The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Trump thought ‘If you’ve got a fixer, it ain’t broken’

(Tom Toles) (Tom Toles)
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At this point we need no further evidence about what kind of individual President Trump is: Individual-1. Michael Cohen’s sentencing and incarceration are just the latest revelation of one more layer of slime. Exactly how legally damning this latest falling domino will be to Trump remains to be seen, but their very relationship tells us plenty.

Trump views his life as a broad avenue of license, where he can do what he pleases, including shooting people on Fifth Avenue if need be, and he will get away with it. If you have money, or find a way to use someone else’s, you can pay people to clean up your messes, or more accurately cover them up. Buy silence. Everyone is for sale. And then tell any lie you please and insist it’s the truth.

The latest group he has paid off is the Republican Party, with his tax cuts for the rich. And Republicans were eminently for sale. They are now conspicuously quiet about holding Trump to any sort of standard at all. This comes after how many decades of listening to Republicans lecture everyone about how character matters? It mattered until it pinched them. That is, they liked character until character was required, which is of course the only time that character matters.

Republicans have had a fixer of their own, a network of compliant messaging institutions, and so they’ve felt and still feel they can do anything they want, and somebody else will clean up their mess.

The problem is that Trump and his party have now created such a vast and towering pile of lies, hypocrisy and mushrooming legal problems that there isn’t a rug in the world large enough to cover it all. It is spilling out in every direction, and everyone can now see it. Including his vaunted, pandered-to base voters, who also used to love to talk about character until any was required.

It is no longer enough that Trump and Republican officials be stopped. They need to be held to account. You can’t inject this level of cynicism into the people’s government for this long and just walk away with your pockets filled with self-serving tax cuts. They owe a debt to our society, and we better find a way to make them pay it.

The fiscal deficit they keep running up and lying about is now dwarfed by the moral deficit they are amassing.