GOP: Let’s Keep ‘Humoring’ Deranged Sociopath In White House, Because That’s Worked Out So Well
January 6, 2021 would likely not have become a date permanently seared in our collective American memory if not for an earlier date, November 9, 2020. That's when almost all Republicans agreed to humor their mad king's efforts to overturn the election results. As Mitch McConnell would later admit just before Donald Trump's thugs stormed the Capitol, the 2020 presidential election wasn't even that close, unlike 2004, which came down to Ohio, or 2000, when 537 votes in Florida put George W. Bush in the White House. Joe Biden won decisively and overwhelmingly, but Republicans aided and abetted Trump's Big Lie.
They probably believed backing Trump's delusions would keep the party united and help boost turnout for the critical Georgia Senate runoffs. The baseless claims of fraud could also cast a cloud of illegitimacy over Biden's presidency. Republicans admitted off the record that they knew Biden cleaned Trump's clock, but they took a “no harm, no foul" approach to Trump actively undermining democracy.
On November 19, the Washington Post quoted an unnamed senior Republican official, whose shameless cynicism should haunt them for the rest their life.
"What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change," said one senior Republican official. "He went golfing this weekend. It's not like he's plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He's tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he'll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he'll leave."
Barely a month later, Georgia election officials were receiving death threats. A Dominion Voting Systems contractor and his family were threatened with a noose. Georgia elections manager Gabriel Sterling begged his fellow Republicans to stop “humoring" Trump, who was in fact "plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on January 20."
These cowards kept adding fuel to Trump's Reichstag fires. A week after Sterling's press conference, Texas GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Supreme Court to toss out 20 million votes in states that weren't Texas and overturn the election for Trump. He wasn't alone: 126 House Republicans and 17 Republican attorneys general signed their names to this “unprecedented assault on our democracy."
Looking back on the past two months, a violent climax to this insanity seems inevitable. Repeated losses in courts across the country only emboldened Trump, who ramped up his inflammatory rhetoric. All the while, Republicans kept silent, kept “humoring" him.
And then, on January 6, Trump's thugs invaded the seat of American democracy. Trump incited this mob, and now five people are dead. This includes a police officer whose death the so-called president won't acknowledge.
Have Republicans at long last learned something? Are they finally done “humoring" Trump or minimizing the damage he can cause?
Of course not.
Sensible people believe a president who raises a lynch mob against his political opponents, including his own vice president, is a clear and present danger. He shouldn't remain in office a second longer. Republicans, however, counter that Trump's probably learned his lesson this time, just like all the other times he didn't. What's the harm in humoring him so more and letting him while away the remaining nine days of his presidency?
Seriously, they're saying this with their straight faces. Sunday on “Face the Nation," Missouri GOP Senator Roy Blunt said he doesn't think Trump should resign but he cautioned him against any more violent insurrections.
Just dig this shit:
"I think the president's decisions and actions that day and leading up to that day on this topic were clearly reckless," Blunt [stated]. "I said that very early in the evening on Wednesday, that this was a tragic day for the country. And the president had involvement in that."
The assault on the Capitol wasn't a botched dinner party. If your reckless “decisions and actions" led to a riot that has a body count, keeping your job is the least of your problems.
"The president should be very careful over the next 10 days that his behavior is what you would expect from the leader of the greatest country in the world."
There is literally no reason to believe this. Maybe Blunt thinks it's safe to keep a rabid dog in the house, but we're not that stupid.
"My personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again," the senator continued.
Blunt didn't take the “hot stove" approach when, as a member of the House in 1998, he voted to impeach Bill Clinton for his fellatio-related offenses.
Nine days is a long time when the president is a sick bastard. He could start a war, perhaps even of the nuclear variety. We don't even have any real assurance that he's done with coups. He kept trying to overturn Biden's win after states certified their results. He continued past the safe harbor date when those results were legally considered “conclusive." He didn't stop once the Electoral College voted last month. He kept pressuring officials to “find votes" and uncover imaginary fraud.
As even the most corrupt and vaguely legal options dwindled for Trump, he only became more unhinged, declaring Mike Pence a coward because he wouldn't shred democracy for him.
America isn't safe until Trump is no longer president. Nine days, even nine minutes, is too long to have a ticking time bomb in the White House.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."