The GOP: Has Trump corrupted conservatives?
“What happened to these people?” That, said former FBI Director James Comey in The New York Times, is what everyone is asking me about once respected Republicans, like Attorney General William Barr, who now hotly defend President Trump as he makes a mockery of the rule of law. I can tell you firsthand how working for an “amoral leader” corrupts people. It starts with him lying in both public and private, forcing you to assent to “his preferred set of facts, or delusions.” You can’t disagree—he is the president and will not tolerate it. Soon you make “further compromises,” start using his language, and finally join other sycophants in praising his leadership. “And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.” This “corruption” extends beyond the White House, said Max Boot in WashingtonPost.com. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who once called Trump a “kook” and “unfit for office,” now shouts pro-Trump conspiracy theories at Senate hearings. Conservative commentators who used to denounce Trump have surrendered to him, fearful they’ll be exiled from the GOP if they criticize Dear Leader.
It’s rich for a “duplicitous self-promoter” like Comey to lecture us about morality, said Barton Swaim in The Wall Street Journal. In attacking Trump and Barr, he’s simply telling New York Times liberals and never-Trump conservatives what they want to hear. It never occurs to these cocooned elites that Barr truly believes what he has said: that special counsel Robert Mueller found “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia, and that Trump did not obstruct justice. Liberals are so certain they are right about this—and everything—that they cannot imagine how any sane, decent person could disagree. Instead, they assume every Trump aide must have had his soul “eaten.”
Comey gets Barr all wrong, said Timothy O’Brien in Bloomberg.com. He thinks Trump’s defenders lost their “moral backbone,” but Barr, for one, “has all the inner strength he needs.” In a Senate hearing last week, Barr “beat back questions for hours, his jaw set, his gaze defiant.” Since he served the first Bush administration in the 1980s, he really has believed in an “unfettered, imperial White House.” Trump didn’t “brainwash” other Republicans either, said Josh Marshall in TalkingPointsMemo.com. For decades, they’ve been marinating in the Fox News “authoritarian worldview.” Trump didn’t create that worldview. It’s the reason “we have Trump.”