In a column for Bloomberg, political analyst Jonathan Bernstein claimed that Republican lawmakers who are rushing to the defense of Donald Trump have been painting themselves into a corner now that bombshell State Department texts have exposed the White House attempting to trade foreign aided for dirt on political opponents.
As Bernstein notes, Republicans with a few exceptions have been remaining silent on the unfolding Ukraine scandal, and those that are still jumping in front of the cameras are finding they have little to offer the way of explanations that stand up under scrutiny -- particularly with a daily dropping of new revelations.
Bernstein notes that GOP defenders have multiple stages of denial they go through when defending the president.
"One typical excuse made when a president gets into trouble is that there’s insufficient proof," he explained. "That’s what President Richard Nixon’s defenders often resorted to, and it’s something Republicans tried out over the past week – noting that the whistle-blower in the Ukraine scandal had access only to secondhand evidence. That always seemed like a weak defense, especially once the White House published a summary of a call between Trump and the president of Ukraine that corroborated the whistle-blower’s account. But after Thursday, it’ll be hard to use that one at all, at least in good faith."
"Another classic defense is to question whether the president was personally involved. That’s how Republicans defended President Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra scandal, with some success. But it was never especially viable this time, and after Trump’s public performance on Thursday, it’s hopeless."
"What all this adds up to is that there are few good-faith defenses left," he elaborated. "That doesn’t mean Trump’s allies can’t spout cheap slogans and phony 'facts' and otherwise refuse to acknowledge what’s actually going on. In fact, it’s still more likely than not that most Republicans in Congress will do exactly that."
He then warned, "But they’re going to get undermined again and again by the facts of this case, and there’s a good chance that only the most intensely loyal party voters will be swayed by what they’re saying."
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