The claim by a former KGB spy that a former U.S. president had for decades been a Russian asset should be stunning, but in Donald Trump’s case, this report was not even surprising after five years of his party accepting and normalizing his behavior.
Mr. or Ms. Republican, there’s no question how you would have reacted if Barack Obama’s campaign had been rife with Russian connections, if U.S. intelligence services had concluded Russia actively attempted to help Obama beat John McCain, if Obama had fired the FBI director for investigating that meddling and fired his attorney general for recusing himself from that investigation, and if Obama had defended Putin while throwing shade at America. And there’s no question how you would have reacted if Obama had tried to leverage Ukraine’s vulnerability to Russian aggression by “asking” Ukraine’s president the “favor” of helping Obama to smear a Republican political opponent.
So, Mr. or Ms. Republican, what is your reason for not judging Donald Trump by the same standards of conduct that you would judge any Democrat?
Hillary Clinton concedes and exits the stage after the networks call the election for Donald Trump in the wee hours of the morning on Nov. 9, 2016.
And, Mr. or Ms. Republican, there’s no question how you would have reacted if Hillary Clinton had refused to concede the election after losing states she had been counting on — Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania — and had lied over and over again that she had actually won, and had directed her lawyers to file dozens of frivolous lawsuits, and if in a final act of fury, she had egged on her fervid supporters to show up for a “wild” day in Washington, and madly exhorted them to fight to stop Joe Biden from doing his Constitutional duty to count the Electoral College votes, and if that rabble, whipped into a frenzy by Hillary Rodham Clinton, had stormed the Capitol and murdered a police officer and injured over a hundred — and if, after that day of infamy, the majority of Democrats in Congress had continued to join Clinton in thumbing their nose at democracy and voted to reject the certified results of states — one last ugly and futile move to overturn the results of the election.
There’s no question, Mr. or Ms. Republican, how you would have judged Hillary Clinton had she been an unhinged sore loser who maliciously lied and incited a seditious, murderous mob. And there’s no question how you would have judged anyone in her party who had abetted her by parroting those lies.
So, once again, Mr. or Ms. Republican, what is your reason for believing that Donald Trump and those in your party who abetted him should not be judged by the same standards you yourself would judge any Democrat who acted the same way?
I don’t claim no journalist has ever asked a Republican politician this very basic question. I’m just surprised that I don’t recall it being asked, because for half a decade we’ve witnessed the abdication of responsible, commonsense judgment of Donald Trump by the vast majority of Republicans, and everyone who isn’t blinkered by abject loyalty to the GOP has been very conscious of both the danger of that abdication and the hypocrisy of it.
So it seems to me it’s a question that should naturally be asked of every Republican who defends Trump, and therefore a question we should have heard rather frequently over the past five years — and over the past few weeks.