To the editor:
After recently reading both “Midnight In Washington” by Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and “Peril,” by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, I realized I was wrong about the Republican Party — or what’s left of old-school Republicans today.
“Peril,” in particular, opened my eyes as to just how many Republicans, at least in the Senate, have privately rejected Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about the 2020 election being stolen.
Those senators include Mitt Romney, Mike Lee, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Lindsey Graham and even Mitch McConnell.
Mike Lee, the very conservative senator from Utah and a staunch Trump supporter in 2016 actually traveled to Arizona, Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to investigate claims of voter fraud.
He met with election officials and elected politicians — including GOP members of those states’ legislatures — and even GOP Gov. Doug Doucey of Arizona.
Everywhere he went, he was told there was no evidence of fraud.
Interestingly, the Republican election officials and politicians who confirmed the absence of voter fraud did so on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from Trump’s cult followers in their home states.
Lee reported his findings to McConnell and Graham, neither of whom were surprised.
Graham, who is the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, dispatched Lee Holmes, who serves as Graham’s chief legal counsel to the committee, to follow up on Mike Lee’s detective work.
He returned to Washington to confirm what Lee had found.
There was no voter fraud and Joe Biden won the presidency in a fair and clean election by one of the widest margins in recent memory.
Again, Graham was not at all surprised, and when Holmes made a crack about Rudy Giuliani and his fraud accusations being “totally bonkers,” Graham responded, “Y’all got that right.”
Graham is an interesting, if hypocritical character.
Publicly, he is the biggest kisser of Donald Trump’s derriere.
But, in his conversations with Donald while on the golf course at Mar a Lago, Graham has repeatedly told Trump he lost the election, Joe Biden is the legitimate president, and if Donald wants to help the party, and make a comeback in 2024, he needs to stop telling the “Big Lie,” let go of the past, and look to the future.
Trump, however, refuses to accept it. He was cheated out of a second term, and no amount of evidence to the contrary, or no matter how many times his friend Lindsey tells him the truth will he believe otherwise.
For his part, Mitch McConnell who, in the hours following the bloody attack on the Capitol last Jan. 6, laid the blame for the violence squarely at the feet of Donald J. Trump, then, just a few days later, he announced he would most certainly support Trump in 2024 if he sought the Republican presidential nomination, privately describes Trump as a “delusional adolescent”.
Yet, all the Republican senators I have named in this letter, who privately reject Trump’s “Big Lie,” who are privately aghast at the ways in which he has trashed and undermined the “small d” democratic institutions, traditions and norms upon which our country was founded, and who even question his sanity, continue to enable him with their silence.
That raises the question: Why the silence on the part of otherwise decent and honorable men and women?”\
The answer is self-evident.
Traditionally conservative Republicans are caught between a mean political rock and an ugly political hard place.
They all know if they dare to speak out about Trump’s multiple high crimes and misdemeanors, possible felonies and bizarre, even treasonous, behavior, they would undoubtedly anger and alienate the Trumpublican cultists who now make up about a third of voters who self-identify as “Republicans.”
To alienate such a large block of “Republican” voters could well result in, say, Lisa Murkowski losing a GOP Senate primary contest to a Trumpublican cult member, or the general election to a Democrat if, after surviving the primary challenge from a Trump cultist, the Trumpublican cultists failed to turn out for Murkowski on Election Day.
One can be sure every other senator I have mentioned in this letter understands and fears that scenario as well.
As a result, rather than behaving like profiles in political courage at a time when the country desperately needs such courage, the vast majority of “traditional” Republicans today at the local, state and national levels are behaving like profiles in political expediency as they cower in fear of Donald Trump and his cult followers.
That sad and frightening reality, as we prepare to mark the first anniversary of the bloody and seditious Trumpublican assault on the U.S. Capitol, does not bode well for America’s future — not well at all.