NYTimes issues scathing editorial warning the only thing Trump learned was he can do whatever he wants to win
President Donald Trump listens during a phone conversation with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto on trade in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on August 27, 2018. (AFP / Mandel Ngan)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that she hoped this experience taught President Donald Trump what was improper and inappropriate. Trump, however, shot back that the call was "perfect." It prompted the New York Times editorial board to explain to Collins and other Republican senators like Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) that the only thing Trump learned is he can do whatever he wants to win.

The scathing editorial began with a rebuke of the most harshly partisan State of the Union address in recent memory. One thing he was wrong about, the board wrote, "he grotesquely caricatured the criminality of undocumented immigrants, rewrote the history of his assaults on Americans’ health care and drastically inflated the number of jobs expected to be created by the new trade bill."

This is the Trump brand: if it doesn't look good, just deny it. Any news the president doesn't like is "fake." Any policy he's wrong about, he lies about. Anything that was wrong, he calls "perfect."

"By the end, many Republicans had conceded that Mr. Trump did the things he was accused of," the board wrote. "Some agreed that they were 'improper,' 'inappropriate' or even 'wrong.' Yet rather than try to get to the bottom of his behavior, they joined the White House in covering up as much about it as they could."

The Times said that reasonable Americans may have seen the documents and evidence and decided Trump shouldn't be removed, but the Senate Republicans never gave anyone that opportunity. " Mitch McConnell," the board argued, "turned out to have too little regard for Mr. Trump’s ethics, or for the American people’s sense of justice, or perhaps both, to take that chance. Under Mr. McConnell’s guidance, the impeachment trial in the Senate was a joke at the Constitution’s expense. Anyone hoping for a demonstration of responsible governance or the vindication of the separation of powers could only be dismayed."

What it did reveal that should concern many Americans is the degree to which the Republican Party is beholden to Trump.

"In that sense, the trial provided an important service to Americans, clarifying the stakes in the coming election," the Times wrote.

They went on to nail Collins for her claim that Trump will be more cautious in the future. It was an odd claim given Trump's new "fixer," Rudy Giuliani, said "absolutely; 100 percent" does he intend to keep moving forward with his bribery of Ukraine.

As with Trump's business life, the Senate has "enabled" the president, the Times wrote. "His exceptional shamelessness — intends to deploy every power available to a president in pursuit of his re-election. If there remained any doubts on that score, they were dispelled when Melania Trump hung the Presidential Medal of Freedom around Rush Limbaugh’s neck."

"Given the dishonesty, if not downright absurdity, of some passages in the speech, it was perhaps a human reaction on the part of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to tear it to shreds," they concluded.

If that won't get the attention of the nation or even of Republicans to wake up, it's unclear if anything could.

"This election is about more, of course than restoring sanity to the Republican Party, essential as that is. Mr. Trump’s speech was a fantasy," the Times closed. "America is not thriving under his leadership. Far from 'stronger than ever before,' the union is faltering under his divisive, corrupting politics. The chants of “four more years” that resounded from only one side of the House chamber on Tuesday night should ring as an alarm for all Americans who want their children to live in an even greater nation."