In June 2017, Donald Trump summoned Republican senators to the White House for a meeting. This week, in a long op-ed for the New York Times about how Republicans tolerate Trump for their economic goals, columnist David Brooks dropped this nugget of information which seems to warrant wider play. Much wider:
As other relationships wither, many Americans are making partisanship the basis of their identity — their main political, ethnic and moral attachment. And the polls show that if you want to win a Republican primary these days, you have to embrace the Trump narrative, and not the old biblical one.
The Republican senators went to the White House and saw a president so repetitive and rambling, some thought he might be suffering from early Alzheimer’s. But they know which way the wind is blowing. They gave him a standing ovation.
Brooks correctly notes that people have brushed off his behavior because he may deliver their ultimate golden goose—tax cuts for their wealthy donors:
The people who reluctantly collaborate with Trump make a different error: economism. This is the belief that Trump’s behavior is tolerable because at least Republicans can pass a tax cut. People who believe that value money more than morals. Trumpism is not just economic, and it can’t be thwarted by passing a bit of economic policy.
Republican senators have apparently openly discussed with each other whether Donald Trump has early stage Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s all A-OK as long as he signs off on those tax cuts.