by Eli Cousin
It is hard to believe that there was once a time when Republicans appeared to be mounting a full-fledged opposition to the presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump. Long gone are the days of the “Never Trump” faction of the Republican party, a period where the idea of dumping Trump and uniting behind humble Governor John Kasich actually seemed like a legitimate proposition. Yet, through the first few weeks of Trump’s presidency, it has become abundantly clear that the GOP prefers to remain silent rather than speak up against the shortcomings of the current administration. I beg of the Republicans in both the House and in the Senate: are there none among you who will put country before party?
We are taught as early as elementary school that the founders of our country believed in separation of powers, and an independent Congress was absolutely vital to the success of our democracy. With Republicans firmly in control of both chambers of Congress, they have the opportunity to force Trump to work with them. Instead, Trump has Republicans in Congress completely whipped, seemingly holding them in the palm of his hand.
Guided by the spineless leadership of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, the GOP has given up on the idea of any form of resistance.
For this party, it is simply easier to just fall in line. One must look no further than the confirmation process of Trump’s nominees. As Trump assembles his cabinet of corporate elitists and campaign contributors, Republicans have elected to lay down, deeming it inappropriate to go against President Trump, regardless of how egregiously unqualified a nominee may be.
Will the American people remember when only two Republicans crossed the aisle to vote against Betsy DeVos, a woman whose sole qualification is her checkbook?
Will the American people remember when the GOP silenced Elizabeth Warren and proceeded to confirm Jeff Sessions, a man who was too racist to be confirmed as a federal judge in 1986?
Will the American people remember when the GOP stayed silent as Trump decided it would be appropriate to place a climate change denier at the helm of an agency designed to protect and preserve our environment?
The examples go well beyond the confirmation process. Only a handful of Republicans have voiced concern over some of Trump’s more erratic and unprecedented decisions, and even those who have spoken out appear to be doing little to actually stop him.
The GOP was once the self-proclaimed party of the Constitution. Today, they are more than happy to bend the rules.
Have we reached a point where the party that champions a strict interpretation of the constitution will not stand up and say Trump’s “Muslim Ban” directly violates the first and fourteenth amendments?
What about Trump’s alarming and unethical business ties that come in direct conflict with the constitution? Considering how much attention this party placed on Hillary Clinton’s “ethical violations,” one might imagine that the GOP would be vigilant in ridiculing Trump’s usage of a private server and investigating potential ties to Russia. Yet, to the shock of nobody, this simply has not been the case. The level of hypocrisy within the GOP is unheralded, and it appears that they have essentially given up their core values in order to fall in-line behind Trump.
It is time that we demand more of our Republican representatives. These men and women were not sent to D.C. to blindly support the President of the United States. Rather, they are supposed to represent the American people, and to protect them from unconstitutional and authoritarian abuses of power. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly clear that the Republican party is not interested in what the American people have to say. Instead, they are content to be a rubber stamp for President Trump.
Now, more than ever, we need a Congress that will put country before party. I do not think it is too much to ask for Republicans in Congress to take a more principled and vigilant approach when dealing with the current President of the United States. If they don’t, I am confident the American people will remember. Republicans: consider yourself on notice.
Eli Cousin is a student at Colgate University. His article originally appeared in the The Colgate Maroon-News.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer. The Contemporary takes no institutional positions on matters of policy or opinion.
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