Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot wrote Monday that it is clear the Republican Party has evolved from tea party rage over the government to enthusiastically supporting an authoritarian President Donald Trump.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) took to Twitter last week to advocate against "quartering" protesters, meaning he opposed holding them under arrest or allowing them to stay anywhere. Cotton then advocated that troops should be sent into the streets to take down the protesters.
"There was no conceivable justification for such a draconian move. But Cotton’s panicky, premature demand is symbolic of the Republican Party’s transition from tea party libertarianism to Trumpian authoritarianism," wrote Boot.
He mocked Republicans for railing against President Barack Obama for executive orders and deficit spending. Now they're pretending like it never happened.
"The rejection of libertarianism isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What’s worrying is that the Republican Party has become increasingly hostile toward liberal democracy," wrote Boot, noting that Trump has quickly turned toward a greater degree of authoritarianism in the wake of the protests
"He threatened to have looters shot, demanded that the National Guard “dominate” the streets, and wanted to deploy 10,000 troops," he explained. "The Pentagon balked at his demands, but security forces did gas peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square so he could stage a photo-op."
Boot went on to jab former Republican Gov. Scott Walker (WI) for being barely able to contain his support: “Hard to imagine any other @POTUS having the guts to walk out of the White House like this.”
"Presumably, he is unaware that some previous presidents were actual war heroes," said Boot.
Cotton and Walker aren't the only ones. Boot noted Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wants to regulate social media and rejects “a philosophy of . . . unrestricted, unfettered free choice.”
He then cited a number of conservatives who have said recently that they are prepared to stage their own violent overthrow of the government until Trump is put back in place.
“If the left gets rid of the Trump we have, normal people will turn to the Pinochet we need,” said right-wing commentator Kurt Schlichter in reference to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who staged a military coup d'état in 1973. Trump retweeted the threat.
"U.S. conservatism has been drifting in an authoritarian direction for a while. Last week’s demonstrations merely made the danger more manifest.