In an op-ed published at The Washington Post this Monday, Michael Gerson argues that despite Donald Trump's election promises of rooting out corruption and fixing the 'broken' culture in Washington, he has instead called upon his party and followers to "normalize corruption and brokenness as essential features of our political order."
Using the example of the core foundation of Trump's upcoming impeachment trial, which is that he "used public funds as leverage to gain private, political benefits from a foreign government an impeachable abuse of presidential power," Gerson contends that Republicans' only means of defense against the charges is a "babbling incoherence in trying to avoid it."
"And because Trump denies any wrongdoing — pronouncing his own actions “perfect” — senators who vote for his vindication are effectively blessing such abuses in the future," Gerson writes. "Their action would set an expectation of corruption at the highest levels of our government."
According to Gerson, Trump's approach to governing resembles a "crime syndicate."
"Anyone Trump can hire or fire is assumed to be an operative, sworn to personal loyalty," he writes. "Fixers and factotums are employed to impose the leader’s will and to weed out resistance. Discipline is assured through the fear of swift and cruel reprisal. Any action that 'owns the Democrats' or defeats the 'deep state' is justified because Trump’s opponents are disloyal to the United States and seek its ruin."
"This is a world where ethical rules count for nothing," he continues. "A world where character is for chumps. A world where institutional constraints are temporary obstacles and the pursuit of power takes priority over every norm or principle."
Read the full piece over at The Washington Post.