Democrats have been remarkably restrained, candidly, during a presidency in which each day produces new outrageous remarks and policy positions that undermine our democratic norms. This latest outburst — along with Charlottesville — arguably is in a class by itself, suggesting to millions of Americans that your country of origin determines your value to the world.
We can already hear the excuses Republicans will raise — because they raised the same ones after his statement of moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and counterdemonstrators:
“This would be political.” Yeah, right. The appeal to our founding principles is political, but the defense of a president for violating those principles is not? This is blind partisanship, putting loyalty to the president above fidelity to our Constitution.
“It wouldn’t do anything.” Well, if they’d prefer impeachment, Democrats would gladly oblige. However, this is not an excuse to do nothing. Republicans do have a point though. More compelling actions would be passage of a fix for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which Trump inhumanely ended, and an extension of temporary protected status for Haitians and Salvadorans. Such legislative actions would refute the notion that we do not value immigrants from nonwhite, non-European countries. But of course Republicans don’t want to do this either.
“It would intensify partisanship.” Really? It’s hard to see how things could get much worse. To the contrary, when there is a price to be paid — even a symbolic one — for throwing red meat to the base and waving the bloody shirt, perhaps there will be less of it.
We know full well Republicans won’t join this effort and will not allow a vote. They’ve tied themselves to Trump so tightly that there is no way to wriggle away from his obnoxious views. Moreover, some GOP lawmakers, as they’ve said openly (cheered by the attorney general and anti-immigrant groups), agree with him. The rest of Republicans likely don’t want to offend the “deplorables” who seem to be such a vital part of the GOP base that elected leaders feel they can no longer defend the Declaration of Independence.
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