Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Silence is complicity, and Republican leaders are silent on Trump's racist 'shithole' comments

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 06: US President Donald Trump speaks as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (L) and House Speaker Paul Ryan listen during a meeting with House and Senate leadership  in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, on June 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and Paul Ryan
Donald Trump’s racist “shithole” comments spurred House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to … continue their tradition of looking the other way on Trump’s worst offenses. Expect them at some point to be asked directly about it and to mumble something about how it’s “disappointing” or “inappropriate” or words of that nature, but in the 16 or so hours after Trump’s remarks became public, as other lawmakers responded, Ryan and McConnell were silent.

No surprise there. It was crickets from Ryan and McConnell after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Ryan and McConnell condemned white supremacy after Trump called the white supremacists of Charlottesville “very fine people,” but they failed to say Trump's name. And on and on.

Ryan and McConnell distance themselves from Trump when their backs are against the wall, but always after a delay that shows their reluctance and in mealymouthed terms. Enough for the pundits to keep treating them as serious men who are not themselves crude racists, but not so much as to offend Trump or his base too much.

Once again, “shithole” shows us Republicans who are retiring, or running again in districts Hillary Clinton won, or hoping someday to run for president criticizing Trump while most of the party remains silent or, Steve King-style, offers up support.

Republicans own this. They own every word out of Donald Trump’s mouth as long as they continue to protect him and enact his agenda.

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