Donald Trump stood in front of press cameras on the White House lawn and asked Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens. He claimed he’s doing it as his duty to look into foreign corruption, but he’s only curious about digging up dirt on his political rival and his family. When asked about any other examples of examining corruption that involved US citizens, Trump could not provide any. Since White House press briefings have been permanently canceled, there’s no way for White House reporters to get more details. On the Sunday news shows, the White House refused to send any surrogates to offer further explanation. The best that could be done was to find Trump loyalists like Sen. Rob Johnson and Rep. Jim Jordan, and they both went by the talking-point playbook. They said Trump was kidding, the media is biased, and let’s talk about anything else. They embarrassed themselves to anyone who isn’t a die-hard Trump fan.
If partisans want to be honest with themselves and regularly check their integrity, it would behoove them to ask, “How would I feel if we swapped the R’s and the D’s next to the names of the players in these situations?” We can’t expect the politicians to play this way. Washington DC has turned into a Machiavellian bloodsport. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell took turns being gleefully dishonest and hypocritical during their leadership reigns. Democrats who felt like Bill Clinton was treated unfairly in the 1990s can’t wait to impeach Trump now, while Republicans who found Clinton’s impeachment justified are appalled that Democrats would even entertain the notion of having a problem with Trump asking for foreign governments to interfere in our elections.
But for the United States to thrive, it needs to remember the mantra commonly misattributed to de Tocqueville: “America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” It is the responsibility of the citizenry to be intellectually honest in their dealings, in their digestion of information, in their quest for knowledge, and in their fairness of how they judge. They must make their stands on principles, not parties. On ideas, not ideologues.
Trump has lowered the bar for this country in many areas. He doesn’t care about the truth, so his followers don’t. He doesn’t care about institutions, or norms, or anything that doesn’t immediately benefit himself. He brazenly gets the government to spend millions on his own properties, and foreign governments spend millions more in their way to butter him up. Approbation and flattery will get you everywhere with this president, and foreign dignitaries have long figured this out. Trump and his followers are very concerned about how Hunter Biden made $50,000 a month sitting on the board of a company, but even though the company had already been investigated, Trump doesn’t care. Find some dirt! Meanwhile, do any Republicans have an iota of curiosity how Ivanka and Jared Kushner made $82 million last year while they’re White House employees? Would they not have howled if Chelsea Clinton had secured a bunch of copyrights in China during the same month her President mother negotiated deals with China, had the election gone the other way?
How would Republicans feel if Barack Obama said “I alone can fix it” or ‘I am a very stable genius” or “Nobody is smarter than me” or even this tweet from today?
“In my great and unmatched wisdom.” “I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.” You know the answer. I know the answer. They know the answer. But in 2019, nothing matters but the letter next to the name.