No one has to convince any American that President Donald Trump is a vindictive, compulsive liar.
Even those whose sole source of information is Fox News propaganda or Facebook cannot in good faith deny his mendacity and cruelty.
However, after years of antics by a U.S. president no one thought possible, and schemes that a majority of Americans and members of Congress agreed were patently illegal, Trump outdid himself last week.
Americans may be exasperated, vexed or even bored by the endless and most recent rackets of Trump and Republicans, but they are not fooled by the circus. It would be as dangerous as Trump is himself to brush aside what he did last week as, “that’s just Trump.”
Trump leveraged threats of his vengeance and rejection by his base of right-wing activists against any Senate Republican who dared to entertain evidence of the criminal wrongdoings that led to the president’s impeachment.
Trump was caught conniving millions of dollars of military aid as a way to extort a bogus investigation against his political rival. And he dared Republicans to bring forth first-hand testimony and documents in the Senate that might prove his corruption.
The only thing more craven than Trump’s scheming bribery and extortion was the gutless complicity of Senate Republicans who caved into intimidation. Rather than stand up to the harrowing task of pushing back against the chief of their political party, and face his scathing wrath, Republicans like Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner lied to themselves. They lied to their constituents and the nation.
Had Trump been a Democrat, this body of Republican Senators would have stopped at nothing to put every shred of evidence and testimony on prominent display for Americans to behold.
They would have been right to do so.
As Trump’s Republican stooges were preparing to complete the president’s sham impeachment trial and promised acquittal, Trump rolled out a State of the Union address like no other. It was a pithy reality show that rarely came close to reality.
The list of lies, wild exaggerations and deceptions was well documented just hours after the show of shows ended. Trump has not protected exclusion by pre-existing conditions in health insurance, he has fought hard to end it. Trump has signaled on more than one occasion he wants to cut Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Trump lied about border security details before he took office and what’s happening since then.
Rather than push against Trump’s fictitious claims, Republicans cheered and applauded them.
The week got worse for Americans after Senate Republicans expectedly granted Trump an impeachment acquittal.
The argument against removing Trump from office, despite his proven, impeachable crimes, is a strong one. Joining Trump’s wholesale propaganda scam, however, was an American tragedy.
Gardner’s pathetic excuse for cowing to Trump’s acquittal command was reprehensible.
“This is a policy question,” Gardner said in an interview last week with Colorado Public Radio. The comments came after months of dodging reporters pushing Gardner to talk about the impeachment. “Does the United States have the ability to investigate how its taxpayer dollars are being spent? A concern about corruption, particularly in Ukraine was clear. It’s been clear for many administrations, including President Obama who appointed a Vice President Biden to be the chief of corruption, looking into corruption in Ukraine. So we have to be able as a country to determine how our money is being spent. And that is not an impeachable offense.”
Even just-half-way honest Republicans in the Senate rejected such claptrap. If there were questions as to whether Trump was truly only interested in the accountability of foreign aid, Gardner had every chance to query witnesses to clarify what was already overwhelming evidence against Trump.
Gardner’s embarrassing cowardice stood in stark contrast to GOP Sen. Mitt Romney. The Utah senator brought the Senate and the nation to a standstill for several moments as he illustrated what credibility and morality are all about. While Gardner sealed his fate as just another toady for Trump, Romney gambled his political career against his integrity and voted against the president.
The moment will forever define Romney, just as Gardner’s moment will define him.
That led to Trump’s most galling stunt of the week. At an annual national prayer meeting, where even atheists and agnostics take some interest because it makes a yearly attempt to push warring political factions to find whatever common ground they can, Trump outdid even himself.
In a vain attempt to lash out at Romney, Trump shallowly tried to turn the Utah senator’s astounding public confession against him.
While non-religious Americans snickered at Trump’s gutless hypocrisy, believers saw first-hand what a faithless fraud Trump is.
It was discouraging to watch Trump corrupt an imperfect America, which most people care deeply about making better. But it was deflating to see people like Gardner and other Republicans in their complicity or actively try to fool Americans into accepting Trump’s malevolence.
Why? There’s no shame in believing that trickle-down economics really works, or that vast government deregulation is a net win for the nation. And there really are honest, smart conservatives with integrity who could implement those politics from the White House.
Trump ended the week vindictively firing honored Army veteran Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and respected intelligence officer who had the courage and temerity to truthfully testify against Trump during the House impeachment hearings.
Why allow Trump to drag conservatism into the sewer with him? If Republicans believe the only way to bring conservatism to America is by sacrificing their integrity and allowing a lying, sadistic felon to subvert the government, then they lose right along with the rest of the nation.
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