There are some signs that the solid Republican support that has enabled Trump to behave like a petulant tyrant is cracking after the appalling sights that we have witnessed in the past week or so following the murder of George Floyd. While we should welcome these defections, we should not start praising the defectors since these people were all Republicans and thus part of creating the rotten party that enabled Trump to become its leader. That is a stain that they cannot erase.
Alaska’s Republican senator Lisa Murkowski is publicly expressing her doubts about Trump. Mitt Romney and George W. Bush have reportedly said that they will not support Trump’s re-election. Bush has, however, denied reports published in the New York Times about his decision based on what some of his associates have told the media, though he has not said what he will do. His brother Jeb Bush has also not said what he will do, but both brothers and their parents said they did not vote for Trump in 2016. It is not clear if they would vote for Biden. Colin Powell has also said that he will vote for Biden, saying that Trump lies all the time, unlike of course Powell who only lies some of the time, like when he wanted to persuade the American public and the UN Security Council that Iraq should be invaded.
Conservative columnist George Will broke his lifelong association with the Republican party in 2016 when Trump became the party’s nominee but now he goes further and says that the Republican party has become enablers of Trump’s awful behavior and needs to be completely cleansed. He says that the party has to be repudiated at all levels by losing elections across the board, including losing their senate majority.
In life’s unforgiving arithmetic, we are the sum of our choices. Congressional Republicans have made theirs for more than 1,200 days. We cannot know all the measures necessary to restore the nation’s domestic health and international standing, but we know the first step: Senate Republicans must be routed, as condign punishment for their Vichyite collaboration, leaving the Republican remnant to wonder: Was it sensible to sacrifice dignity, such as it ever was, and to shed principles, if convictions so easily jettisoned could be dignified as principles, for … what? Praying people should pray, and all others should hope: May I never crave anything as much as these people crave membership in the world’s most risible deliberative body.
Even some members of the white evangelical community, who are among the strongest and most loyal supporters of Trump, were appalled over Trump’s photo op in front of the church and waving the Bible as a prop, after first violently clearing the area of peaceful protestors. But don’t expect too much from this crowd. They are good at wringing their hands but will likely go back to supporting Trump.
Then we have former Trump defense secretary Jim Mattis and former Trump chief of staff John Kelly, both former military officers, condemning Trump’s behavior. Other former military leaders have joined in the criticisms. Currently active military of course cannot publicly criticize Trump but reports are emerging that they are concerned that his desire to use troops to suppress dissent risks tarnishing the military’s reputation with the public. They must feel that while the public is on board with the US military committing war crimes abroad, they may balk at having them committed domestically.
Trump is probably smarting over the fact that he has been shown to be so weak and ineffectual. The protestors are ignoring him and the curfews and the calls for them to be crushed. Governors are ignoring him. The military and even his defense secretary Mark Esper are opposing his call to use military forces against the protestors.
In the midst of all this, there are reports that Trump is planning to give a speech to the nation on race and national unity. He does not give a damn about either of course but is probably trying to shore up his support, especially since the polls show him dropping further behind Joe Biden. That is what he really cares about, so expect a campaign-style speech full of lies and smears and braggadocio, his specialty.