Donald Trump will enter office as the least popular president in decades, but Republican lawmakers are afraid to challenge him and his online troll army.
Congressional staffers say Trump’s use of Twitter to shame critics has had a “chilling effect” on GOP lawmakers, who are refusing to speak out against the president-elect’s proposals that stray from Republican orthodoxy or other traditions, reported Politico.
“Nobody wants to go first,” said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), who received a barrage vicious of phone calls, letters and tweets after calling on Trump to release his tax returns. “People are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of Sean Hannity, for fear of Breitbart, for fear of local folks.”
Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) learned that lesson after he pointed out that some of Trump’s proposals did not “line up very well with our conservative policies.”
Breitbart singled out his comments as proof that House Republicans would try to block Trump’s “populist campaign promises,” and conservative bloggers directed Twitter users to drown Flores in a “sh*t storm” of criticism.
Hannity, the Fox News broadcaster, also attacked Flores on his syndicated radio show — and Twitter users urged the lawmaker to hang himself and threatened to “burn your career down until you are reduced to selling life insurance.”
An editor for Breitbart, which was run by Steve Bannon until he left to work for Trump’s campaign and then as his chief White House strategist, admits the website enforces loyalty to the president-elect.
“If any politician in either party veers from what the voters clearly voted for in a landslide election … we stand at the ready to call them out on it and hold them accountable,” the editor told Politico.