What Will Republicans Do Now?

Let’s be clear about something: the current president of the United States is a white supremacist.

An awful lot of people have been equivocating about that one. The issue is not that he is pandering to white supremacists in order to secure their support…he agrees with them. Based on his history before and after running for the presidency, he simply put an exclamation point on that yesterday. But it’s even more serious than that.

If we were to do a Venn diagram of people who are narcissists, paranoid and white supremacists, I suspect that there would be a fair amount of overlap. And right in the middle of that would be the man who has been elected to lead the most powerful nation on earth—Donald Trump. Combine those things and you have a recipe for disaster.

In reporting on the events yesterday, the New York Times included this little nugget:

No word in the Trump lexicon is as tread-worn as “unprecedented.” But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private.

What that tells us is that those who go beyond seeing what this president says in public or on Twitter are regularly exposed to what we witnessed yesterday. That would include his closest advisors, his Cabinet, and Republican congressional leaders. In other words, the people who have the power to intervene to stop this disaster-in-the-making have been regularly exposed to the unfiltered version of Trump. They can’t claim ignorance or surprise.

For a while now I’ve been saying that, left to his own devices, Trump will not get better. As a matter of fact, the pressures and public exposure that come with the presidency will only make things worse. That is what Tony Schwartz (ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal) was addressing in this tweet following the press conference yesterday:

He’s right, we must stand in opposition to this president every day. But we also have to recognize that until 2020, the only people with the power to remove this threat from the White House are members of his Cabinet and/or congressional Republicans…who have an even closer look at how this president is unraveling.

If they can’t make a move to do anything out of a desire to save our country, then they could simply look at it from their own self interest. It must be clear to them by now that either they do something about this president or the entire Republican Party goes down with him. In addition, they have an agenda that is even less likely to go anywhere as long as Trump is the leader of their party.

I’m not suggesting that people like McConnell and Ryan will come to their senses anytime soon, anymore than I expect that Pence, McMaster, Cohn and Kelly will make any moves with regards to the 25th Amendment. From my vantage point, I don’t have the ability to gauge their complicity. But right now, when the depravity of the man in the White House is on display for everyone but the perpetually blinded to see, might be a good time for them to start having this conversation…if they haven’t already.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.