'Le GOP, C'est MOI!' Trump Insists, Threatening To Kneecap Republicans Who Forget This Home Truth
A chastened National Republican Senatorial Committee has been forced to apologize and stand in the corner for even hinting obliquely that its members should prioritize their own electoral prospects over the president's. How dare the NRSC allow one inch of daylight to appear between the vassals and their Feckless Leader! The Republican Party has been reduced to a bunch of braindead toadies strapped into a bus driven by a lunatic, madly clapping as they all head straight for the cliff. Which ... hey, knock yourselves out, assholes!
The purported disloyalty came in a memo advising Republicans to flog blatantly racist, anti-China agitprop as an electoral strategy. The memo, first reported by Politico last Friday, contains sage advice on demonizing China and Democrats to distract from Trump's woeful failure to prepare despite ample warning.
"My opponent is soft on China, fails to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party, and can't be trusted to take them on," it advises members to shout like identical hatebots.
"Democrats called President Trump's China Travel Ban xenophobic, even though that travel ban saved lives," it fulminates, encouraging senators to target Asians in their own community by noting that, "Nancy Pelosi urged San Francisco to get out to Chinatown to celebrate, even though the virus was raging."
It's an exhaustive compendium of nakedly racist, Yellow Peril hysteria, even coaching readers through the finer points of conspiracy theories about COVID-19 being created in a lab as a bioweapon. But that's not what got the White House's knickers in a twist — obviously they are extremely DTF with racism. Out of the 57-page memo, one line, which was trumpeted by Politico, pissed off President Babyshits and forced NRSC executive director Kevin McLaughlin to apologize and eat the shit sandwich.
In response to the question "Isn't this Trump's fault?" Republicans are advised "Don't defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban — attack China." Because getting into the weeds to defend your flank, particularly when it is so flabby and vulnerable to criticism, is a sucker's bet. Always stick with racism!
But the GOP is a party of one, and THIS AGGRESSION WILL NOT STAND, MAN! Politico reports that Trump sent his goons out to threaten the NRSC and offer to kneecap any senator who fails to publicly praise Trump's amazing record on coronavirus.
Trump political adviser Justin Clark told NRSC executive director Kevin McLaughlin that any Republican candidate who followed the memo's advice shouldn't expect the active support of the reelection campaign and risked losing the support of Republican voters.
McLaughlin responded by saying he agreed with the Trump campaign's position and, according to two people familiar with the conversation, clarified that the committee wasn't advising candidates to not defend Trump over his response.
So Gippers, ya better get out there and start touting Trump's amazing record of getting 56,000 Americans killed by disregarding a dozen mentions of the coming pandemic in his daily briefing and then failing to manage production so that states had adequate ventilators and PPE. If you know what's good for you, that is.
"There is no daylight between the NRSC and President Trump," McLaughlin assured Politico, adding, "Senate Republicans have worked hand in glove with the Trump administration to ensure a highly effective federal response to Covid-19."
Republicans are doing their best to adhere to the despot's order, sometimes to hilarious effect, as when Tom Cotton went on Fox this weekend to derp that Chinese students should only be allowed to study Shakespeare at American schools. Meanwhile, Trump's approval rating on his handling of the virus is in the shitter.
And yet, there is one bright spot for the GOP. Republican governors like Mike DeWine in Ohio and Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, who spent less time and energy kissing Trump's ass than they did protecting their own constituents, have achieved a bipartisan boost in their personal popularity. Trump's caterwauling at Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan did nothing to dent Hogan's broad appeal, at home in deep blue Maryland, or indeed nationwide.
Which might lead a rational Republican to think hard about the wisdom of tying his or her electoral prospects to an increasingly erratic anchor who has never achieved 50 percent popularity and might well be out of a job in January. But "rational" is really not the GOP brand, so they're dancin' with the crazy man that brung 'em. So, if the GOP loses congressional seats in 2020 — lookin' at you Thom Tillis and Susan Collins! — it will be because of stupid shit like this. And if that's the way they want to play it, we ain't mad about it!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.