Joni Ernst and the GOP’s disgraceful game (opinion)

In the midst of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, wherein he stands accused of misusing his office to target a domestic political rival, Republicans have worked hard to justify Trump applying pressure on the Ukrainians to investigate a company affiliated with Joe Biden’s son. It was truly about stemming Ukrainian corruption, Republicans argue; it had nothing to do with Trump trying to undermine the elder Biden, who he saw as a likely 2020 opponent.

It’s clear they’re lying. But the GOP strategy has been to stick to the usual Trump script: whatever bad, corrupt or immoral act he stands accused of — and there are a lot at this point — didn’t happen. And if it did happen, it was justified. And if it wasn’t justified, well whatever, it doesn’t matter.

This has worked for Trump, from the “grab ’em by the [you know]” Access Hollywood tape to summoning Russian interference in US elections to blatant attempts to abuse the office of the presidency. Republicans seem thrilled that he’s still standing and happy to continue propping him up. But now we’re in an impeachment process that is somber and formal, and they know they have to toe a harder line. This isn’t just about convincing Facebook warriors to continue sharing pro-Trump memes. This is an event that will make an imprint on history.

Which makes Joni Ernst’s comments so stunning — and telling.

Ernst, a senator from Iowa, told reporters on Monday night, “Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening. And I’m really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting VP Biden at this point?”

In other words, Republicans (and we’re waiting for any of them to say otherwise) have now decided that not only is a president leveraging his office to damage a domestic political rival (a fellow US citizen, a lifetime civil servant) not an impeachable offense, but they themselves will also be only too happy to use these impeachment hearings to do the same thing: to target Biden for their own political gain in the 2020 election.

It’s not just Ernst, even though she’s the one who has said this out loud. Mitch McConnell has publicly and unapologetically avowed “total coordination with the White House counsel” on impeachment trial plans; Maine’s Susan Collins has made absurd contortions to ignore new evidence from a tape released Friday by Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of the President’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, that sheds light on Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials into announcing investigations of Trump’s political rivals. The Republicans have stayed on task.
Bolton news does not change calculus for Senate Republicans
They have been pushing for a kind of witness trade: Rather than do the right thing and calling witnesses who can actually speak to what the president did — the actual topic of this inquiry — they are demanding a chance to go after Hunter Biden in order to justify the president’s bad acts and make this about the Bidens instead. They’re not foolish enough to say that doing so gives them a 2020 advantage, but of course that’s part of the calculus.

It’s classic Trumpian projection and redirection: The President tried to interfere with an election by having a rival investigated? Nuh-uh, it’s Democrats who are interfering with an election by holding him accountable. There are mounds of evidence that the President is crooked? Nuh-uh, it’s actually the leading Democratic primary contender — go look over there, at him.

Listen to Sen. Lindsey Graham, Tuesday, warning about what will happen if the Senate votes to allow witnesses at the impeachment trial: “I’ll make a prediction: [There will] be 51 Republican votes to call Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, the whistleblower. … If people want witnesses, we’re going to get a lot of witnesses.”
Bolton's testimony would be Trump's nightmare

Democrats are trying to ensure that the leader of the ostensibly free world behaves in the nation’s best interests and according to the rule of law. Republicans are trying to make sure that he wins — at any cost. And that includes attacking Hunter and Joe Biden while forgiving, justifying and even enabling the rampant wrongdoings of the man sitting in the Oval Office.

It was despicable when Trump leaned on a foreign leader to push for a trumped-up corruption investigation, against the information and advice of his advisors, to the detriment of foreign service officers on the ground, and against the interests of the United States of America. That Republicans are not only refusing to hold him accountable but also perpetuating and carrying forward his bad acts is such a disgraceful and appalling dereliction of their duties to the country and the Constitution that there are almost no words.
There are things more important than winning. Those include basic values of fair play, of decency and of our elected officials and civil servants putting the interests of the nation ahead of their personal agendas and desires. Congressman Adam Schiff, in his closing statement to the House impeachment proceedings, was right: Is there a person in America who genuinely trusts this President to put the country before himself? Is there a person in American who genuinely trusts this President to put anything at all ahead of his own crass self-interest?

It turns out that it isn’t just the president whose narcissism, corruption and immorality threatens the wellbeing of the United States. It’s the entire party apparatus behind him.

How do we know? Joni Ernst just told us.

Recommended Posts

Share this post with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

© Foundation for Truth in Journalism, a not for profit corp estb. 2010 ~ Non Partisan Pursuit of Truth®

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service