Indeed, whether it is betraying allies in the Middle East or Europe; siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of the Kremlin’s culpability in interference with the 2016 election; trying to extort our allies to keep troops forward positioned in their countries; or ludicrously defending North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who claimed ignorance of the murder of Otto Warmbier, there will be a whole bunch of very usable quotes from Republican hawks condemning Trump’s conduct.
Many of these devastating retorts come from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.):
News from Syria is sickening. Turkish troops preparing to invade Syria from the north, Russian-backed forces from the south, ISIS fighters attacking Raqqa. Impossible to understand why @realDonaldTrump is leaving America’s allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) October 9, 2019
On extorting allies, she declared, "The notion that we are somehow now going to charge them cost plus 50 is really, it’s wrongheaded and it would be devastating to the security of our nation and to our allies.” And as for Trump’s siding with Putin at Helsinki, Cheney once declared, “I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. [and] his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia.” There are more where those came from. Lots more.
These and oodles of other expressions of disbelief and horror from Republicans about Trump’s conduct do raise the question as to how these Republicans could possibly support a president whose foreign policy is so dangerous. So, come to think of it, campaign ads featuring Republicans could pull double-duty — both in excoriating Trump and in raising real doubts about the sincerity and judgment of his Republican enablers.
Lots of the Republicans who condemned Trump will be on the ballot in 2020. McConnell is one of them, as is Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) who declared, “I thought the president made a big mistake by asking China to get involved in investigating a political opponent.” Should she not support impeachment, voters will want to know how she can condone Trump’s behavior and how they should risk giving Trump four more years.
Voting affirmatively to keep Trump in office after soliciting foreign help and committing an inexcusable blunder on Syria would seem to be a bit of a problem for Republican candidates for House and Senate — including McConnell, Collins, and Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.), John Cornyn (Tex.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Martha McSally (Ariz.).
What would prevent this avalanche of confession (both of Trump’s unfitness as commander in chief and of Republicans’ spinelessness when confronted with an unfit commander in chief)? If Trump, say, were to leave office under duress, Republicans would then be freed from the task of seeing their own criticisms of a ruinous president played back to them. It would be so much easier, wouldn’t it, for the party’s fortunes — for their own reelection chances and for their place in history — if they could just figure out some way to dump him?