Opinion Republicans Stand by Trump Because They Like What He Does
Melania Trump announces tennis pavilion during impeachment inquiry
First lady Melania Trump stuck to her own agenda Tuesday, announcing the construction of a new tennis pavilion on the White House grounds. "It is my hope that this private space will function as a place to gather and spend leisure time for First Families," Trump said in a statement. 1/92 SLIDES © NICHOLAS KAMM/ AFP via Getty Images First lady Melania Trump addresses the Drug Enforcement Administration's Red Ribbon Week rally in support of drug prevention efforts in Arlington, Virginia, on Oct. 7, 2019.
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
Donald Trump is probably the weakest he’s been since becoming president.
He all but confessed to trying to tilt the next election in his favor with pleas — public and private — to China and Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president, and Biden’s son.of Americans support the Democratic impeachment inquiry; wants him impeached already. His defense is anything but, as allies like Rudy Giuliani keep undermining his position with . His approval rating is , and he his Democratic opponents in key swing states like Wisconsin.
Trump Lashes Out on Syria as Republicans Rebuke Him in House Vote
President Trump faced off against both parties in Congress on Wednesday in an extraordinary confrontation over his decision to abandon America’s Kurdish allies as the vast majority of House Republicans joined Democrats to condemn his policy in an overwhelming vote. Sign Up For the Morning Briefing NewsletterMr. Trump found himself increasingly isolated after withdrawing troops from Syria and clearing the way for a Turkish offensive against Kurds who had fought alongside the United States.
And yet most congressional Republicans refuse to break with the president. Despite his obvious wrongdoing and complete unfitness for the job, the vast majority of Republican office holders in Washington are “ride or die” supporters of Trump.
The most common explanation for this stalwart commitment is simply fear. “Across the country,”The Washington Post, “most G.O.P. lawmakers have responded to questions about Trump’s conduct with varying degrees of silence, shrugged shoulders or pained defenses. For now, their collective strategy is simply to survive and not make any sudden moves.” The former Arizona senator Jeff Flake made a version of this point last month, when he said that most Senate Republicans — “ ” — would vote to remove Trump if it were on a secret ballot.
Inside war-torn Yemen's ancient skyscraper city, dubbed the 'Manhattan of the desert,' that's on the brink of ruin
Shibam is the oldest skyscraper city in the world, but Yemen's civil war is putting it at risk. See 40 photos that show what life is like there.
The reason for the fear, in this telling, is the Republican base and its total commitment to the president. This overwhelming support is a threat to almost any lawmaker who breaks ranks. Challenge Trump and you may end up in a primary against a more MAGA-compliant opponent.
I think there’s another explanation — one that accounts for Republican behavior without casting these lawmakers as would-be dissidents.
On most issues, congressional Republicans don’t actually disagree with or disapprove of the president. They might find him coarse and occasionally abhorrent — when he was still the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan took a shot at Trump after his “both sides” remarks regarding the white supremacist march and violence in Charlottesville, Va. — but that doesn’t mean they have a problem with his administration.
Live updates: Trump says the Democratic-led House has the votes to impeach him
The fallout continued Friday from the late-night release of text messages by House investigators relevant to the Ukraine controversy, and a key figure was testifying behind closed doors on Capitol Hill.“The Republicans are very unified,” Trump said, as he again insisted he had said nothing inappropriate during the July call in which he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
And why would they? Despite his somewhat heterodox campaign, Trump has been a remarkably conservative president. For most Republican lawmakers, to oppose Trump would be to oppose their own interests.
Most Republican lawmakers were sent to Washington to fight for spending cuts, lower taxes and conservative judges. Why would any of them stand against a president who has delivered on each count? Trump has taken an ax to domestic spending programs for the poor — his Agriculture Department justnew cuts to food stamps; he signed a tax cut that funnels trillions to the highest earners; and he stacked the federal judiciary with right-wing ideologues. It’s hard to imagine a better outcome for a conservative politician.
When Trump occasionally deviates from conservative orthodoxy — or otherwise bucks the party’s consensus — Republican lawmakers try to push him back in line. Earlier this year, Senate Republicansto challenge the administration on its plan to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico. “I will yield to nobody in passion and seriousness and commitment for securing the border,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said to reporters at the time. “But there’s no reason for Texas farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes.”
Analysis: The impeachment inquiry is making Nancy Pelosi more popular.
Speakers usually lose popularity over time. Pelosi's bucking the trend.That’s not too surprising. Trump’s approval rating has been remarkably stable over his presidency’s 18 months. Moreover, it’s hard for the scandal to affect Trump supporters’ approval when most of his base either doesn’t think that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden or thinks that doing so was appropriate.
Likewise, Senate Republicans took a collective stand against Trump after the White Househis plan this week to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, clearing the path for Turkish military operations against Kurds in the region. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, warned Trump against a “precipitous withdrawal”; Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called the move “a big win for Iran and Assad, a big win for ISIS”; Ben Sasse of Nebraska “needs to know that this bad decision will likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children.”
It’s true that the Republican base isn’t invested in American foreign policy toward Syria. It’s also true, however, that Trump may well lash out against his Republican critics, which could turn his voters against them on this particular issue. But Senate Republicans spoke right up. This time around, the fear that’s supposed to drive their acquiescence to Trump doesn’t exist.
If Republicans are willing to challenge Trump on his foreign policy, including the disposition of American troops abroad, then the difference when it comes to Ukraine — as well as other scandals, like the president’s continued corruption and self-dealing — may just be that they don’t see a problem. You can read Senator Marco Rubio’s willingness toTrump’s open call to intervene in the 2020 election as a craven surrender, or you can take it at face value: Maybe Rubio just doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal.
8 Republican Senators to watch on impeachment
Senate Republicans aren’t expected to break with Trump, but a handful of lawmakers could feel pressure to do so.While it’s pretty unlikely enough Republican Senators will actually vote to convict President Donald Trump if articles of impeachment are brought against him, members who represent swing states, such as Susan Collins, might feel pressure to defect due to pushback from their constituents. Others, like Mitt Romney, have vocalized opposition to the president in the past and are among the most likely to do so again.
None of this would be out of character for congressional Republicans. These are the lawmakers whoto fix the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court a key provision of the law in 2013. They said nothing when Trump a crusade against imaginary “voter fraud.” They are at best indifferent to the restrictive laws and voter purges that keep millions of Americans from the polls.
Sometimes, the simplest answer is the correct one. Why are most Republicans silent in the face of the president’s attempt to cheat his way to re-election? Perhaps it’s because they don’t think it’s wrong — or because they don’t care if it is.
The Times is committed to publishingto the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some . And here's our email: .
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on, and .
Rick Perry stares down subpoena deadline in Trump impeachment probe, one day after resignation .
Energy Secretary Rick Perry faces a subpoena deadline Friday to turn over documents relating to the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump , a day after he offered his resignation. © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry Speaking to reporters at an event in Alvarado, Texas, on Thursday, Trump said Perry would stay on until the end of the year, but spoke positively of the former Texas governor. "We already have his replacement. Rick has done a fantastic job. But it was time," Trump told reporters.
How many Republicans will back Trump amid impeachment inquiry?
As Trump defends himself amid an impeachment inquiry brought by the Democrats, we look at how many Republicans will stand with him as the process ...
How Republicans defended Trump’s racist tweets
In the days after President Trump's tweets targeting minority congresswomen, many congressional Republicans defended the remarks or pointed the finger at ...