This is an excerpt from the chapter entitled "Any Republican Will Do":
As the 2020 election nears and now coincides with an impeachment trial in the Senate, there is still the palpable, yet incomprehensible sense that Republican leaders will ride the elephant until it dies while carrying the banner "any Republican will do." The following quotes mirror the exasperation that I feel:
“Republicans largely stood behind Trump in 2016 after the release of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape on which he bragged of sexual assault, as well as during the darkest days of the Russia investigation and in the wake of racist comments.
‘It feels like we've been constantly moving the line,’ said Tom Rath, a GOP fixture in New Hampshire. ‘We say, 'Don't cross this line.' Okay, you crossed it. So, 'Don't cross this line.' We're finally at a point where patience is exhausted, reason is exhausted and, quite frankly, the voters are exhausted." (Rucker, 2019)
“The GOP's paralysis was on display this past week in Templeton, Iowa, where a voter confronted Sen. Joni Ernst (R) at a town hall meeting Thursday over her silence about Trump's conduct. ‘Where is the line?’ Iowa resident Amy Haskins asked in frustration. ‘When are you guys going to say, 'Enough,' and stand up and say, 'You know what? I'm not backing any of this.'" (Rucker, 2019)
Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, who is admired by Trump and occasionally speaks with him, co-wrote an essay in the Daily Caller last week offering a road map for Republicans, writing that "there's no way to spin" Trump's request that a foreign leader investigate one of his domestic opponents as proper, but that it did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. (Rucker, 2019)
We know that the Russians tampered with our elections as if we were a third-world country. Who knew before it happened that it was possible for a foreign country to affect the election results of the most powerful nation on Earth?
Remember the "hanging chads" in Florida? Do you remember the questions of unfairness that seemed to linger over the Bush-Gore results, when President Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, governor of Florida, appeared to have some possible impact on the outcome of how chads were dealt with? There are still some Democrats talking about how Bush "stole the election."
On a scale galactically greater in magnitude, the Russians tampered with U.S. election results, and Republican leaders have helped downplay its impact because it helped the "any Republican will do" candidate win and further discussion of it might diminish his chance of winning again in the future.
Since the election, we know that the President joked publicly with Vladimir Putin about not tampering with the next election. And far more gravely, we understand that the President and members of his staff have sought the aid of a foreign government (Ukraine) to affect the outcome of the 2020 elections.
The President showed absolutely no remorse in inviting Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son. Moreover, before he was impeached by the House of Representatives, President Trump publicly stated that he would welcome China's assistance in investigating the Bidens: "China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine."
Also, in the ultimate example of "fake news," it was been brought to light that the President and key members of his staff sought the aid of foreign countries (Australia, UK) to try to discredit the U.S. intelligence agencies' assertion that the Russians tampered with the 2016 election. The aim was to prove that the tampering never happened or that is was done by the Ukrainians. (Julian E. Barnes, 2019)
This is Watergate on steroids. President Nixon only sought to have an advantage over one Democratic candidate. Our current President sits on the precipice of twice gaining an advantage over a Democratic opponent through the assistance of a foreign government.
I am a Reagan-era, military man who spent 28 years in a uniform. We spent so many years preparing for the Russian and Chinese, communist, threat, viewing Russia and China as America's greatest enemies. We were made to study how the U.S. fought both these countries by proxy in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan.
Perhaps, that seriously affects my view of the President's coziness with President Putin and his failure to outright condemn him for Russia's involvement in the 2016 elections. It causes me even greater alarm when I think of a sitting US President inviting China to become a factor in the presidential elections.
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