No Republican House or Senate leader tried to restrain Trump’s financial misdeeds, including his apparent receiving of foreign emoluments, promoting of his own properties, and his daughter’s and son-in-law’s serving in government while feathering their own nest. Congressional Republicans laughed off repeated possible violations of the Hatch Act and cheered a political convention that turned the White House into a GOP playhouse. Republicans facilitated corruption.
Republicans with rare exceptions (e.g., Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who wound up leaving the party, and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah) refused to acknowledge the evidence of obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report. Other than Romney and Amash, no Republican would acknowledge the ample evidence presented in impeachment proceedings suggesting that Trump had violated his oath by extorting the Ukrainian president for personal gain. Republicans thereby enabled Trump’s abuses of power.
Republicans routinely echoed Trump’s Russia propaganda and castigated the U.S. intelligence community. They parroted a Russia-based conspiracy theory that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 election. They did not seek Trump’s removal or even censure for siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who falsely denied Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump has refused to raise with Putin the bounties that Russia reportedly placed on the heads of U.S. troops. Republicans subverted U.S. national security.
We have heard and seen Trump publicly slur American prisoners of war, ridicule commanders as warmongers and enlist the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a political stunt in which peaceful protesters were forcibly cleared outside the White House. We have heard him publicly call the late Republican senator John McCain a “loser.” We have seen unrebutted reports of Trump’s contempt for military personnel (“suckers,” “babies”) and his aversion to including wounded veterans in a parade. Republicans have supported a commander in chief unfit to lead men and women in uniform.
Trump has openly incited racism; tried to stoke White people’s fear that Blacks and other minorities will “destroy" suburbs; denied overwhelming evidence of systemic racism in policing; insisted on retention of military base names of traitorous Confederate generals; cheered White provocateurs who went into Portland, Ore., with paint guns; deployed camouflaged federal agents in unmarked vans to Portland, where they illegally grabbed protesters off the streets; singled out majority-Black countries for crude insults; and praised “very fine” people on “both sides” of a clash between White nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville. Members of his own party in Congress almost uniformly avoid repudiating Trump’s blatant appeals to racism. Republicans have thereby helped foment racial division and violence.
We have heard Trump admit that he understood the severity of the coronavirus threat but downplayed it to the American public. He refused to take prompt, aggressive action and peddled dangerous quack remedies. He goaded governors to reopen their states prematurely and scorned mask-wearing. Knowing that the virus was an airborne, deadly disease, he continued to hold rallies without social distancing or a mask requirement. His actions almost certainly contributed to the death toll of 187,000 Americans — tens of thousands of lives might have been saved by prompt, effective leadership. Republicans have indulged his prevarications and still refuse to hold him responsible for the deaths and economic ruin that have occurred on his watch. In short, Republicans have put their own political survival above the lives of Americans.
Trump has sought to delegitimize the November election in advance, fanning patently false claims of massive fraud in voting by mail and telling Americans he will not pledge to respect the results. He vowed to hold up funding for the U.S. Postal Service so "that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.” Republicans have not condemned such utterances, let alone vowed to ensure Trump’s exit if he loses. Republicans have thus helped undermine the central attributes of democracy — free and fair elections, and the peaceful transfer of power.
There is no doubt that if President Barack Obama had committed any of these offenses and Democrats had been as derelict in their constitutional and moral duties as Republicans, the entire right-wing media and political universe would have called for Obama’s impeachment and removal, and for the defeat of every spineless member of his party. Over and over again, Republicans’ hunger to retain power at all costs has triumphed over their obligations to their fellow citizens. They have put Americans’ lives and the nation’s democracy itself at risk. In doing so, they have lost the moral authority to hold power. All of them.