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THOMPSON: Republicans more loyal to the party than to America

January 06, 2020 - 12:08 PM

If you’re like most people, you’re probably asking yourself, “How can Donald Trump not be impeached and removed from office?” 

Well, it helps to know - really know - the people who now call themselves Republicans. These folks were once-upon-a-time intelligent people whose moral compass mostly pointed true. They were decent people.

That simply is more fiction than fact today. Sadly, the people who now identify as Republicans are more partisan…more loyal to party…than they are American. There is overwhelming proof of this…which I will now lay out for you.

The evidence against Donald Trump’s abuses of power, bribery (extortion) and obstruction of justice is overwhelming. Simply read the reports of the House Committees…well written and compelling. But - to return to my opening question…”How can Donald Trump not be impeached and removed from office?”

Easy…in fact, it is - as gamblers say - a lock. Remember, not a single Representative voted to impeach…and while a couple Republican Senators voice concern publicly…they won’t vote to convict an obvious crook. Republicans almost always disappoint. Place a big bet in Vegas..not a single Republican will choose being an American over being a Republican.

Indeed, unless Trump strangles Mike Pence in the Oval Office live, on camera with one of Melania’s scarves…you can take your winnings to the bank. How do I know? Again, easy!

But first, let’s look at who’s in prison…or awaiting prison…and who worked for or is an associate of Trump. This list includes those who are guilty of illegal acts who worked for Trump associates and are charged and facing convictions. Republicans - somehow - must overlook all of this.

Former Campaign Chairman Paul Mannafort…now a felon.
Former Campaign Vice Chairman Rick Gates…now a felon. 
Former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn…convicted felon awaiting sentencing.
Former Campaign Advisor on Foreign Policy George Papadopoulos…now a felon released from prison.
Former lawyer who did illegal work for Manafort and Gates, Alex van der Zwaan,…now a felon released from prison. 
Former Trump advisor and longtime confidant Roger Stone, now a felon on multiple counts...awaiting sentencing.
Richard Pinedo…pleaded guilty to identity fraud related to Manafort felonies.
Stephen Calk…charged in bribery scheme to attain Trump Administration position for loan to Manafort.
Maria Butina…now a felon guilty of conspiring to serve as a foreign (Russian) agent…serving 18 months in prison.
Bijan Kian…associate of Michael Flynn charged with conspiracy to violate federal lobbying rules.
Ekim Alptekin…former business associate of Michael Flynn charged with conspiracy to violate federal lobbying rules and lying to the F.B.I.
Sam Patten…former lobbyist linked to Konstantin V. Kilimnik pleaded guilty to failing to register as an agent for a foreign power…awaiting sentencing.
Konstantin V. Kilimnik…Russian Army-trained linguist and former associate of Manafort charged with obstruction of justice.
12 Russian Intelligence Officers…charged with conspiracy to commit an offence against the U.S., identity theft and conspiracy to launder money.
13 Russian Nationals and Three Companies…charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to commit bank fraud and identity theft.

Of course, there are still others who might face prison…or testify against those who might be prison-bound associates or members of the Trump Administration. But Trump ordered all of these folks to defy subpoenas and not testify…and he defied every subpoena for documents. None of that is, of course, what an innocent person does.

These include…White House Counsel Don McGhan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Personal Attorney Rudy Giuliani, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, National Security Advisor Legal Advisor John Eisenberg, National Security Advisor Assistant Legal Advisor Michael Ellis, Robert Blair, chief aide to Acting White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney, and Brian McCormack, an aide at the White House Office of Management and Budget who previously worked for Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

As exhausting as it was to put this list together…it is not an exhaustive list. There will be others as conspirators big and small take their positions under the Trump bus.

So, Republicans will ignore the evidence and proven guilt of these 48 folks…plus the 12 patriots who testified publicly before the House Committees on Impeachment…and five others behind closed doors. That’s 65 people who played a role…knew something…and testified. But the conclusion of all Republicans in the House and most in the Senate: “Nah…I just don’t believe Trump did anything wrong.”

The truth is…every one of these Republicans who doesn’t “retire” will do anything to get re-elected…keep their seats in the House and the Senate. They won’t do the right thing…even though they very much know what that right thing is.

Unfortunately, Republican voters are so partisan…so - and there’s no kind way to say this…willfully ignorant - that they will vote for them again. How do I know. Again, let’s look at the evidence…very recent history.

Do you remember who in Congress first endorsed Trump for president back in 2015? No, it wasn’t former Alabama Senator and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions…he was third.

Who were these two shining examples of American patriotism…one from California and one from New York? Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA) and Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY). Both were charged under federal indictments…Hunter and his wife, Margaret, with 60 counts of campaign finance violations, and Collins on multiple insider trading charges.

Both gushed about Trump…encouraging others to step aboard the Trump train in 2015.
And when the two ran for re-election in the respective states in 2018 - and Republican voters knew then that both had been charged with serious crimes - Hunter and Collins said the same thing…each investigation was a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” by the “deep state liberals.” Sound familiar?

The two finally pleaded guilty when it became apparent they were going away to federal prisons for decades…take a plea and shorten your time. Collins took a plea and resigned from the House last October…and Hunter in November. How did Republicans choose these crooks over the Democrats running? I don’t know…but it appears they would vote for the Devil if he only were Republican.

That is where things stand in America. People incapable of no longer considering the right thing are undermining America. Trump was impeached…but not convicted. He will run for re-election…and the Russians and Chinese…maybe North Koreans…and Republicans will do their best to re-elect him.

Republicans had a choice…they could have listened to the advice of George Washington, who warned in his Farewell Address: “The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Republicans had a choice…they could have listened to a cautioning Benjamin Franklin, who when leaving the Constitutional Convention, was asked whether America had a Monarchy or a Republic…and replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Republican voters…and Republicans in the House and Senate…instead followed the words of a morally bankrupt and politically corrupt man who tweets lies and favours America’s enemies over its allies.

If that’s not tragic, America…what the hell is?

Late last Thursday night, as I wrote this column…it originally ended with the previous sentence. I - along with the rest of the world - learned that Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps, was just killed by a U.S. drone air strike.

President Donald Trump ordered the strike. It is not that Gen. Suleimani didn’t deserve death…he was a horribly cruel military man who had killed his own people and others in the Middle East.

U.S. presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama rejected going after Gen. Suleimani - an icon in Iran - fearing it could catastrophically destabilize the region further and lead to all out war between the United States and Iran.

It’s easy to start a war. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria didn’t seem earth shattering…but it kicked off World War I…killing more than 17million people and injuring more than 20 million others.

I’m not sure President Trump has a strategy…a plan…for the next step. He certainly has no sense of history. And unfortunately, none of his advisors stand up to him. Maybe when you’re impeached…and things look bad…it’s a good time to start a war.

So, I’ll end this column…again…with the same question: If that’s not tragic, America…what the hell is?

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.

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