Republicans are reportedly getting queasy about Trump's economic policies — and they'll be forced to choose sides
Many GOP lawmakers have reportedly "privately" disparaged Donald Trump ever since he set foot in the Oval Office. Yet in a stunning display of cowardice, they have moved from supposed silent disapproval to acquiescence to enablers and finally to cheerleaders as Trump has poisoned public discourse, run roughshod over the Constitution, committed unfathomable human rights violations, blatantly broken the law, obliterated political norms and the separation of powers, destroyed world order, sullied America's hallowed institutions, and tanked the nation’s international standing.
But suddenly Senate Republicans are reportedly getting queasy because Trump is finally doing something that could kill their careers and subvert their power. Trump’s ego-fueled trade war has put the economy on the line and, with it, Republicans' sole argument for reelection and retention of power. The other stuff was perhaps distasteful but totally tolerable. But threatening the cushy majority status in the Senate that Republicans have utilized to annihilate America as we knew it? Well, that's pushing it.
“There’s no question that trade uncertainty is contributing to the slowdown,” Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey told Politico. “The danger is: Where are we going to be a year from now if concerns about trade continue to be an irritant to growth?”
Screwed, Toomey, that's where. Welcome to the consequences of using your power to empower pure evil.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is still praising Trump. “I think the president did a great job, we stopped doing the regulatory burden, we have a fairer tax system," he said, presumably with a straight face, "and the whole trade war has injected a huge dose of uncertainty and instability.” Yeah, wow, those tax cuts to mega-millionaires and billionaires sure leveled the playing field for the 99% of Americans Republicans left high and dry. If it weren't for Trump's trade war, everything would be so grand.
But former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, now president of the center-right American Action Forum, sees the potential that some GOP senators locked in tight reelection bids will have to go negative on Trump to survive. “At what point is it better for you separate yourself from the president as opposed to riding his coattails?” Holtz-Eakin added.
Just imagine that for a second: Trump, who has grown used to complete GOP subservience and adulation, suddenly facing criticism from within for the sake of survival. No really, just imagine, in the midst of Trump's own reelection bid, some vulnerable GOP senator pinning him with the blame for a slowing economy.
If Trump can't bring himself to swallow his pride on China—or more likely just doesn't have the chops to cut a decent deal—we may very well find out what it's like for Iowa's Joni Ernst to bemoan the trade war's effects on farmers, or for Maine's Susan Collins to express concern on behalf of the state's lobster industry.
The mad man in the Oval Office will almost certainly blow a gasket over that one. And then Republicans will be forced to choose sides—eat their own or suffer Trump's wrath. More than likely, the vast majority of them will simply spend the final months of election season running from cameras and dodging questions. Because that's what GOP leadership has come to mean: Total abdication of responsibility while still occupying seats of power. Political squatters, as it were.