We are 116 days into Trump’s tenure in the White House and day after day he has behaved in a manner that his immediate predecessors, one a Democrat and one a Republican, would surely classify as unseemly and chaotic at best. Trump has been the source of far more controversy in his few days in office than President Obama and President Bush caused in their combined16 years in the Oval Office. While all of this Trump caused chaos has been occurring, most Republican Senators and Representatives have consistantly put party before country and refused to criticize the President as be behaved like a bull in a china shop, constantly violating the norms of presidential behavior observed by his predecessors for hundreds of years. With few notable exceptions, when Republican members of Congress weren’t actively making lame excuses for Trump’s behavior, they have instead found ways evade to reporters’ pointed questions.
When will these Senators and Representatives, who swore an oath to defend the constitution and this country, not the President, come out and publicly tell Donald Trump that enough is enough? Given the course of recent event, I truly believe that that time has come. If Republicans don’t start taking positive steps to start putting some distance between themselves and the President, they will likely pay a political price in future elections.
I haven’t the energy to record here all of the lies that Donald Trump told and the all of the things he has done to make a mockery of his high office since his inauguration, but let’s quickly review the events of just the last week or so. Trump fired the FBI director who was heading an investigation into his campaign’s collusion with the Russians to disrupt our election. Then Trump had his surrogates go out and lie about the reason for the firing before he personally changed the narrative under pressure, telling additional lies and then essentially admitting that the firing was really about the Russian investigation after all. Trump also admitted that he asked the FBI Director three times whether he was personally under investigation. It has also been leaked, probably by Comey, that Trump tried to extract a loyalty oath out of the FBI Director in return for being allow to continue to lead the FBI. These are all grievous breaches of established protocol. He also said that Comey assured him three times that he was not under investigation, almost assuredly yet another lie.
Then Trump hoisted a big middle finger to anyone who believed that a President should not be allowed to fire someone who is investigating him by hosting none other than the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the United States in the Oval Office. Trump wouldn’t allow the American photographers to document the meeting. However, the Russian new agencies quickly released several pictures of Trump and his Russian visitors with everyone all smiles and apparently having a jolly good time. This was the day after he fired the man responsible for leading the investigation into his possible collusion with Russians.
Consider if Hilary Clinton had won the election and had been guilty of anything half as egregious. The Republicans in Congress would be leading multiple aggressive investigations, howling for a special prosecutor, and gathering wood and kindling for a public burning at the stake. Save McCain and perhaps a few others, most Republican Congressmen spent their time hoping the press attention will fade with the next cycle. Well Trump has now made it next to impossible for Republican Congressional leaders to continue to treat the his egregious behavior as business as usual.
How can they continue to come forward and make excuses for him after he handed over to the Russians top secret information developed by one of our closest allies, an act that likely threatens the lives of one or more of their field operatives? It appears that the intelligence involved ISIS plans, perhaps how they have chosen to operationalize their recently developed laptop bombs. Why should any country again share their most closely held secrets with the Trump administration?
It is likely that Russia has already passed on the information to their Syrian and Iranian allies in the region and from there is a good probability that the information will eventually make its way back to ISIS with enough detail to reveal sources and methods. Not only could the operatives who obtained the information be in danger and perhaps killed, if ISIS also learns that their plans have been exposed they will take remedial action making the original intelligence useless. People all over the world could less safe when they fly.
If a US intelligence officer was caught making this same top secret information available to his Russian counterparts, he would spend the rest of his life in jail, but not Trump. The President has the right to declassify and pass on top secret information to anyone. You see, in this country for over 250 years we have always assumed that the American people would never elect to the Presidency someone stupid enough to use his power to give away our closely held secrets and/or those of our closest allies.
Republican Senators and Representatives can no longer publicly pretend that there isn’t a very troubling pattern involved in Trump’s most perplexing behavior – time and time again he has sent alarm bells ringing with relationships and interactions with Putin and his Russian surrogates. If Republican Congressmen don’t quickly begin to value their political careers over their legislative agenda, if and when Trump goes down, they will be branded traitors as well.