The only thing more maddening than reading a sanctimonious anonymous op-ed in the New York Times from someone congratulating themselves for saving the citizenry from the orange menace in the Oval Office was watching the collective shrug of GOP lawmakers in response.
The piece we've all read by now, authored by a "senior administration official," outlined exactly what we have known and has been reported for months: Trump is a mentally addled clear and present danger to the very existence of our republic. The only difference here is that the report came from the perspective of someone on the inside looking out, and confirmed that Trump's own inner circle is an informal secret government working to subvert and mitigate the existential threat their commander poses.
But as the "who dunnit?" guessing game ensued, GOP Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker of Tennessee wondered simply "Who wouldn't have written it." Everybody's known about this from "day one," he said.
"Anyone who has had any dealings over there knows that this is the reality that we're living in,” Corker remarked about the White House, “and so I think a lot's been made out of nothing,"
Sure, Trump could blow us all up at any given moment, but don't get your panties all in a wad, folks—much ado about nothing.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse agreed.“It’s just so similar to what so many of us hear from senior people around the White House, you know, three times a week,” he said.
Yeah, ya know, several times a week we hear the President of the United States is so temperamentally unhinged that people are stealing documents off his desk.
I'm gonna apologize for this in advance but... good god almighty—what the hell are these guys doing? If a president is that inept, that unstable, that explosive, lawmakers have a constitutional duty to investigate what exactly is going on in the White House. Congress is a coequal branch of government for god's sake. As former Republican operative Nicolle Wallace said on MSNBC the day the op-ed posted:
“Why there haven't been calls for congressional hearings, even if they're in secret and closed from the public right now? Every cabinet member should be called before a closed hearing to be asked what is at stake, what is at risk, as long as there are men and women in our military in far-flung places with their lives on the line.”
Republicans who laughed this off this week as something they've known all along may as well have just spit in the face of the electorate they are supposedly serving. And to Wallace's point: What about the Americans who signed up to potentially make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this country? Is it too much for them to ask GOP lawmakers who are ducking reporters, gifting millions in tax cuts to billionaires and attending posh Washington fundraisers to show a little accountability to the people risking their lives overseas?
Meanwhile, some cretin in the administration stopped picking their nose long enough to aggrandize the "unsung heroes" around Trump who are making sure a vindictive and rapidly decompensating narcissistic sociopath continues to be within a moment's reach of the nuclear football.
Make no mistake, that person is a coward not a hero—or as Trump accurately called them, “gutless.” But perhaps one of the reasons they're making a public appeal in the press rather than approaching Capitol Hill with the curse gripping the West Wing is because jokers like Corker and Sasse are very best the GOP has to offer. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has immediately lost touch with whatever moorings John McCain once provided him, feigned ignorance about Trump's raging ineptitude. "I've never heard that before," he said of his golfing bestie, clearly keeping his eye on the prize of his own 2020 reelection.
And then there's North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows who does indeed think hearings are a good idea—to figure out who the nose picker is! Seriously, Meadows is in so deep he's either as delusional as Trump or he's holding hands with him under the thumb of Vladimir Putin.
No wonder we're experiencing this crisis of democracy where a secret society of absolutely no one Americans voted for is selectively deciding which of the orange menace’s impulses passes muster. That’s what you get when a party ridden with craven cowards, fools, thieves, and lunatics is in full control of Congress. There's no recourse, no constitutional check when an entire branch of government goes missing in action. As Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen writes: "The thing about autocracies, or budding autocracies, is that they present citizens with only bad choices." The nose picker had no good options thanks to Republicans.
Two weeks ago, the sworn confession of Michael Cohen that he was directed by Trump to commit criminal acts in support of his candidacy rose to the level of requiring impeachment. This week, a top Trump aide put another course of removal on the table, albeit anonymously: the 25th Amendment. Recent events have even some conservatives begging voters to put us out of our collective misery this November.
"The lesson to the voters—and maybe it's good that it came at this time," conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin told MSNBC, "is these Republicans will never defend the Constitution, democracy, and never check the president."
The only chance to clean up the mess Republicans have made is for us to vote our way out of it. As President Obama noted Friday in his reemergence on the national stage: "In two months, we have the chance — not the certainty but the chance — to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics.”
Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your coworkers—it's time to vote not as a partisan, but as a patriot to save our republic from the radical damage the gutless GOP lawmakers charged with leading this country are wreaking on it.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at the Daily Kos, which stipulates that its "content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified."