How Washington’s ‘supplicant super-careerists’ became ‘essential lapdogs in Trump’s kennel’: journalist
When Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona famously told President Richard Nixon, during the Watergate scandal in 1974, that he could not count on his support, it was obvious that he prioritized country over party — and Goldwater was by no means the only conservative Republican who felt that way. Nixon, realizing that both Republicans and Democrats were likely to remove him from office if an impeachment trial were held in the U.S. Senate, resigned; Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as president on August 9, 1974.
But much has changed in the Republican Party since 1974. Even after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, countless Republicans remain loyal to former President Donald Trump — including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. And journalist Mark Leibovich slams them as examples of pathetic careerists in a scathing article published by The Atlantic on July 7.
The article’s headline is not subtle: “The Most Pathetic Men in America,” and Leibovich makes no effort to hide his disdain for Trump’s army of enablers in the Republican Party.
\u201c"They had long been among the most supplicant super-careerists ever to play in a city known for the breed, and proved themselves to be essential lapdogs in Trump\u2019s kennel." -- @MarkLeibovich:\nhttps://t.co/ln0kw2bLig\u201d— Jeffrey Goldberg (@Jeffrey Goldberg) 1657209170
Leibovich recalls seeing Graham and McCarthy in public places in Washington, D.C. during Trump’s presidency, noting, “I would sometimes see them around the lobby or steakhouse or function rooms, skipping from table to table and getting thanked for all the wonderful things they were doing to help our president. They had long been among the most supplicant super-careerists ever to play in a city known for the breed, and proved themselves to be essential lapdogs in Trump’s kennel.”
The journalist adds, “McCarthy is a good bet to become the next speaker of the House in the likely event that Republicans win a majority in November. Graham remains perhaps Trump’s closest collaborator in the Senate, a frequent golf partner and nuanced handler of the presidential ego.”
Leibovich slams Graham and McCarthy as examples of “the slavishly devoted Republicans whom Trump drew to his side,” stressing that they were hardly alone in that regard.
“It’s been said before, but can never be emphasized enough: Without the complicity of the Republican Party, Donald Trump would be just a glorified geriatric Fox-watching golfer,” Leibovich writes. “I’ve interviewed scores of these collaborators, trying to understand why they did what they did and how they could live with it. These were the McCarthys and the Grahams and all the other busy parasitic suck-ups who made the Trump era work for them, who humored and indulged him all the way down to the last, exhausted strains of American democracy.”
Leibovich applauds the “handful of brave Republicans” who have been “willing to speak the truth about Trump in public,” including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. But he laments that they are the exception rather than the rule and predicts that Trump will have no shortage of sycophants if he runs for president in 2024.
“McCarthy will not be winning any Profile in Courage Award anytime soon,” Leibovich writes. “In fairness, that could make him a good fit for the cowardly caucus he is so eager to lead. Soon enough, 2024 will not be a long way away, and Trump is well-positioned to claim his third consecutive Republican presidential nomination. Again, Trump will do as he pleases and take what he can take. Because really, who’s going to stop him?”
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