Prominent conservative Charlie Sykes on Thursday ripped the Republican Party for making a “Faustian bargain” by electing Donald Trump, telling MSNBC’s John Heilemann the GOP has created “an almost insoluble” problem by endorsing the president.
Noting Trump on Thursday prompted fears of a global trade war when he announced nearly $50 billion in annual tariffs of goods from China, Heilemann said the president is “definitely not doing what his predecessors have done in the past.”
“In just the past 24 hours, the Republican Party has had to reconcile itself to a president completely, utterly, totally out-of-sync with what the GOP has traditionally stood for,” Heilemann explained. “It’s kind of a stark thing how much Donald Trump has departed from Republican orthodoxy just in the last 24 to 48 hours.”
Asked how his party is “coping with that spectacle,” Sykes replied, “I’m not sure I recognize the party any more.”
“This will really test their capacity to swallow all of this and to go along with all of these departures,” Sykes continued, adding Trump’s actions are “dramatic moves that threaten to eclipse almost every message that conservatives have had for the last 20 years.”
“They’re not even pretending to care about the deficit,” he explained. “They’re undermining the agenda of economic growth that they put through with the tax cuts and the appeasement of Vladimir Putin is exactly the kind of thing that Republicans used to mock [Barack] Obama for. So, yeah, we’re going to find out how much in this cult of personality with the very flexible ideology of Republicans, how much are they willing to go along.”
Heilemann later asked about the “Faustian bargain” the GOP made by electing Trump, noting while the president is “a liar, a nincompoop, he’s emotionally distributed, he’s not fit to be president,” the party decided “we’re going to use him as a vehicle to advance our policy agenda.”
“The policy agenda that he’s pursuing is utterly at odds with theirs,” Heilemann said. “What’s the rationale now if you’re a Republican? You’re going along with all the stuff you didn’t like before because why?”
“Well, that’s the thing about Faustian bargains,” Sykes explained. “You think you know what you want, but the price is way higher than you thought it was going to be. Now conservatives are waking up to realize how much they were rolled on this.”
Sykes suggested the only explanation for Republicans’ continued support of Trump is the cost-sunk fallacy.
“They’re in so deep they don’t see a way out,” Sykes said. “In for a dime, out for a dollar. Once you’ve sold half your soul, 55 percent, 60 percent of your soul, at a certain point where do you go? Right now, this is where they’re at. They cannot win this midterm election without the Trump voters. They can’t win by breaking with Trump. So, it’s almost an insoluble problem.”
Watch the video below, via MSNBC: