- Republicans claim to be motivated by morality.
- Their acceptance of President Donald Trump’s worst behaviours contradicts that claim.
- The religious right has abandoned its values in supporting Trump.
In the beginning of this charade that eventually became a presidency, Republicans could argue their support for Donald Trump was based on practicality.
Sure, he seemed to be a cretinous boor, but if he would enact the policies for which they had long lobbied, the deal with the devil might be worth it.
We’re now seeing exactly what that deal entails.
Every day, it seems, god-fearing and moral Republicans must figure out a way to explain, and then explain again, why they support a man who constantly acts and speaks in a manner that contradicts the very tenets by which they – at the very least claim to – live their lives.
In the beginning, it was about how Trump talked about immigrants and immigration policies. Where was the religious right who believe, as it says in Leviticus, that we should “treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt?”
Perhaps the best example of how the Republican Party has evolved into a Trumpian platform on this issue came last week, when Vice President Mike Pence praised a felon.
“A tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law who has spent a lifetime in law enforcement” was how Pence described Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man who spent years racially profiling and arresting innocent people based on little more than the colour of their skin.
Arpaio is not the only felon running for office. In fact, that no longer seems to be a disqualifying characteristic for Republicans. Candidates in New York and West Virginia, in addition to Arpaio in Arizona, are surging despite their criminal convictions.
What’s clear now is that the Republican decision to back Trump was not a one-time abandonment of the party’s alleged commitment to morality and decency. It was the first tilt of a snowball that will grow and roll on endlessly until we finally have a leader with the confidence to stand up, admit our grave wrongdoing, and ask the country to absolve us of our sins.
More recently, this has manifested in the form of Trump’s alleged illicit sexual relationships. Party leaders were largely absent when the “Access Hollywood” tape leaked during the campaign.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the GOP isn’t turning on Trump now, even after the allegations of an affair with the adult-film star Stormy Daniels, as well as lying about how she was paid to keep quiet.
None of this is to deny the positive developments that the Trump presidency has yielded. But we should recognise that when one party makes a deal with the devil, it may mean the end of that party when he comes collecting.
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