Trump’s Tweets and Republicans

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Ron Brownstein, the editorial director of National Journal Group, has issued a challenge to Republicans who have criticized Trump’s tweets against Mika Brzezinski. What, he asks, are they going to do about those tweets? Jennifer Rubin and John Weaver, two center-right opponents of Trump, have joined in deriding these Republican critics.

Criticism seems to me to be exactly the right response to this morning’s presidential misbehavior. I’m open to the argument that Republican officials should back up that criticism with action — if only I saw a reasonable action they should take. What exactly do Brownstein et al want the Republican critics of Trump’s tweets to do about them? Speaker Ryan can’t take away Trump’s Twitter account. Senator Graham can’t give Trump the self-restraint and decency neither nature nor upbringing seems to have supplied him. I asked the question on Twitter, and haven’t gotten a great answer yet. Is Senator Sasse supposed to impeach Trump over his tweets? That’s what some respondents suggested. I am sorry to say that it seems necessary to point out that this response is insane. If it were sane, it would mean that none of the criticisms of Trump made by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should be taken seriously, either, since they haven’t declared for impeachment either.

Some liberal respondents suggested that the problem is that the critics keep “voting with Trump” and “supporting his agenda.” The idea, I suppose, is that to register their opposition to obnoxious Trump behavior Republicans should delay the confirmation of conservative nominees they support, vote against legislation they favor, and so on. Even better, I suppose, congressional Republicans with misgivings about Trump could commit ritual suicide, or switch parties, whichever would be more painful.

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