On Saturday, The New York Times editorial board published a warning to Republicans that it is time they took a stand on principle against President Donald Trump — because Trump himself will not protect the GOP when they need it.
"In the summer of 1950, outraged by Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist inquisition, Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican senator from Maine, stood to warn her party that its own behavior was threatening the integrity of the American republic," wrote the board. "'I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horsemen of calumny — fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear,' she said. 'I doubt if the Republican Party could — simply because I don’t believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest. Surely, we Republicans aren’t that desperate for victory.'"
"The Republican Party is again confronting a crisis of conscience, one that has been gathering force ever since Donald Trump captured the party’s nomination in 2016," continued the board.
"Afraid of his political influence, and delighted with his largely conservative agenda, party leaders have compromised again and again, swallowing their criticisms and tacitly if not openly endorsing presidential behavior they would have excoriated in a Democrat. Compromise by compromise, Donald Trump has hammered away at what Republicans once saw as foundational virtues: decency, honesty, responsibility. He has asked them to substitute loyalty to him for their patriotism itself."
"Thus far in office, Mr. Trump has acted against the national interest by maintaining his financial interests in his company and using the presidential podium to promote it; obstructed legitimate investigations into his conduct by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and Congress; attacked the free press; given encouragement to white nationalists; established a de facto religious test for immigrants; undermined foreign alliances and emboldened American rivals; demanded personal loyalty from subordinates sworn to do their duty to the Constitution; and sent his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, around the world to conduct what could most charitably be described as shadow foreign policy with Mr. Trump’s personal benefit as its lodestar," the board wrote.
And any attempts to stick by Trump are not worth the short-term boost with his hardcore voters, the board warned.
"Some Republicans have clearly believed that they could control the president by staying close to him and talking him out of his worst ideas," wrote the board. "Ask Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — who has spent the last two years prostrating himself before Mr. Trump in the hope of achieving his political goals, including protecting the Kurds — how that worked out. Mr. Graham isn’t alone, of course; there is a long list of politicians who have debased themselves to please Mr. Trump, only to be abandoned by him like a sack of rotten fruit in the end. That’s the way of all autocrats; they eventually turn on everyone save perhaps their own relatives, because no one can live up to their demands for fealty."
"Senator Smith’s question once again hangs over the Republican Party: Surely they are not so desperate for short-term victory as to tolerate this behavior?" concluded the board. "We’ll soon find out."
You can read more here.