If any Republican politicos are under the impression that backing Donald J. Trump for president is a cost-free proposition — they’re wrong.
Beyond the immediate soiling of their honor and sacrifice of their reputations for good sense, it should be made plain that conservatives will by all means keep track of which Republicans hold the line and which go all Chris Christie on us.
In that spirit, Ballotpedia.org has compiled a useful resource: an archive of Republican politicians’ stances on the Donald. So far, three sitting members of Congress — Representatives Chris Collins (N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (Calif.), and Senator Jeff Sessions (Ala.) — are on record supporting Trump, along with two sitting Republican governors: New Jersey’s Christie and Maine’s Paul LePage.
How’s that going for them? Well, I’m sure noted immigration hawk Jeff Sessions can’t be too happy that his endorsement is recorded forever in the Trump Supporters Hall of Shame. Sessions endorsed Trump on February 28, declaring: “Politicians have promised for 30 years to fix illegal immigration. Have they done it? Donald Trump will do it.”
On March 3 at approximately 9:30 p.m., at the GOP debate in Detroit, Trump abruptly flipped his hardline position opposing the use of H-1B visas that allow American companies to import foreign workers saying, “I’m changing it and I’m softening the position because we need to have talented people in this country.”
Whoops. You could almost hear the message going out: “Senator Sessions, call your office.”
At approximately 12:14 a.m. on March 4 — just 64 minutes after the debate ended — Trump flipped back, releasing a statement disavowing his hours-old disavowal: “I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse and ending outrageous practices such as those that occurred at Disney in Florida when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements. I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program.”
Now that’s what I call rock-ribbed consistency!
Sessions must be regretting his ringing “best judgment” that Trump is the right man to “make America great again.” Oh well. But here’s hoping that Trump won’t flip back by breakfast and give the good senator from Alabama a bad case of whiplash.
How are things going for Chris Christie? Not good.
On top of being gruffly told by his new sugar daddy to “get on the plane and go home” at an Arkansas rally the morning after his endorsement, Christie has repeatedly been forced to play the toady to Trump’s Alpha Dog.
Unable to defend Trump on the Sunday shows? Check.
Forced to awkwardly stand behind Trump in what looked like an apparent hostage video? Check.
Mocked on Jimmy Fallon? Check.
Mocked on Conan? Check.
Called on to resign by six New Jersey newspapers after his endorsement? Check.
No wonder the Weekly Standard’s Shoshana Weissmann was able to obtain exclusive footage of Christie’s emotional state upon returning home to Trenton:
— Shoshana Weissmann, Sloth Committee Chair (@senatorshoshana) February 28, 2016
In fairness, as of a few weeks ago I too would have reluctantly voted for Donald Trump in November in the event that he earned the 1,237 delegates required to secure the Republican nomination for president. I would have held my nose and voted for Trump as the lesser of two evils in a bid to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House.
No longer. Donald Trump will not earn my vote; indeed, he can never win my vote — and he shouldn’t earn yours either — not after plumbing the depths of political discourse, months of endless juvenile taunts and bullying, and repeated threats to order American servicemen to perpetrate war crimes.
No, Trump is no longer worthy of consideration — and Republicans officeholders who try to ride the Trump wave should be held to account.
They should be aware that — in this moment of existential crisis for the conservative movement and its political vehicle, the Republican party — betrayal will be remembered. And it won’t be forgiven. Indeed, the Club for Growth has already declared that congressional candidates who back Donald Trump are in danger of losing the group’s help. Good.
A Trump endorsement is an irrevocable action. Such a decision can and should be remembered by conservatives in the years to come. Conservatives should ask those seeking their votes: “When the chips were down, what did you do to help stop Trump?” And two and four and eight years from now, Republicans will want to know if a politician sided with Chris Christie or Ben Sasse in this critical emergency situation.
Pro Tip to Republican politicos: The Trump Train might seem like the hot ticket as of March 4, 2016 — just know that Internet is keeping track.