The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Abandonment of Trump

President Donald Trump in the press room of the White House, November 20, 2020 (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, whenever there was talk of “this, surely, will be the end of Donald Trump!,” my key word was erosion. Trump was more apt to gradually, quietly melt away support, than to lose it in spectacular fashion. Even now, with the Capitol riot acting as a scales-falling-from-eyes moment both for some longtime supporters and for many Republicans who tolerated Trump, his support has yet to entirely evaporate, and his noisy defenders are as clamorous as ever.

But it is impossible to miss the number of conservatives now either openly regretting voting for Trump ten weeks ago, or simply being done with him and telling him to go away. Lindsey Graham, on the Senate floor last week:

On the Senate floor, [Graham] said he and Trump have “had a hell of a journey” over Trump’s one term. “I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it,” Graham said right before a majority of the Senate voted to kill an attempt to object to Arizona’s electoral votes. “From my point of view, he’s been a consequential president. But today, first thing you’ll see. All I can say is, count me out. Enough is enough. I’ve tried to be helpful.”

Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell, both of whom stood up to Trump on his efforts to stop the counting of Electoral College votes for Joe Biden, have not been as explicit in public quite yet, but McConnell is said to favor impeachment. That is coming, not from anti-Trump outlets, but from Laura Ingraham and Fox News:

Even in Pence’s letter Tuesday night declining to invoke the 25th Amendment, it was noticeable that the word “Trump” never appears once.

Add R. Emmett Tyrell of the American Spectator, surely no weak-kneed Never Trumper, to the “done with Trump” list:

I was the first editor-in-chief of an intellectual review to support Donald Trump. Possibly I was the first editor to do so. Yet now after a thorough review of last week’s bruising events, I most emphatically condemn his reckless rhetoric, and I affirm that I can no longer support him. If anything, I should have done so earlier. Too much wreckage has accumulated around him. Too many reputations have been destroyed by him. One of the most admirable virtues in politics is loyalty. I know who has been loyal to Donald. To whom has he been loyal? . . . Donald was an amazing man, but now his legacy is endangered, and the man who endangered it is Donald Trump. He never took advice from anyone, and he went through many first-rate advisers. He treated staff horribly. . . . When it came down to last week — Washington’s Hell Week — he treated the vice president as shabbily as he treated everyone else. . . . Who knows what happened to him, but his program worked for the first years of his regime, and it will work again without him.

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