The most striking thing about the era of Trump is watching the ease with which Republicans reject facts and embrace what Kellyanne Conway dubbed “alternative facts.” It sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit but it’s becoming our national nightmare. Mark Meadows recently said, “I think what happens is, when we start to look at the facts, everybody has their impression of what truth is.” Orwell warned us about this future. Republicans are making it come true. 

Then yesterday, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) told Chris Wallace on Fox News that he didn’t know if the Russians hacked into the DNC server saying, “I don’t know, nor do you, nor do any others.” In fact, we do know that Russia hacked the servers. The only people saying we don’t are Trump partisans and the Russians. In essence, Republicans are giving credence to a foreign disinformation campaign. 

Also yesterday, Trump began his attack on the military. He’s elevating war criminals to war hero status against the wishes of career generals and admirals. He canned the Secretary of the Navy when he protested Trump undermining military discipline. The president is undermining the leadership of the armed forces in order to solidify his support and no Republicans appear to be pushing back.

In the impeachment hearings, Trump’s primary defense is character assassination. Career public servants with no partisan goals get trashed by the president and the GOP Members of Congress do nothing to rebuke him. A number of the people he’s calling liars and partisans would almost certainly be Reagan Republicans. Others are people who were loyal to him until they faced the prospect of jail time for perjury, but Republicans will stick with the president instead of the ones telling the truth. To them, truth is relative and if it undermines Trump’s presidency then it’s irrelevant. 

I understand why the Mark Meadows of the world stand with Trump. Meadows is an intellectually challenged man who believes the world is 6,000 years old. He’s the person Lincoln was talking about when he said “you can fool some of the people all of the time.” I think I understand why Lindsey Graham has debased himself so pitifully. Trump has something on him that would be terribly embarrassing and end his political career in disgrace. I even understand the Thom Tillis politicians who stand for nothing other than their own political future. 

I don’t understand people like Senator Kennedy who is smart, well-educated and has a reputation for independence. The evidence of Russian interference is overwhelming. The impact of their continuing intervention in our electoral politics could be devastating to our democracy. His equivocation on the Russian hack undermines the diplomatic corps and intelligence agencies trying to defend our country. What happened to those kinds of Republicans?

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