Fresh off the heels of becoming the first US president to be impeached twice, Donald Trump continues to cause pains to the Republican Party. In 2008, then-Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain silenced a woman who called his opponent, Democratic candidate Barack Obama, an “Arab”. McCain grabbed the microphone from her hand and said, “No ma’am, he’s a decent family man, a citizen who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.” The next day, Obama thanked McCain, and despite being rivals, the two always spoke of each other with respect.
Trump, on the other hand, was not invited to the funeral, and with good reason. He had mocked McCain’s military service — never mind that Trump reportedly lied about having a bad foot to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War, while McCain was tortured as a PoW for over five years. McCain did not want the support of racists and bigots. Trump pleaded for it. He regularly hesitated to condemn white nationalists, neo-Nazis and fascist thugs. On some occasions, he actually praised them. That is why even former Republicans now refer to the party as the cult of Trump. Despite zero evidence, over half of the elected Republicans backed Trump’s lies about election rigging. Only 10 appear to support convicting him for his role in last month’s deadly Capitol siege.
Meanwhile, the party refuses to punish elected officials like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Trump lackey who claims that school shootings were staged by anti-gun activists; former Senator Hillary Clinton tortured children; no planes hit the Pentagon on 9/11; and the 2018 California wildfires were part of a Jewish conspiracy using space lasers. She has also said Muslims do not belong in government while wrongly claiming that elected officials must take their oath on the Bible.
Refusing to formally condemn Trump’s lies and bigotry led us to this. People like Greene are no longer the party’s unwanted fringe voters. They are the party.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2021.