Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) talks to reporters before the House GOP weekly conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on July 28, 2017. (Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post)

Paul Kane’s March 18 @PKCapitol column, Retirement frees congressional Republicans to break with Trump-era party ,” said that retiring gives Republican Reps. Thomas J. Rooney of Florida and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona “the freedom to speak their minds, about Trump and their congressional leaders.” They and the rest of the GOP have always had that freedom. They have just chosen to keep quiet so as not to jeopardize their reelection s . For them, it’s party first and the American people second.

We should not congratulate these retirees for their honesty. Nor should we forget the complicity Republicans and their leaders have exercised in turning a convenient blind eye to the destruction of the American ideal. The poor and middle class are being hurt by the actions of the Trump administration, to say nothing of the disenfranchised. This sad period of history will eventually end. But we won’t forget when that day of reckoning is upon us. 

Jeff Gates, Silver Spring