What Republicans Are Saying About Trump And His Cult
The GOP, the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery. Let that settle in.
The road from there to here is epic. Consider these representative examples of the Republican Party’s status:
· Since 1964, the highest percentage of the Black votes by any Republican presidential candidate was 17% (Gerald Ford). All other elections average 10%.
· Throughout the states, Republican-controlled legislatures are blatantly and systematically gerrymandering Blacks into fewer seats in Congress, and in their respective state legislatures.
· Eighty percent of Republicans want Trump to run for president in 2024.
· A large majority of Republicans still believe Biden stole the 2020 election.
· Even after the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, a majority of House Republicans voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
An early draft of the now infamous Republican National Committee memo censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger called the insurrection “nonviolent and legal.” It was revised to say, “legitimate political discourse.” The RNC scrambled after a furious pushback, even from a handful of Republicans. They then tried to separate the actual insurrection from the final statement which was unanimously approved by all members.
Nice try. If you knew of it, if you facilitated it, if you helped plan it, if you helped fund it, if you stood by and did nothing to stop it, you are a participant. You do not have to physically storm the Bastille to be an anarchist.
In alphabetical order, here is what Republicans are saying about Trump and his cult. It would have been easy to find another twenty-five Republicans of note.
(This representative group only speaks about Trump, the Republican Party or Republicans in general. None speak about the more sinister and more identifiable armed cults like: Boogoloo Bois, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, QAnon, and Three Percenters. The Southern Law Poverty Center tracks 838 hate groups in the United States.)
Boot, a life-long Republican and foreign policy wonk, once wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Wall Street Journal. Currently he writes a column for the Washington Post.
“The Republican Party is an existential threat to democracy.
Even though I’m not a Democrat, I’m voting straight ticket Democratic on November 3rd. I will continue to vote exclusively for Democrats until the GOP ceases to pose an existential threat to our freedom. The GOP needs to be detoxified and de-Trumpified.”
Carlson co-hosted the Fox News morning show, Fox and Friends, from 2005 to 2013. In 2016 she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, and won. “There wouldn’t be a Republican on the planet that five years ago would have said they supported Russia over Ukraine.”
Charen is a conservative syndicated columnist and political commentator. She was a speechwriter for Nancy Reagan and Jack Kemp’s presidential run. “The man (Trump) is seriously cracked and evil.” And this, “The Republican Party has become a party of liars.”
Representative Liz Cheney
Cheney, daughter of Dick Cheney, representative from Wyoming, is a member of the United States Select Committee on the January 6th Attack. “We really can’t become the party of a cult of personality. It’s a scary phenomenon we haven’t seen in this country before. Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”
Dowd was a strategist for George Bush. He left the Republican Party and filed to run for Lt. Governor in Texas as a Democrat. He has since withdrawn. “The Republican Party has become the party of ‘stop America’s diversity,’ stop the empowerment of groups who are now a significant part of this country. White, heterosexual, male Christians represent just over 25% of the country. White, heterosexual, male Christians represent 80% of all of the power levers in the country. It has dropped from 90% to 80%, so there is this huge pushback.”
Frum is a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and is currently a senior editor for The Atlantic. He has cautioned against using the term fascism, saying, “There are a lot of stops on the train line before you get to Hitler Station.” In July of last year he wrote an article for The Atlantic titled, “There’s a word for What Trumpism Is Becoming — Fascism.” The subhead reads, “The relentless messaging by Trump and his supporters has inflicted a measurable wound on American democracy.” Near the end of the article he quotes from Hitler’s self-defense at his trial for his 1923 Munich putsch, “You are not entitled to the power you hold, so I committed no crime when I tried to grab it back. You blame me for what I did; I blame you for what you are.” Then Frum ends with this, “Trump’s no Hitler, obviously, but they share some ways of thinking. The past never repeats itself. But it offers warnings. It’s time to start using the F-word again, not to defame — but to diagnose.”
Since this article was written over eight months ago, I wonder if Frum would still say, “diagnose?” We are further down the track than Frum would say.
Representative Adam Kinzinger
Kinzinger, a conservative Republican, is a representative from Illinois and is not running for re-election. He is a member of the United States Select Committee on the January 6th Attack. “Donald Trump is the worst president the United States ever had.” From an article in Business Insider, “GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Friday fiercely criticized his own party, telling MSNBC in an interview that Republicans need to return to the truth. Kinzinger said the GOP is unrecognizable today because ‘what has changed is the use of conspiracy’ and ‘the absolute lack of courage to call it out.’ ‘We have a truth crisis in this party,’ Kinzinger continued. ‘You can have different opinions. But you can’t have a different truth.’”
Kristol worked in two Republican administrations and was the founder of the conservative magazine “The Weekly Standard.”
“He’s (Trump) the symptom that makes the problem worse. He’s the infection that makes the underlying medical issue inoperable.” And this, “I have been surprised by the total capitulation to Trump. I think the Republican Party will be an unhealthy party until there’s an explicit repudiation of Trump. And I don’t see that happening any time soon.”
Rubin is a conservative opinion writer for the Washington Post. She previously wrote for the The Weekly Standard. She is the author of Renaissance: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump. On MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” Rubin argued, “We have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them because if there are survivors — if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again.”
Steel is a former chair of the RNC, and now is a political commentator for MSNBC. “Rather than binding up the nation’s wounds, Trump exacerbates division. Rather than standing up to the world’s dictators, Trump cravenly seeks the favor of thugs. Rather than fostering free enterprise, Trump embraces economic principles not only outdated in Lincoln’s time, but made even worse today by a leader who lost close to a billion dollars in a single year running a casino. Rather than seeking to build on the legacy of the Republican Party’s founders, of which Trump is surely ignorant, Trump has posited a single purpose for the GOP — the celebration of him.”
Stevens, a former Republican strategist, worked for George W. Bush. He was also the chief strategist for Romney in 2012. No longer a Republican, he wrote a book titled, It Was All A Lie. Regarding the Republican state-by-state effort to change the voting laws, “You do not change voting laws if you think you are winning.”
Sykes is from Wisconsin. From 1993–2016 he hosted a talk show out of Milwaukee. He was an early supporter for Scott Walker’s run for president in 2016. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the web site The Bulwark and is a frequent contributor the MSNBC. In July of 2019, Sykes appeared on Frontline. In a question comparing Trump and Obama, Sykes said this: “I’m shocked by this president every single day. I’m shocked by the fact that Donald Trump is sitting in the office once held by Abraham Lincoln. Everything about it is shocking. You keep asking yourself ‘How did this happen? What kind of country would embrace Donald Trump? What kind of country would tolerate Donald Trump?’”
Christine Told Whitman
Whitman, a moderate Republican, was governor of New Jersey from 1994–2001. Then she was head of the EPA under George Bush from 2001–2003. “I have never felt that Donald Trump had the character or commitment to be president. Right now there really isn’t a Republican Party in a functioning sense. It’s a party of personality. It’s a personality cult.” Whitman reminded her interviewer that no platform came out of the Republican convention, saying Republicans “stand for whatever Donald Trump stands for on any particular day.”
I believe that George Will inherited the mantle of William Buckley as the Zen intellect of the Republican Party. He won a Pulitzer for commentary in 1977. The Wall Street Journal said of Will, “perhaps the most powerful journalist in America.” Will continues to write for the Washington Post and is a frequent guest of NBC and MSNBC. “They (Republicans) have been enablers of Mr. Trump by their silence. One reason they have been so docile, so supine, so invertebrate with the president is fear.“ In that same interview, Will went on to say that 500 days into the Reagan presidency, 77% of Republicans supported him. Five hundred days into Trump’s presidency, 87% supported him (Trump).”
Wilson left the Republican Party in 2017. He is a co-founder of The Lincoln Project. He wrote a bestseller, Everything Trump Touches Dies. “The new GOP is nationalist, populist, and increasingly fascist. Yes, they’ll try to put their opponents in jail. Yes, they’ll use the full power of the state to do what they can’t do at the ballot box. Stop thinking this is about anything else but alloyed fascism.”
Former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, and current political commentator for CNN wants to launch a new center-right party, saying, “There’s clearly a demand out there.”
I wish I believed that were true, despite the voices I have recorded here.
I am an early Baby Boomer. In my remaining years, I do not believe the cult of Trump will be reduced enough so as to be drained down the bathtub, using a metaphor opined by Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. Their motto is, “The definition of low taxes is no taxes.” (I made that up.). Norquist is strangely silent about Trump (loved those tax cuts) or the Republican Party. He is still fixated on his bathtub.
One of the definitions of a cult is how they treat those who leave or want to leave. They disparage, abase, harass, and threaten, even threaten bodily harm. Tell me how this is any different from how Trump and his fawning followers are treating those who leave or criticize Trump in the slightest, or do not do what he demands of them? Prima facie case — Hang Mike Pence.
*Authors note—shameless plug—I write mostly non-fiction but I published one novel in 2019. Set in the 1950s in northern Indiana, Blackberries Are Red When Green is a story about coming-of-age, the slow arc of racial change, and a place time has forgotten.