Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Despite the clear evidence that Donald John Trump tried to engineer a coup to overturn President Biden's election, Republicans continue their obeisance to the disgraced former president -- even those who just wish he would go away.
Listen to the podcast:
The Hill reported today that most Senate Republicans do not want Trump to run again for the presidency. But not surprisingly, their reasons are purely political and have little or nothing to do with Trump's inciting the January 6th insurrection, or his effort to bully his own Justice Department into aiding and abetting his attempted coup.
None of that, apparently, matters. Their only concern is Trump's potential impact on their own political futures.
Also today, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) refused on Fox News to say whether he believes the election was stolen, offering repeated ring-around-the-rosy answers to Chris Wallace when pressed on the matter.
All of this comes on the heels of a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation report that details how Trump tried persistently to enlist the Justice Department (DOJ) in his scheme to overturn the 2020 election results.
“One thing we know is you, Rosen, aren’t going to do anything to overturn the election," Trump told acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen in one of many phone calls in which he asked for help in overturning the election.
The Judiciary Committee's report says Trump repeatedly complained to Rosen that the DOJ wasn't doing its job in investigating his unfounded election fraud claims.
At one point, Rosen told Trump that "DOJ “can’t and won’t just flip a switch and change the election.” In response, the report says, Trump asked that DOJ “just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the [Republican] Congressmen,” referring to the Republican House Members who would be challenging the Electoral College certification on January 6. Rosen recalled Trump arguing that DOJ “should be out there finding [the election fraud] and saying so,” and that DOJ should “just have a press conference,” the report said.
In other words, defeated president Donald Trump tried to instruct the acting Attorney General of the United States to find a way, any way, to overturn one of the most sacred acts of a free democracy -- our election.
In addition to the Senate Judiciary Committee's investigation, the special House committee investigating the Jan. 6th attack on the Capitol issued subpoenas last week to Trump's key aides, which Trump has ordered them to ignore. The resolution of that issue is likely to end up in the courts.
So, despite all of this; despite the trauma that has beset our nation as a result of the January 6th insurrection; despite the fact that even criminal charges could await Trump, Republican politicians of all stripes continue to defer, at best, embrace, at worst.
When Scalise was asked by Wallace on Fox if he believed the election was stolen, did he face reality and say "no"?
Of course not. Here's what he said instead:
"Well, Chris, I've been very clear from the beginning. If you look at a number of states, they didn't follow their state-passed laws that govern the election for president. That is what the United States Constitution says. They don't say that the states determine what the rules are. They say the state legislature determined that."
Sounds like he's still tiptoeing through the tulips to me. Of course, the fact that Trump won Louisiana 58.5% to 39.9% over Biden, a margin of 18.6%, and large numbers of his supporters are still true-believers would have nothing to do with Scalise's reluctance to cross Trump. Of course not.
As for those Senate Republicans who don't want Trump to run again, it's not because of his despicable and treasonous actions surrounding the election, it's because they believe his candidacy, if announced before the 2022 midterms, would make it politically more difficult for the GOP to regain the House and/or Senate. Because then, the election would be focused on Trump, not Biden.
According to The Hill, numerous GOP senators don't want to see Trump as their party's standard-bearer in 2024 at all. Why, because of his poor track record with independent and swing voters -- again, not because he tried to engineer a traitorous coup of our government.
And then, as always, there is Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who once famously said that Trump is a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot” among other choice words, like “You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.” Then, on the same day Trump essentially clinched the GOP nomination, the senator predicted, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it.”
Now, Graham has become perhaps Trump's closest confidant in the Senate and has been encouraging him to seek another term.
“I’ve been pushing the idea that a Draft Trump movement would be well received,” Graham told The Hill.
“I think he was a good president on the things I care about,” he said. “He’s going to have to deal with the problems in 2020 but, yeah, I think he’d be the most viable candidate right now.”
Right. Trump will have to "deal with the problems in 2020" if he runs again, and if he wins, America will have to deal with the problems of Donald Trump all over again.