After nearly a month of gaffes, scandals, and court denials, Republican lawmakers are finding it more difficult to defend Trump’s inexperience.
Republican lawmakers are finding it increasingly difficult to defend Trump amid a host of scandals over less than a month since taking office, according to The Washington Post. After dealing with Trump’s bizarre decisions, national security gaffes, and sloppy procedures, GOP congressional members are frustrated and afraid.
While some Republican members of Congress are hoping that forwarding their conservative priorities will continue under, or despite, Trump’s inexperience, others feel that the controversies will detract attention from their agenda.
Rory Cooper, a Republican strategist who was opposed to Trump’s nomination, said that some conservatives feel that despite the TV reality star’s chaotic administration, Trump is their best hope. Cooper said:
“Conservatives do and should view him as their current best chance to get conservative policy enacted in to law because that was the grand bargain made. The idea was they would overlook certain behaviors and distractions from President Trump in anticipation of being able to have a willing signature on the other end of conservative legislation.”
It’s a devil’s bargain, really. Small government, family values Republicans are banking on a former TV show host with a record of infidelity and divorce and a reputation of going big, bad, over the top, and expensive, to help them pass laws that focus on their conservative agenda.
And they don’t seem to have any shame about it, either. North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House conservative group “Freedom Caucus,” said:
“I would rather accomplish something with distractions than not accomplish anything with smooth sailing.”
But other Republicans, according to WaPo, are having trouble shrugging off these distractions as the list of controversies mount.
The latest in the list of distractions is the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was possibly communicating illegally with the Russian Ambassador and possibly was promising to redact sanctions against the country before Trump was even in office.
Also causing concerns for both parties is the breach of national security protocol when it was revealed that Trump was dealing with the first test of his administration’s foreign policy chops in front a fully engaged public audience, with classified reports spread out in full view of the diners at Mar-a-Lago.
When asked what he thought about Trump’s sloppy handling of classified data and inappropriate procedures, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain laughed and said:
“You can’t make it up.”
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas also weighed in.
“I don’t know if it’s improper. How about untoward. That’s a good word, right?”
Reacting Tuesday to the this week’s scandal regarding the resignation of Flynn, McCain expressed his concerns and issued a statement:
“General Flynn’s resignation is a troubling indication of the dysfunction of the current national security apparatus… General Flynn’s resignation also raises further questions about the Trump administration’s intentions toward Vladimir Putin’s Russia, including statements by the President suggesting moral equivalence between the United States and Russia despite its invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, threats to our NATO allies, and attempted interference in American elections.”
McCain also criticized Pence on Monday, telling The Arizona Republic:
“Obviously, it was mistake for the vice president to categorically deny that. That’s not good for anybody’s credibility.”
Some Republican senators are putting on more pressure following Flynn’s resignation, and the pressure is all on Trump.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas called for an investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia before Flynn’s resignation, and told reporters on Tuesday that he wants Flynn investigated as well.
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is also calling for a full investigation.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a long-time critic of Donald Trump, is suspicious of Flynn’s reasoning behind his conversations with the Russian ambassador, telling Kate Bolduan of CNN:
“I think Congress needs to be informed of what actually Gen. Flynn said to the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions. And I want to know, ‘Did General Flynn do this by himself or was he directed by somebody to do it?'”
Featured image by Caleb Smith; Office of the Speaker of the House – https://twitter.com/SpeakerRyan/status/796828886646587394, Public Domain, Link