As Donald Trump’s guilt becomes more and more apparent, the deflections and obfuscations his defenders engage in have gone further and further off the rails.
Today on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd (who, in a watershed moment for journalism, recently started rockin’ a full beard instead of that sad Klingon-with-late-stage-malaria goatee), asked Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) why he said he “winced” when it appeared military aid to Ukraine was being held back until Ukraine investigated Trump’s pet theories about the 2016 election.
First, the context, from The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Johnson said he learned of the potential arrangement involving military aid through a phone call with Mr. [Gordon] Sondland that occurred the day before Mr. Johnson spoke to Mr. Trump. Under the arrangement, Mr. Johnson said Mr. Sondland told him, Ukraine would appoint a strong prosecutor general and move to “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 — if President Trump has that confidence, then he’ll release the military spending,” recounted Mr. Johnson.“At that suggestion, I winced,” Mr. Johnson said. “My reaction was: Oh, God. I don’t want to see those two things combined.”
Yeah, so Trump’s behavior there was clearly inappropriate. But today, Johnson was being a good little soldier.
WATCH: @SenRonJohnson is asked why he winced & brings up a "conspiracy theory."@chucktodd: "I have no idea why we're going here. … Can we please answer the question I asked you instead of trying to make Donald Trump feel better here that you're not criticizing him?" #MTP pic.twitter.com/41i7WPHQlF
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 6, 2019
I’m originally from Wisconsin, and while Ron Johnson being my senator wasn’t a primary factor in my decision to move away, I admit it was at least part of the calculus. Johnson’s Senate seat used to belong to Russ Feingold, whom I adored. But my state rejected him in favor of Rojo — which, to many of us, felt a little like your mom divorcing your dad so she could date Carrot Top.
Watching him sputter and spin on national television sure as heck doesn’t make me feel better about my home state.
That said, watching Chuck Todd, whom I’m ordinarily no fan of, slap the senator down like this is satisfying in the extreme.
Can he keep it up? Well, that depends. How absurd are Republicans going to get in their blinkered fake admiration of a clearly guilty man?