'Acquiescence to Trump is now the defining trait of the Republican Party': WaPo reporter
Donald Trump's former Republican presidential rivals (L-R) Ohio Governor John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Senator Ted Cruz all say they will not vote for the billionaire (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)

Republicans' refusal to stand up to President Donald Trump is changing the nature of the party -- and the perception of how the GOP is viewed by voters.

Robert Costa, national political reporter for The Washington Post and moderator of "Washington Week" on PBS, explained the dynamic on Saturday.

"Acquiescence to Trump is now the defining trait of the Republican Party more than two years into his presidency — overwhelming and at times erasing principles that conservatives viewed as the foundation of the party for more than a half century," Costa concluded.

Costa cited three data points -- all just from the last week -- to make his case. He noted how Congressional Republicans refused to follow-up on Michael Cohen's allegations, how they "shrugged" when Trump defended Kim Jong-un and how 184 House Republicans voted to defend Trump's declaration of national emergency.

"Trump’s ownership of the GOP was on vivid display again Saturday, when the president appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, an annual gathering that has transformed into a raucous celebration of Trump, featuring propaganda-style art and a speaker who declared that the president was 'chosen by God,'" he noted.

Trump's "unhinged" CPAC speech was widely panned.

"In interviews over the past week, Republicans on Capitol Hill offered an array of reasons for their unflinching loyalty to Trump as the 2020 campaign begins to take shape: a deep-seated fear of his pull with their supporters in primary races; fraying consensus about conservatism as nationalism takes hold of the party; and shared partisan disdain for Trump’s perceived enemies in the news media and the Democratic Party," Costa reported.

Read the full report.