GOP “leaders” are in a bind and boxed in the Trump corner
Outfit for his first Joint Address to Congress
(Tuesday, February 28, 2017)
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters recently that he has invited President Trump to speak before a joint session of Congress on February 28. Ryan announced the invitation during a press conference in the Capitol and on Twitter reported on here by The Hill. Ryan further told reporters: “This will be an opportunity for the people and their representatives to hear directly from our new president about his vision and our shared agenda.”
Oh that GOP bind – actually quite a large one, cite the Hill headline:
GOP seeks cover on a few issues vis-à-vis what Trump wants, i.e., (1) reopen CIA black sites, (2) make torture legal and lawful with a green light, and (3) to launch a voter fraud investigation to show fraud was widespread in 2016 and that he won the popular vote. Examples of GOP various comments and concerns:
On Trump Voter Fraud Claim:
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA): “It’s a work in progress.”
Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) noted Mr. Trump had thrived on presenting himself as “real” to the public, adding: “I think you can move from real to bizarre if you don’t watch out. And some of what he’s done in a tweet-world and others certainly fit that mold.” Sanford went on adding: “A fellow member turned to me and pointed to it (Trump tweet) and said, ‘That’s what third-world dictators d.” Then Sanford said. “They just repeat the same misinformation over and over and over again until it sinks in.” Sanford concluded when asked if he shared his peer’s concerns that Mr. Trump had displayed authoritarian tendencies. He paused for a beat and said: “I’m going to give anybody the benefit of the doubt,” he said, “over the first three days.”
(I note: Sanford is the disgraced former SC governor who was caught literally with his pants down with girlfriend while still married telling his staff he would be hiking when in fact he had flown to South America for weekend sex).
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) one of most-frequent Trump critics among Senate Republicans, went furthest in admonishing the president, saying Trump doubts about the vote fraud “undermines faith in our democracy, and the needs to let it go…”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is gentler saying he saw no evidence of widespread fraud but offered the president no advice. “I can’t tell Donald — uh, President Trump — how to speak or what he wants to focus on.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) also carved out a safer position, saying: “I have great confidence in everything that happened in Wyoming (after a long pause and a moment of nervous laughter).
On Trump desire and like of torture and document on re-opening the CIA Black Sites (where torture of detainees was conducted outside of CONUS):
The GOP retreat in Philly began amid news reports about a draft order that would clear the way for the CIA to reopen “black site” prisons, like those where the agency detained and tortured terrorism suspects before President Barack Obama shut them down.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), himself who was tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, said: “The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law. We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America.” More on McCain here - FYI.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) noted that some colleagues, including those who have been less inclined to defy Mr. Trump, also sought to tweak Mr. Trump on the issue, firmly but carefully saying: “With respect to torture, that’s banned. We view that to be a matter of settled law.”
(1) On the bogus voter fraud stance: Trump’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud and subsequent calls for an investigation into it have attracted little blow back from fellow Republicans, who may use any inquiry as a rationale to push for more stringent voter identification laws that many of them have long supported (i.e., more harsh voter ID laws and yes, voter suppression that helps keep their side in power).
(2) Seems like even this early on that the GOP is in the proverbial bind and Trump is firmly now running two branches of government… Up next: Supreme Court nominee, then he will add the high court to his list of achievements towards his ultimate goal: Total control of the country with him as the CEO ruling at the boardroom table: One-man, one-vote, and only one-view.
Hang on tight folks… because it is really going to get a heluva lot rougher than this his first week in power. Believe me – it will.