Just hide and wait for him to destroy himself. That’s been the Republican strategy for dealing with Trump since the primary. It failed for Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. It failed for the party, which is now dominated by Trump’s greedy minions. Now thanks to the cowardice of one Republican in particular, Mitch McConnell, that strategy is close to destroying the Senate.
Remember, just a month ago McConnell’s Senate passed a clean temporary funding bill that would have kept the government open until February. Then Trump saw someone on TV complain about it, and said he wouldn’t sign it. The House, then still under Republican control, dropped it like it was hot.
One of the first actions of the new Democratic House was to pass a temporary spending bill and send it back to the Senate. McConnell refuses to let that bill come to floor because it would pass. If that happened, The Donald might discover that McConnell exists and spew disrespectful tweets about his wattle, or about the corrupt financial deals that made his family wealthy and placed his wife in charge of the Transportation Department. Either one would be uncomfortable, and he’s not going to endure discomfort for something as trivial as the United States.
There are Republicans who think Donald Trump is fantastic. Most come either from the racist religious-nut caucus, or are among what Rick Wilson has called “Donald Trump’s credulous rube, 10-tooth base.” Surprisingly few of these folks are in leadership positions, though their numbers there are rising. The overwhelming bulk of Republican leaders know that Donald Trump is corrupt and incompetent. They worked quietly and ineffectively to stop him, and they would prefer to have someone else in charge. But they aren’t in this business to serve their country. A guy like Paul Ryan wouldn’t skip leg day at the gym to protect America.
Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP is hiding, hoping that The Donald will get distracted by a shiny thing and lose interest in this idiotic project. There is a simple solution to this problem that could be a win for everyone, but it would require a Republican leader to grow a spine. The Senate could pass the bill already approved by the House. Trump, who promised not to sign such a measure, could keep his promise. Instead of vetoing the bill, he could simply refuse to sign it. Then something magic happens, thanks to Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution:
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a Law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a Law.
Our juvenile president gets to tell his 10-toothed base that he stood up to Congress. They won’t know the difference. Republicans in Congress to get to claim that they still support wall funding and will pursue it any day now. And Democrats would have stopped the GOP from further defacing private property on the border to appease Republican racists.
Trouble is, someone in the GOP would have to actually speak during a meeting with Trump. No one in the Republican caucus has shown the courage to do that. As this absurd tragedy unfolds, much of the moral and political weight of the GOP’s cowardice is falling on the brittle shoulders of Mitch McConnell. Republicans had hoped to ride this out, skirting responsibility for the evil they’ve unleashed, retaining their personal power and money at public expense. Now Republican cowards find their backs against the wall, the compounding debt from a series of moral compromises looking for its due. Their reckoning looms, and they’ll throw any and all of us under the bus to escape with their gains.