You created Trump, GOP. Now he’s all yours.
Our long, national nightmare has just begun. Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee for president. And it’s all the Republicans’ fault.
I don’t mean the voters who voted for him. Sure, it’s their fault because they’re the ones who believed his racist, sexist, misogynistic, Islamaphobic, anti-Hispanic, anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, anti-disabled people attacks (did I leave out anyone?) over the last 11 months, and echoed, sheeplike, “He’s telling it like it is.”
No. They think he’s “telling it like it is” because that’s what the Republican Party and right-wing media have been telling them for years. Only not so loudly. Instead of the dog whistle, Trump is using a bullhorn.
Many in the media are wringing their hands and issuing mea culpas on how they didn’t take Trump’s candidacy seriously, how they should have called him out on his lies, how they shouldn’t have turned cable news into the Trump channel. Seriously? It’s a little late for that. I think the country was over-Trumped long ago, but the media just couldn’t resist the ratings.
Now some Republicans are trying to act as if they’re horrified about the Donald’s candidacy. The two past Bush presidents, George H.W. and George W., are not endorsing — no surprise, seeing how Trump treated former Florida Gov. Jeb! Bush and his candidacy. Remember that one year ago, he was the presumptive nominee because of his huge money advantage.
Past Republican presidential nominees are taking a pass on the July Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won’t be there. Arizona Sen. John McCain, locked in a surprisingly tight battle for his Senate seat, is also taking a pass. Several GOP senators in close election contests this fall — ones they are increasingly likely to lose — might find that they have family vacations in mid-July, or that they’ll have to wash their hair for several days in a row.
The latest “maybe” comes from House Speaker Paul Ryan, who says he’s just not on board yet with the Donald, according to a CNN story. “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Ryan must have forgotten that as House speaker, he’s in charge of chairing the convention, so he’s the guy who has to actually coordinate Trump’s nomination and all the hoopla that follows in that role.
Trump, of course, couldn’t resist dropping the “presidential” act in his response, given in a phoned-in (of course) interview on Fox & Friends: “He talks about unity but what is this about unity? With millions of people coming into the party, obviously I’m saying the right thing.”
Talking Points Memo has a rundown of the GOP endorsements that Trump as received so far. The list of full-throated endorsements is rather slim at this point: a few senators and some governors, including former rival and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who no doubt sold his soul to the devil figuring he might have a shot in a Trump administration. The TPM rundown keeps growing as Republicans jump on the Trump train.
Some are offering “support” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), some are downright fuzzy as to what they’ll do, and some are on the #NeverTrump list. At this point, there seem to be more conservative pundits on the #NeverTrump list than are actual GOP office-holders.
I suspect that most Republicans will come around publicly, but that they’ll do it tepidly and quietly. The Republican convention is too good a venue to gain national attention, especially for those who are already gearing up to run in 2020 after the first term of President Hillary Rodham Clinton.
On the night of the Indiana primary, when Trump all but clinched the nomination, MSNBC’s Steve Schmidt, who had run McCain’s campaign in 2008, made an interesting statement: Republicans need to ask whether they love their country more than their party.
What Republicans do in the privacy of the voting booth is their own business. Let’s hope they follow those with a conscience instead of walking the country into disaster.