Trump's GOP Isn't A Cult: It's A Haunted House We Need To Leave Right Away
Donald Trump has had a busy week celebrating the victories of white supremacists and praising brutal dictators. These presidential antics are almost typical nowadays, so the GOP and the media tend to focus more on the potty language of movie stars.
Bob Corker, retiring senator from Tennessee, is less upset about all of that and more troubled over Republicans seemingly shrugging off Trump's attacks on free trade. He wants to check the president's power to impose tariffs but claims his GOP colleagues are "afraid to poke the bear."
"It's becoming a cultish thing, isn't it? And it's not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of, purportedly, of the same party," Corker told reporters.
I am so freaking tired of Republicans claiming that Trump isn't one of them. He's signed the paperwork. He won the primary. He accepted the nomination and made the creepy speech. There were multiple exit ramps for the GOP, but they all led to a Hillary Clinton presidency and they considered that worse than showing up solo at their cousin's wedding. So, now Trump's their man. And the loving's so good, they won't even consider divorce or legal separation.
This is a toxic, codependent relationship, but it's not a cult. Cults are fun: You've got wacky robes and masks, sneakers, and rounds of Kool-Aid. Cult members also have a shared set of beliefs, even if ridiculous, that are greater than simply being out for all you can steal.
Oklahoma Senator James Lankford rejected the cult comparison in a CNN interview on Wednesday.
"I would disagree with that. There are areas that you can agree or disagree with any person," Lankford told Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Wednesday evening. "There are areas I agree with President Trump; there are a lot of areas I disagree. And that's fine. We should be able to have that ongoing dialogue. Where we agree, we should be able to work together. But I don't see it as a cult-like focus. I definitely wouldn't use that term."
Lankford added that he believes Trump is capable of accepting criticism of himself and his policies.
"I think the President can take it as well as dish it out," Lankford said.
He added, "I don't work for the President, I work alongside the President."
This is profoundly untrue. The newly unemployed South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford voted for everything that was important to Trump, but Trump still bodyslammed him on Election Day for no real reason other than his tepid criticism of Trump's more outspoken racist moments.
Professional Hillary Clinton Campaign Screwer-Upper James Comey has compared Trump to a "mob boss," but I'm starting to think the whole administration is playing out less like a gangster film and more like a horror movie where the plot demands that no one reacts like normal people to obviously terrifying events. "But her emails!" is essentially the political equivalent to "What a charming old house! I feel like I've always lived here" or "How often do you have such convenient access to a pet cemetery?"
Ronna McDaniel is the RNC Chair formerly known as Ronna Romney McDaniel before Donald Trump reportedly demanded she change her name to Ronna Mellencamp (they compromised with Ronna McDaniel). Her job is to go around and pretend that Trump is a normal, poor-slapping Republican like her uncle. She reminds me of the creepy kid in horror movies who looks sweet and innocent but starts making increasingly alarming statements.
We tried to ignore it for a while, but it's only escalated. Wednesday night McDaniel delivered her "They're here!" moment.
So... that's peculiar.
Who talks like this? She also tweeted it out just before my middle-aged man bed time, so I was sleeping with a flashlight and the covers pulled over my head. McDaniel tried to clear things up this morning, but it was about as reassuring as an extended director's cut of The Exorcist.
Frankly, I expect her head to start spinning around any time now. There are reports that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving her job as White House Press Secretary, but maybe that can only happen if someone says her name three times into a mirror. Either way, I'm not sticking around to find out. I don't care how low the asking price on America is right now. I'm not spending another night here.
Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.