No group has been as blindly loyal to President Trump as Christian conservatives. They have not let religion or values get in the way of their support. Consider the “Access Hollywood” tape, the attack on a Gold Star family, a mass of inexplicable ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials (and the president’s open invitation to Russia to continue hacking), the firing of the FBI director, the humiliation of evangelical-favorite Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the politicization of the Boy Scouts, the threats to the special counsel and an interview with Trump’s out-of-control, potty-mouthed — and now fired — communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.
What about Trump, exactly, reflects their values? (Taking Medicaid away from millions and separating families to deport law-abiding immigrants?) The Trump administration is a clown show — but it’s the evangelicals who supplied the tent, the red noses, and the floppy shoes. Each day presents a new insult to the office of the presidency and a repudiation of civilized behavior.
The Washington Post reported last week:
“In an interview with the New Yorker … Scaramucci called [White House Chief of Staff Reince] Priebus a “[f---ing] paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”
The New Yorker interview gave voice to the profane intensity of the warring West Wing factions that has defined much of Trump’s early administration — but the level of candor and raging frustration Scaramucci expressed yet again stunned a Washington political class that has become increasingly inured to the unorthodoxy of this White House.
Meanwhile, the president’s own conduct is so badly out of control that Republicans are finally trying to take efforts to childproof the Justice Department. The Post reports that Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, “made clear that he would not consider holding confirmation hearings for a replacement any time this year. That would leave the Justice Department in the hands of Rod J. Rosenstein, the career prosecutor who is now deputy attorney general and someone who also has earned Trump’s disrespect for having appointed [special counsel Robert ] Mueller.”
This is the very first time — outside the ponderous Senate Intelligence Committee investigation — that Republicans have taken any formal step to rein in Trump on the Russia affair. (It came on the same day the Senate sent him a Russia sanctions bill, in essence daring him to veto it.)
Cumulatively — let’s not forget the erratic, impulsive declaration that he was throwing transgender military personnel out of the armed services — it is not clear whether Trump has reached a tipping point when Republicans decide he actually has to leave office. Yet if Trump nevertheless proceeds to fire Sessions and then order Justice Department officials to fire Mueller (or fire them if they won’t), Republicans will have no remedy at their disposal other than impeachment; they may very well choose not to use it, but then we have the makings of a constitutional crisis on our hands.
And the religious right, which intones “Judge Gorsuch, Judge Gorsuch!” when confronted with the series of Trump abominations, should do some soul-searching. Was this trashing of the White House, assault on civil language and conduct and contempt for the Constitution (the one the religious right thinks is so important that the new Supreme Court justice must protect it) worth it? And if it gets worse, is there any point at which the religious might put country above tribe, morality above partisanship?
No, I don’t think it will do so, ever.
Jennifer Rubin is a Washington Post columnist.
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