Cowards. Republican senators in attendance at the Thursday immigration meeting in which Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” really, really don’t want to talk about what they heard. Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue put out a joint statement, and boy are they ever cowards. After praising Trump because he “brought everyone to the table this week and listened to both sides,” Cotton and Perdue claim that “In regards to Senator Durbin’s accusation, we do not recall the President saying these comments specifically.” The two Republicans preface this non-denial with an attack, saying “regrettably, it seems that not everyone is committed to negotiating in good faith,” an attack that might be more convincing if they were actually denying that Trump said “shithole countries.” As it is, it looks an awful lot like an attempt to distract from their failure to really deny that he said it.
But seriously, they don’t recall? Even Republican senators don’t meet with the president all that often. You’d think it would be memorable … unless remembering is inconvenient. Or maybe they have some sort of post-traumatic amnesia. Also, “these comments specifically”? So at best what they’re saying is that they think they heard slightly different phrasing, but they can’t say what they think they heard because it’s not any better.
Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, is still in hiding, refusing to talk to reporters in “uncharacteristically snappish” fashion. But his fellow South Carolina senator, Tim Scott, talked to Graham and then to reporters:
Graham, Scott said, told him the reported comments are “basically accurate.”
“If that comment is accurate, the comment is incredibly disappointing,” Scott also told The Post and Courier on Friday morning.
So we’ve got one Republican saying—though not to reporters—that the accounts of what Trump said are “basically accurate,” while others say they just can’t remember Trump “saying these comments specifically,” while notably not denying that he said something outrageously offensive.
Cowards. And not just cowards. They’re not just afraid of Trump’s retribution. They’re afraid that if they admit Trump said what he said, it will weaken him and weaken their efforts to push the Republican agenda through Congress. They’re protecting him not out of personal fear or personal loyalty, but because he helps them do evil that they want to do. It’s not just weakness, it’s active bad intent.