Donald Trump
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I apologize for hitting the same theme over and over again, but I want to present you with this from a former Republican governor of South Carolina who now serves in the House of Representatives. You probably remember Mark Sanford from his remarkable feat of hiking the Appalachian Trail in Argentina with his mistress while officials in the Palmetto State desperately tried to discover their chief executive’s whereabouts. He has seen the new president and he’s not impressed.

But at least a few lawmakers have shown greater alarm at elements of Mr. Trump’s first days. Mr. Sanford recalled a recent conversation with a colleague in his party about the president’s false statements on voter fraud.

“A fellow member turned to me and pointed to it and said, ‘That’s what third-world dictators do,’” Mr. Sanford said. “They just repeat the same misinformation over and over and over again until it sinks in.”

It’s not normal to have a Republican congressman comparing a president of his own party to a third-world dictator because he lies so brazenly and repeatedly in his efforts to establish a false reality. Of course, Sanford was only repeating what his colleague felt. How did he feel?

Mr. Sanford was asked if he shared his peer’s concerns that Mr. Trump had displayed authoritarian tendencies. He paused for a beat.

“I’m going to give anybody the benefit of the doubt,” he said, “over the first three days.”

I’m not sure what’s with all the Republicans counting Trump’s presidency from Monday instead of from Friday noon when it actually began, but the three days are up no matter how you count them. There is a limit to how long you can give someone the benefit of the doubt. We’re stuck with doubt now, and it’s never going to improve.

Also, do you remember in my last piece when I cited the opening of a Washington Post piece to demonstrate the amazing skepticism and hostility with which or our press is already treating Trump?

Well the opening to the New York Times article I cited above may be even rougher:

For months, the strategies have been tested and recalibrated — the senatorial speed-walk, the bemused deflection, the jittery laughter — honed through a presidential campaign season of refutable claims, racially charged rhetoric and tape-recorded boasts of sexual assault.

So when President Trump and his team began their White House tenure with two whoppers, doubling down on false claims about his inauguration crowd and illegal voting in the election, Republicans on Capitol Hill this week assumed their positions.

Again, due credit to the media for changing their tone to meet the challenge of the times, but this isn’t something the country can endure for long. They created Section 4 of the 25th Amendment for a reason. Trump is that reason.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at