Many articles have been written about President Donald Trump’s influence on the modern-day Republican Party and the reluctance of Republicans to openly criticize him. But journalist Michael Tomasky, in an April 15 opinion piece for the Daily Beast, asserts that Trumpism is merely a symptom of the GOP’s overall ugliness — not the sole cause.
Tomasky recalls that when President Bill Clinton lied under oath about his extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the late 1990s, he incurred the wrath of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. The author then compares Clinton’s activities to the Trump-era GOP, concluding that the latter is much worse.
“Clinton lied to his people for one reason: he knew that if he told the truth, they would abandon him,” Tomasky explains. “His support within his party would collapse, he knew, if he acknowledged having sullied the presidency in that way.”
Trump, according to Tomasky, has done much more to sully the presidency. But he stresses that Trump is hardly alone when it comes to Republicans who are harming the United States.
Tomasky has taken Trump to task for everything from immigration policy (which he describes as “heartless”) to tax policy to his actions surrounding special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. But to pin the blame solely on Trump, he writes, is to overlook those who have been enabling him — and those enablers, according to Tomasky, presently range from Attorney General William Barr to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“Never forget: none of Trump’s actions would be possible without the full assent of the GOP,” Tomasky asserts, writing that GOP enablers like Barr and McConnell “are the real problem here.”
Tomasky, author of the book “If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed, and How It Might Be Saved,” has used the word “heartless” a great deal in connection with Trump, criticizing the president on everything from cutting social programs to separating families at the U.S./Mexico border. The journalist has noted that while the Donald Trump of 2016 promised he wouldn’t cut Social Security and Medicare, he is now “cutting them all.” But the Republican Party’s “mean” streak, he stresses, existed long before Trump’s presidency—and rather than the “economic policy of Trump’s administration taking over” the GOP, the GOP has “taken over” Trump on economics.
In his April 15 column, Tomasky revisits a theme he has embraced in previous 2019 articles: that Trump would not be empowered without the enthusiastic help of his party. Tomasky agrees that Trump has promoted policies that are “horrible to the environment” and “heartless to poor people,” but Trumpism does not exist in a vacuum, he stresses. And Barr, according to Tomasky, has become Trump’s “volunteer hatchet man.”