents. They told us that abuse of power was enough of a breach to remove the president from office. The arguments they made back then no longer matter. It’s about partisanship and power. It was about partisanship and power back then, too.
When the Clintons invited big donors to the White House and let them stay in the Lincoln Bedroom, Republicans screamed that it was violation of the office. Democrats were selling access. Today, Donald Trump has an entire hotel where donors wanting access need to stay. He has resort in Florida where people can reach him if they pay the price. That’s apparently fine with the Republican Party now.
We spent the first part of the Trump presidency hearing Republicans claim “No collusion” with Russia because they knew collusion was wrong. Today, they’re no longer denying collusion. They’re saying that it doesn’t matter. Sure Trump asked the Ukrainians to interfere, but as president, he can do anything he likes.
Nothing matters to the GOP except winning and they believe they need to Trump to win. They’ll protect the president no matter what he does and now he knows it. It’s more than just political cowardice. It’s unpatriotic because they won’t uphold the oath of their office.
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 >