Almost without exception Republican federal office holders have remained loyal to Donald Trump. My question is: Why? Let’s explore.
Trump is a person who views loyalty as a one way street; he demands it but almost never gives it. The inability of most applicants for administration jobs to pass Trump’s loyalty test is the major reason so many posts remain unfilled; not Democratic obstruction. It is impossible to obstruct the approval of a non-existent nominee. The only person Trump has been loyal to is Michael Flynn. That makes me (and a lot of other people) wonder what Flynn either knows or has on Trump. I think Trump would be loyal to his daughter Ivanka. That will probably never be tested because I doubt she really knows much in the way of secrets. I assume he will be loyal to her husband Jared Kushner but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Why are so many others staying loyal to a President who is under so much fire?
Trump is not part of the Republican establishment. This is not like a Richard Nixon who was “one of the boys” and had built friendships (or at least working relationships) over decades. To most Washington Republicans until very recently Trump was just a name on a very good call list.
Vice President Mike Pence has told a plethora of lies defending Trump. He remains loyal because as long as he can steer clear of charges he is the heir to the throne. Mitch McConnell along with his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, stay loyal because they have a tremendous scam in the offing if they can ever get an infrastructure bill passed.
It would be popular to suggest that many other DC Republicans are staying loyal because in Trump they have a president who won’t veto legislation they can get passed that furthers the extreme elements of their agenda. That doesn’t hold water in my mind. Almost any Republican President would sign their bills. The only exception I can think of from the 2016 clown car is (in some cases) Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. After Trump I’ll never say “never”, but I think a President Rand Paul is not too likely.
Certain cases stick out in my mind. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is the most prominent among them. After Trump repeatedly called him ‘Lyin Ted, insulted his wife and implied his father was complicit in the assassination of JFK why would he talk to the man much less generally support him? Trump wasn’t much nicer to Florida Senator Marco Rubio who he called Little Marco and generally belittled.
My regular readers know I follow the Senate much more than the House, but I’d like to spend a few sentences on the lower chamber. Utah’s Jason Chaffetz just resigned his seat and Chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee to take a job with Fox News. Could it be that Chaffetz (who endorsed and unendorsed Trump several times during the 2016 campaign) felt it more politically expedient to run rather than fight Trump? How much do you think he will be able to expose Trump’s transgression from a seat at Fox?
California’s Kevin Nunes went from a relative unknown to a joke for his antics trying to defend Trump as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Nunes will soon see the day that he will pine for the time he was relatively unknown outside California’s 22nd Congressional District. Oh and Kevin, don’t hold your breath waiting for Trump to set you up in a good job if your 2018 reelection bid falls short.
Unless Washington is a lot dirtier or Trump’s future is a lot brighter than I think, I’m perplexed.
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