Beware the Enemies Within

Creative Commons photo by Mike Licht

The fact President Donald Trump is not faring well among his critics is far from news these days.

Recently, he was the butt of a congressman’s jokes at a fundraising dinner and the target of criticism by a sitting senator and former president. Another senator has jeopardized his re-election bid because of his willingness to take on Trump.

The difference this time is that all these critics are Republicans.

Sure, former president Barack Obama is no fan of his successor, since he’s working day and night to up-end his predecessor’s policies.

Trump has tried to contain the threat directly by attacking McCain, and indirectly dispatching former strategist Steve Bannon to take on George W. Bush at a GOP convention in Disneyland’s backyard (whether Trump had knowledge of Bannon’s comment is unproven, but Trump’s disdain for the former president is nothing new).

Yet the attack from people within his own party signals a troubling development in a presidency unable to gain traction on key policy initiatives because poor policy roll-outs, an inability to cultivate key allies and a president more know for petty feuds than policy making.

Sure, Democrats would like to take back the House next year and impeach the president, but if Trump is guilty of actual “High Crimes and Misdemeanors”, then some might argue that Republicans, by doing nothing, are simply abrogating their responsibility to serve the people and the law over loyalty to the Grand Old Party.

The problem is sifting through the infantile attacks to find the ones that matter. No one should really care that Trump doesn’t have a pet, but everyone ought to be aware if Special Counsel Robert Mueller actually is closing in on evidence that would worthy of bringing to Congress for impeachment proceedings.

When people plumb the depth of the Bush’s and McCain’s critiques of Trump, you can see the these men who have nothing to lose (McCain’s brain cancer battle and Bush’s political retirement seems to have emboldened them), so they are either burning political bridges or speaking truth to power.

The likelihood is that, if voters refuse to support candidates afraid to take on what they perceive to be a corrupt and reckless president, the number of Republicans willing to endorse impeachment likely will grow.

The problem is that Trump’s been so focused on the enemies from the opposition party, he’s not tended to the ones in his own backyard.

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