When Republicans Were Honest About Trump

Mitt Romney’s first dinner in Hell.

Three years ago this week, Republicans were presented with their final opportunity to redeem their souls and rid themselves of Donald Trump. On October 7, 2016, the Washington Post published a recording in which Trump graphically described his practice of sexually assaulting women. His comments included the following, now-famous brag:

“I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

After months in which Trump had urged supporters to assault opponents, summoned every demon from our racial past, continued to fight a multi-million dollar fraud lawsuit, refused to disclose his financial dealings, papered over his extensive ties to Epstein’s pedophile ring, begged our foreign enemies to aid his campaign, denigrated prisoners of war, and lied relentlessly without consequence, this tape revealed absolutely nothing new. Republicans who had ignored the horror of Trump’s rise were already complicit in one of the darkest episodes in US political history. For a moment though, it seemed Trump might be weak enough that Republicans could once again speak their minds. Many seized this final chance to tell the truth.

Then Trump rebounded, thanks to white voters who simply weren’t bothered by sexual assault, just as they weren’t bothered by any of Trump’s other supposed liabilities. Republicans who had taken “bold” positions against Trump found themselves isolated. To quote Bart Simpson, they folded faster than Superman on laundry day.

As the lights went out again, Republicans swept up the soiled scraps of their personal dignity, said a few hurried words over the corpses of their pride, and pretended they had always loved their mad king.

However, their words still hang in the air. Whatever Orwellian nonsense they may mutter about Trump this afternoon to protect their personal power and income, we know what they know. As the stench of this administration chokes the air around us, Republicans should be relentlessly reminded of what they said when they thought they could afford a conscience. And when the time comes to clear away the rubble and settle scores, those Republicans who clearly knew better but still decided to collaborate with the regime, will deserve a special category of public revulsion.

Today, there isn’t one senior Republican, not even Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse or Marco Rubio, willing to put the public interest over their own. Perhaps no one has been more graphically debased by Trump than Lindsey Graham, who had been Trump’s most vocal Republican opponent. After a golf outing in October 2017, in which he was presumably shown his file, Graham transformed into Trumpbot. Even Ben Sasse finally had his Reek Moment, politely accepting an endorsement from Trump himself last month.

Here’s a sample of what Republicans said about Trump back in the days when they thought they could afford to be honest.

Utah Senator, Mike Lee

He scares me to death.”

May, 2016

Republican House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy

There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

June 2016

South Carolina Senator, Tim Scott

Any candidate who cannot immediately condemn a hate group like the KKK does not represent the Republican Party, and will not unite it. If Donald Trump can’t take a stand against the KKK, we cannot trust him to stand up for America against Putin, Iran or ISIS.”

June 2016

Florida Senator, Marco Rubio

He’s a very touchy and insecure guy and so that’s how he reacts. And people can see through it.

September 2015

He wanted a full-length mirror. Maybe to make sure his pants weren’t wet. I don’t know.”

February 2016

How does this guy — not one tweet, three tweets — misspell words so badly? And I only reach two conclusions — number one, that’s how they spell those words at the Wharton School of Business where he went, or number two, just like Trump Tower, he must have hired a foreign worker to do his own tweets.”

February 2016

The Republican Party would be split apart if he became the nominee, because we cannot allow the party of Reagan to be taken over by a con man.”

March 2016

In many ways he doesn’t want to say anything to his supporters, because he doesn’t want to turn them off. Because he understands that the reason they’re voting for him is because he’s tapped into this anger,” he added. “The problem is leadership has never been about taking people’s anger and using it to get them to vote for you. If it is, it’s a dangerous style leadership.”

March 2016

This is a man who in rallies has told his supporters to basically beat up the people who are in the crowd and he’ll pay their legal fees. Someone who’s basically encouraged the people in the audience to rough up anyone who stands up and says something he doesn’t like.”

March 2016

We’re on the verge of having someone take over the conservative movement and the Republican Party who’s a con artist…. His target audience is working Americans who are really struggling over the last few years in this economy, but he has spent a career sticking it to working Americans.”

April 2016

South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham

You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.”

December 2015

What Mr. Trump is doing … He is helping the enemy of this nation. He is empowering radical Islam.”

December 2015

I’d rather lose without Donald Trump than try to win with with him.”

December 2015

I wish he would leave the party.”

 December 2015

I don’t care if he runs as an independent. If we lose the 2016 election. So be it. … I want to be in a category of 1% who said ‘B.S., this is not who we are at a party, this is not who we are as a nation.’”

December 2015

What Mr. Trump is doing is undercutting everything we stand for.”

December 2015

Trump is a race-baiting, xenophobic bigot.”

December 2015

Texas Senator, Ted Cruz

Donald, real men don’t attack women.”

March 2016

Donald, you’re a sniveling coward.”

March 2016

This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth, and in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology text book, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.”

May 2016

The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him.”

May 2016

Donald is a bully. … Bullies come from a deep, yawning cavern of insecurity.”

May 2016

Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul

I think he would be a disaster for the country.”

September 2015

Donald Trump is a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag. A speck of dirt is more qualified to be President.”

January 2016

Rand Paul enjoys a round of golf with the “delusional narcissist” who owns his balls.

Utah Senator, Mitt Romney

This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.”

March 2016

Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”

March 2016

He’s playing the members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”

March 2016

His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”

March 2016

Nebraska Senator, Ben Sasse

You brag abt many affairs w/ married women. Have you repented? To harmed children & spouses? Do you think it matters?”

January 2016

In private, many people will say some version of ‘I wish I could take the position you’ve taken, but I don’t know how that will affect me back home. I don’t know where it’s written that fighting for what you believe in will always be popular with 51 percent.”

May 2016

I can’t support someone that I don’t think would take the oath of office in good faith.”

June 2016

Public Service Announcement: Saying someone can’t do a specific job because of his or her race is the literal definition of racism.”

June 2016

Idaho Senator, Mike Crapo

While I’ve never endorsed Donald Trump, I find his recent comments about women deplorable. In my opinion, he has demonstrated that he is unfit to be president and I cannot support him.

October 2016

Idaho Representative, Mike Simpson

In my opinion, he has demonstrated that he is unfit to be president and I cannot support him.”

October 2016

Nebraska Senator, Deb Fischer

It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party’s nominee.”

October 2016

Ohio Senator, Rob Portman

I can no longer support him.”

October 2016

Alaska Senator, Lisa Murkowski

I cannot and will not support Donald Trump for president. He has forfeited the right to be our party’s nominee.”

October 2016

South Dakota Senator, John Thune

Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.”

October 2016

Trump’s Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman

The time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket.”

October 2016

Colorado Senator, Cory Gardner

[Donald Trump] is a candidate whose flaws are beyond mere moral shortcomings and who shows a disgust for American character and a disdain for dignity unbecoming of the Presidency. I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assault.”

October 2016

Alabama Representative, Bradley Byrne

It is clear that Donald Trump is not fit to be President.”

October 2016

Alabama Representative Martha Roby

It is abundantly clear that the best thing for our country and our party is for Trump to step aside and allow a responsible, respectable Republican to lead the ticket.”

October 2016

Maine Senator, Susan Collins

Donald Trump’s lewd comments are the latest in a series of remarks he has made ranging from inappropriate to reprehensible that demonstrate why he is unsuitable for the presidency.  It was comments like these, including the statements he made about John McCain, a disabled reporter, the family of a fallen soldier and more, that caused me to decide this summer that I could not support his candidacy.”

October 2016

26 Comments

    1. Mary, saw this post, and your other one about the nazi harassing the journalist at Dulles. You still think that democracy will last another 13 months, or longer?

      Or have you considered this possibility, which is truly the best case scenario?: The tyrant loses next November. By early Dec. the inevitable court case is also lost by the tyrant. Then, until Jan 20, he goes batshit and full scorched-earth mode with whatever power he has left.

      That is the BEST option, and the least likely. The other outcomes are far worse. Actually, there is a better option, but I am not allowed to discuss it. But you keep on believing that the power of the vote is all that is needed to remove the tyrant.

    1. Hey I’ll take it. He doesn’t have to say “I want to impeach this guy right now”. Any republican statement saying “this is not right” and that calling out the GOP talking points (e.g. trump is focused corruption in general) is helping.

      The impeachment question he can answer once it comes up for a vote in the Senate. If he votes to not impeach, then I’m all for going crazy on Mitt.

      1. It’s a start. I see Romney’s reactions as a very important measure of GOP attitude, because he’s the one with literally the least to fear from Trump. His Senate seat is as safe as it gets.

      1. The tangerine toddler is whining about it as expected; my favorite Twitter witticism is response:

        “Donald Trump came down harder on Mitt Romney for tweeting than he did on Kim Jong-un for killing Otto Warmbier.”

        Sad but true.

  1. EJ

    In Germany, today is Unification Day, where we celebrate the reunification of Germany in 1989 – 1990. This is traditionally celebrated with a glass (or more than one) of white wine and, if the weather is nice, a street party. Donations to refugee charities are also appropriate.

    If you are the sort who puts up graffiti, the traditional slogan for today is WIR SIND EIN VOLK. During the Cold War, this was an anti-Wall slogan, used in the East to demand liberty and the West to show solidarity with the East.

    Solidarity is an important theme of the day. East or West, rich or poor, immigrant or local-born, cis or trans, we are all one people, and any authority that attempts to divide us makes itself illegitimate by doing so.

    If you are a fan of the cult American television series “Firefly”, then Unification Day is celebrated somewhat differently. If this is you then you already know what to do.

  2. I have to wonder how much longer Donny2Scoops can take the pressure. The accounts I’m reading of today’s presser with the President of Finland sound batshit insane even by Trump standards. The press is starting to openly bait him, and he deserves it and more.

    1. In all seriousness, the Maximum Leader’s already cracked. An already obvs mental deterioration is being made all the worse by impeachment and the painful reality (to him, at least) that he’s lost control of the narrative and doesn’t know how to get it back. Stack on top of THAT an increasingly likely economic recession and confronting the possibility that he just can’t win in 2020, and well… we’ve a rat back into a corner that still has the nuclear codes.

      There’s nothing for it but to keep going though. Trump’s going to do what he’s going to do, and we just have to keep our heads about us and keep taking the fight to him as best as we can.

      1. That “cornered rat” has a great deal to fight for. Remember: Trump loses executive privilege when he departs the presidency. As relentlessly and selfishly as he has pursued members of the intelligence community, he knows (or “should know “), that payback is going to be a bitch. Somehow, I cannot visualize a DJT in stripes on a metal cot in a cell in a wing of one of the nation’s finest prisons (only the very best will do). All who have enabled him (Barr, kelly, Pompeo, Miller, McConnell, and others) will have their day.

        If this doesn’t come to pass – if trump somehow wins (Putin has promised to do his best) and republicans keep the senate, democracy will not be able to survive. The incredible $125M haul this fundraising quarter for trump is testimony to the rabid, blind allegiance of his poor deluded base.

        Expect more of this.

        https://apnews.com/7b9f754aa2fd4a7ba647aebaa98a0693

      2. CBP personnel are harassing journalists at major airports. It appears they fear no consequences for their actions. Police state in the making. Who can their publishers appeal to? Justce is bought and paid for (Barr); Intelligence division has been neutered; State – compromised. The rule of law in America is under serious attack.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2019/10/04/journalist-says-cbp-officer-withheld-his-passport-until-he-agreed-he-writes-propaganda/

  3. I remember all this well, as it unfolded in real time, and we commented on it in the old GOP Lifer blog. We actually hoped and believed that those GOPers would walk their talk. Silly us.

    Thank you very much for posting that Mitt humiliation pic, because I was actually thinking this morning of using it for my next protest sign. The caption will be “SEND OSTEOBLASTS!!!!”

  4. For our good friend Lindsey please include the “race-baiting xenophobic bigot” comment he made in 2015.

    How this guy can look himself in the mirror in the morning is beyond my imagination.

    Many of the other’s you quoted here have mostly gone silent which is still complicit and hypocritical. But Graham has made such a 180 that I can only assume nobody will ever be able to take him seriously again once Trump is gone. If he gets reelected even after Trump is impeached, I will lose all hope for the population of South Carolina.

    1. Graham is scared to death of being outed. SC will never elect an openly gay senator.

      As for the rest of the GOP, they know they can’t win without Trump’s base. Though small, it’s monolithic and blindly loyal. The ones in swing districts and states can’t afford to have those voters stay home. The ones in reliably red districts and states fear losing a primary challenge.

      In short, they’ve come to find that their voter base isn’t so much about conservative issues as much as it was the GOP pols riding an opportunistic wave of xenophobia and nihilism.

      1. The way I see it, Collins and Gardner are likely toast no matter what they choose. In the next tier down in the difficult re-election fight category, I see Ernst, Tillis, and McSally. Even Cornyn here in TX is starting to sweat.

        On the Dem side, I doubt Jones can hold that seat. It is Alabama, and even though they may be morally bankrupt enough to re-nominate Roy Moore, it’s still advantage GOP.

      2. I just can’t believe that the gay outing thing is the only thing. By now there have been enough rumors about it, even in the press, that it is kind of an open secret. So what more damage could Trump do to Graham? Post it on his twitter?

        Maybe Lindsey was more worried about getting primaried?

        I’m really curious to see if GOP senators who will be up for election in 2020 will start speaking up after their primary window has closed (basically when the deadline to get on the ballot has passed in their state). At that point they could all collectively go against Trump and if the whole party plays along, they will probably still be reelected in the red states.

      3. @Flypusher:

        Gardner’s almost certainly toast at this point, but don’t count Collins out yet, not by any stretch of the imagination. We’ve had next to no polling there and McConnell will be certain to bring in all the money in the world to protect a critical Senate seat.

        @RHOU:

        Honestly, who knows at this point? Maybe it really is as simple as being outed. It might seem inconsequential for us, but thinking of it in terms of someone who may well have lived their entire life chained down by crippling fear of who they were, well… psychologically at least, it can be an entirely different world.

        Or that may not have anything to do with it at all. Regardless, I’m pretty confident we’ll have the answer someday.

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