'Republicans are becoming alarmed': Columnists lay out why those who 'blindly follow' Trump are taking a big risk

'Republicans are becoming alarmed': Columnists lay out why those who 'blindly follow' Trump are taking a big risk
President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, meets with patients Tuesday, April 14, 2020, who have recovered from the COVID-19 Coronavirus, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Election '20

Although there are many reasons why President Donald Trump might win reelection despite the coronavirus pandemic and the terrible state of the U.S. economy — from a heavy turnout by his hardcore MAGA base to Republican voter suppression efforts — an increasing number of key factors look bad for the incumbent's chances. Washington Post columnists Jennifer Rubin and Greg Sargent, this week, discuss some of the things working against Trump — and Rubin argues that politically, Trump is not only a danger to himself, but to the Republican Party in general.

Thanks to Trump, Rubin asserts, Republicans are right to fear that they could lose their majority in the U.S. Senate in November.

“For months, it has been clear that the Senate majority is slipping from Republicans’ control, but they appeared to be in denial that an unpopular president who failed to address a pandemic and presided over an economy akin to the Great Depression might ruin their reelection chances,” Rubin writes. “Who knew? But now, Republicans are becoming alarmed at their chances in November.”

According to the Never Trump conservative, Republicans “blindly follow President Trump even when he makes no political or policy sense” — and that includes his obsession with ending the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare. Just last week, Trump reiterated his desire to see the U.S. Supreme Court strike down the ACA as unconstitutional.

“Hey, why not stop cheering for its repeal in the middle of the pandemic?,” Rubin advises Republicans. “That would be smart policy at a time people are losing employment — and health coverage —  and face a national health emergency. Really, this is not rocket science.”

Rubin adds that there are many other things that could hurt Republicans at the polls in November, from opposing mail-in voting during a pandemic to “their opposition to additional funding for state and local governments.”

“Republicans have been frittering away their reelection chances ever since Trump tied them to his unpopular policies,” Rubin explains. “They still won’t break with some of his worst ideas. Now, facing an election wipeout, they fret that he is pulling them under. Well, what did they expect?”

Sargent, meanwhile, cites the news of some new coronavirus infections in Trump’s “inner circle” as another example of something that could damage him politically. The people who have tested positive for coronavirus include a personal valet and Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary and the wife of Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser).

“The news that the novel coronavirus has invaded President Trump’s inner circle — and that the White House is implementing aggressive testing and tracing to combat it — is a devastating story on an obvious and immediate level, but also, on a deeper and longer-lasting one,” Sargent explains. “Most palpably, it has revealed the sort of glaring double standard that’s catnip to political media: the White House is taking extensive steps to protect Trump and his top advisers with resources that are largely unavailable to the rest of us, in part due to his own dereliction.”

The fact that Katie Miller and the valet have tested positive for coronavirus, according to Sargent, is hardly comforting at a time when Trump is pushing for more Americans to return to physical offices.

“The problem isn’t just that this story is revealing that Trump and his advisers benefit from testing and tracing that the rest of us mostly do not enjoy, though that’s damning enough,” Sargent writes. “It’s also that this shatters the larger illusion Trump is trying to weave with his magical reality-bending powers — that the coronavirus has been so tamed by his stupendous leadership that it’s now safe to reopen the country, setting the stage for an equally spectacular Trump-marshaled comeback.”

Kevin Hassett, a senior economic adviser in the White House, told CBS News that it’s “scary to go to work” but that he’s doing it anyway because “it’s the time when people have to step up and serve their country.”

Sargent writes, “As heroic and self-sacrificing as Hassett’s efforts are supposed to be, the fact remains that he can go to work more safely than millions of Americans across the country can because he has access to the testing and tracing that they don’t. Yet he’s frightened anyway.”

That disparity between the amount of coronavirus testing available in the White House and the amount of coronavirus available to average workers, Sargent predicts, will haunt Trump and other Republicans in the weeks to come.

“Now that Trump and his own advisers are personally frightened of the coronavirus’ invasion of their workspace — and are trying to ward it off with the aggressive testing and tracing that Trump himself has assured us is ‘overrated’ — this has not just revealed a depraved double standard on his part,” Sargent writes. “It will also make the larger illusion he continues trying to weave a lot harder to sustain. Indeed, that illusion is quite literally collapsing all around him.”

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