Remember when we said we wanted to give President Donald Trump a chance? Sure you do.
We are not under any illusion that the president is going to suddenly develop impulse control. He is not going to start listening to anyone in the intelligence community or to those in his party who understand why the Russians are our adversaries. He is not going to stop changing his story. Or show more respect for American institutions that God willing will survive us all.
He is not going to shape up because he doesn’t have to, and there’s a reason for that. It’s you, dear Republicans.
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As long as his support with you holds— his approval rating stood at 84 percent with GOP voters in the most recent Gallup poll — members of the Republican Congress will continue to complain privately and roll their eyes off camera but with rare exceptions will not insist that he bring probity or stability to governing. And to a presidency that feels like an increasingly exact “L’etat, c’est moi” match to the Louis XIV decor in his Manhattan apartment.
There is little that’s conservative about this president, and we ask: Much as you love how crazy he drives not just liberals, but the entirety of the conservative intelligentsia, is making all the right people angry really enough to justify support for the reckless way he’s risked our national security by revealing highly classified information about the Islamic State to the Russians, in an Oval Office meeting covered only by TASS?
Or to explain away the highly irregular request reported by The New York Times Tuesday that FBI director James Comey drop the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia?
Remember when you were the Daddy Party, and the Dems were the anything-goes gang? Now, it’s just the opposite, and Republicans just nod along as Trump defends the murderous former head of the KGB with the argument that morally, our country is no better than theirs: “You think our country’s so innocent?”
Remember when you quoted Orwell and worried about totalitarianism in all its forms, and Democrats laughed and said you were overreacting? Now, you show no sign of a pulse even when the president admits on Twitter that he shared secrets to the same Russian at the center of the FBI investigation whose overseer he’d just fired.
Remember when you cried out that Barack Obama was a celebrity and a neophyte and a relativist and all about himself and should never have shaken hands with Raul Castro or said we’d been wrong in the past? Ahem.
Unless there is really nothing more important than watching your adversaries squirm, consider the possibility that you may come to regret cheering the refreshing disruptiveness of his natural affinity for a rogue’s gallery of strongmen including Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duterte and Xi Jinping.
History will ask why you didn’t insist that Trump stand for our ideals. But Republicans, we’re still willing to give you a chance.