Writing in the Washington Post, conservative commentator Jennifer Rubin urged Republican leaders to take back control of their party from Donald Trump, saying the president has all but destroyed the GOP as a viable political entity.
According to Rubin, who has become one of the Trump's biggest critics, the Republican Party's tendency to "circle the wagons ... when one of their own is attacked for a misstep, unsustainable position or scandal" sometimes works -- but has met its match with Trump.
"Unless party leaders, activists and operatives make perfectly clear in public or in private when a party member cannot or should not be saved or when a position is indefensible, the entire party can become the victim of one politician’s political malpractice," she lectured.
Using the 35-day government shutdown as an example of Trump's unrestrained intransigence to illustrate how he has damaged Republicans as they stood by, watching while he took the party down with him, Rubin said they should have seen it coming and told him in private that he would not get their support.
"Behind closed doors, if not in public, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should tell Trump unequivocally that McConnell will not deliver a majority to sustain an emergency declaration," she wrote. "That would be an entirely reasonable political prediction, but more important, a way to prevent yet another political debacle."
Rubin added they had no one but themselves to blame.
"Imagine the grief Republicans would have saved Trump and themselves had they told him the Senate wouldn’t confirm unqualified and/or ethically challenged nominees; wouldn’t allow the national security exception to be misused for Trump’s tariff war; and would not permit his receipt of foreign emoluments" he explained. "Indulging Trump’s ignorant, sleazy and counterfactual impulses has brought Republicans nothing but political trouble (not to mention minority status in the House)."
"It is far better for the GOP, not to mention the country, for the party to erect guardrails for Trump than have him plunge himself, his party and the country into confrontations in which he cannot prevail," she summed up. "Indeed, had they done so more vigorously and more frequently, the Republican Party might not be looking at another disastrous election cycle."
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