In a column for the Bulwark, the founder and editor of the conservative website took at hard slap at both Donald Trump’s most avid defenders in Congress and their fellow Republicans who have remained silent after E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified in no uncertain terms that the president was engaged in bribery in his dealings with Ukraine’s government.
According to Charlie Sykes, “Yes, there was a quid pro quo. The president demanded it. Everybody knew about it. There was no secret. But we knew all that didn’t we?”
As the conservative columnist — who has made no secret of his opposition to Trump — explained Sondland, “dimed out pretty much everybody in the administration from Mike Pompeo to Donald Trump.”
And yet, he suggests, for GOP lawmakers, it’s like it never happened.
“One by one the various defenses and excuses of Trump World have been dismantled. There was no quid pro quo, the evidence is hearsay, the Ukrainians never knew about the delay in military aid … look there’s a squirrel over there,” he wrote. “But we knew those defenses would fall apart … and so did the GOP, because we’ve known what the story is all along. There is no mystery here. Trump’s efforts to bully Ukraine have been as subtle as a hacksaw in a surgery ward.”
“We know that everyone involved in the cleanup of this mess knew what was going on. Republicans tried to make an issue of the fact that Sondland made some presumptions about the linkage between the aid and the investigations, but, frankly, you don’t have to be a Rubik’s Cube champion to figure all this out,” he wrote before quoting George Orwell’s admonishment, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”
Noting the impeachment hearing show being put on for Trump defenders such as Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Sykes cut to the chase.
“By now it should be clear that this process is not really about facts or evidence. It is about the GOP determination to protect Trump and maintain his hold on power. No. Matter. What, ” he explained. “That is why they are so unmoved by the new revelations. They didn’t learn anything yesterday. They already knew what happened, don’t care, and see the whole process as an exercise in protecting the throne. Trump defenders will continue to shift the goalposts, because, for them, that is really the point.”
“They will offer nonsensical, bad-faith defenses, watch them continue to be demolished, and keep moving on without blinking,” he continued. “No smoking gun will change any of this, because the GOP knows the gun was fired; they know who fired it; and they know where the bodies can be found.”
“They just don’t care,” he bluntly concluded.