The Corner

Another Trump Crisis

As has happened again and again for months, Donald Trump has once more been caught behaving perfectly characteristically (this time, in the form of years old evidence of such behavior), and has sent his campaign into an intense scandal, with various of the politicians who have endorsed him while knowing full well who he was now declaring themselves shocked. 

In August, amid another such crisis, that one surrounding Trump’s picking a fight with the family of a fallen soldier, I suggested a few questions that might guide how we think about the pressure Trump faces: 

What has Donald Trump really done in the past week that has been in any meaningful way different or worse than what he has been doing throughout the past year to make it perfectly clear that he is an unstable, disordered, malevolent charlatan unfit for the presidency? 

Which of the criticisms he is now receiving from some of the Republicans who are still formally endorsing him would he be receiving if his poll numbers now stood where they did just a week and a half ago?  

Which of these criticisms would he receive a week and a half from now if nothing but his polling were to improve?

To be sure, late is better than never and doing the right thing for the wrong reason is better than doing wrong. The catastrophic failure of their party’s primary electorate to select a worthy candidate for president this year has also put many Republican politicians in a horrific nightmare scenario that they did not want and would not choose. But they did have an extended opportunity to struggle against this outcome, including well before the party trapped the country in a lose-lose Trump or Clinton double bind.  

Only a very small number of them chose to struggle, and even now it is far from clear that any more of them have decided they should. They will only move against Trump if they absolutely have to. And while we should be glad if that were to happen, it would be hard to also be impressed, or reassured.

Here we go again. 

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

Most Popular


‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More

A Defining Statement of Modern Conservatism

The greatest documents in American history never lose their ability to astonish. They deserve, and repay, careful study, and inevitably have contemporary resonances no matter how long ago they were written or uttered. There’s no doubt that Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” belongs in the top ranks ... Read More
White House

The Russian Conspiracy That Won’t Die

The Mueller report accomplished nothing. Whether you thought that the two-year, $32 million investigation was warranted or not, the report promised to establish a factual record that both sides could accept, especially on the explosive charge that Donald Trump had conspired with the Russians to win the ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Theater of Trolls

As a boy, I used to watch a television show with a weekly gag titled “MasterJoke Theatre.” A pompous egghead smoked a pipe in a leather-bound chair in a richly appointed library, told a joke, and got a pie in the face for his trouble. What the Democrats launched on the Hill this week is their own variant, ... Read More