Why the 'alternative universe' of Trump loyalists won't be broken by the Bolton bombshell

Why the 'alternative universe' of Trump loyalists won't be broken by the Bolton bombshell
Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour.

When President Richard Nixon announced his resignation on August 8, 1974, he was being inundated with Watergate headlines and realized that many right-wing Republicans in the U.S. Senate would join Democrats in voting to remove him from office; Nixon, in other words, quit because he knew he would inevitably be fired.

But President Donald Trump, in contrast to Nixon, has been able to count on fiercely loyal Republicans no matter how scandal-ridden he becomes. Republicans, during Trump’s impeachment, have adamantly rallied around the president — and journalist Susan B. Glasser, in a January 28 article for The New Yorker, argued that even John Bolton’s bombshell allegations aren’t swaying diehard Trumpistas.

Bolton, former national security adviser in the Trump Administration, alleges in his book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” that Trump tied military aid to Ukraine to an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, according to multiple reports. Trump and his cult-like defenders have maintained there was no such “quid pro quo” — that investigating the Bidens was never a condition of military aid. But in a leaked manuscript of Bolton’s book, the New York Times reported over the weekend, Bolton alleges Trump and his allies made it clear to the Ukrainian government that there would be no military aid without an investigation of the Bidens.

Trump loyalists, Glasser notes, have been quick to defame Bolton.

“The attack on Bolton was swift and predictable: Bolton was a disgruntled former employee, a neocon, a money-grubber with a two-million-dollar book to sell,” Glasser explains. “The president himself led the mob, beginning to tweet and retweet anti-Bolton statements.”

The Republican National Committee (RNC), Glasser observes, has been “sending out official talking points attacking Bolton.” And many Senate Republicans, she writes, are still opposed to featuring Bolton or any other witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial — no matter how damning Bolton’s allegations are.

“At any other moment in Washington in my lifetime, I would have predicted with absolute confidence that the Bolton revelation would force Republican senators to switch their position and support witnesses — and not just a few, but almost all of them,” Glasser asserts. “But this is now, and the unthinkable and inconceivable have become increasingly routine. Here it was: the proverbial smoking gun, right in the middle of the trial — crucial evidence that Trump, his advisers, his lawyers and his enablers on Capitol Hill knew about and were trying to suppress.”

Glasser concludes her New Yorker piece on a somber note, lamenting the fact that no matter what Bolton has to say about Ukraine, Trump’s loyalists and sycophants aren’t budging an inch.

“Monday proved once again that this alternative universe has become the new normal in Trump’s GOP,” Glasser writes. “It is not the exception but the rule. The post-Bolton-bombshell Republican Party will be largely the same as the pre-Bolton-bombshell Republican Party.”

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