Since his ascendancy, there's been little pretense veiling the Republican establishment's disdain for Donald Trump. So why have they continuously (and with a few notable exceptions) fallen in line behind him?
As Politico's Matt Latimer argues, it's neither that Republicans secretly believe in his gauche governing nor that they are "gutless wonders." Rather, it's what he can provide for them -- the tax cuts they crave. And soon, he'll have given it to them on a silver platter.
Late last month, Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn took the White House press podium to tell media that he decided not to leave the administration after Charlottesville (despite reports that he was seriously considering it) because he was too excited about the "opportunity" to "rewrite the tax code."
Detailing the ever-changing former bedrocks of the Republican party platform -- "free trade, fiscal restraint, nation-building" -- Latimer argues that all but one of the GOP's defining issues have been "thrown out of a golden Trump Tower window with barely a word of dissension." The one exception is Trump's tax plan that even the president's own Treasury Secretary has conceded will benefit the wealthy.
"Once signed into law, the Republican tax cut plan will give billions of dollars back to nearly every member and supporter of the GOP establishment," Latimer writes. "To D.C. Republicans, that’s well worth enduring a crazy tweet every now and again, or mouthing support for a wall that will never be built, or nodding agreement about a trade war that will never come to pass, or even standing witness to scary games of one-upmanship with crazy dictators."
And once the president signs that order, Republicans "will finally have an achievement to run on as they seek reelection in 2018."
"After that, the investigative team assembled by special counsel Robert Mueller can do its worst," he concludes. "Mueller would actually be doing GOP leaders a favor."
"To paraphrase the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar," Latimer writes, referencing the famous Star Wars character, "the tax cut bill is a trap."