Littwin: You have to wonder if this is the last time the House will sit in judgment of Trump

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the members of the media as she makes her way to the House chamber to vote on a resolution denouncing comments by President Trump targeting four progressive Democratic congresswomen of color on July 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. The resolution passed 240-187, with Republicans Will Hurd (R-TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Fred Upton (R-MI) Susan Brooks (R-IN) and independent Justin Amash (I-MI) joining Democrats. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the members of the media as she makes her way to the House chamber to vote on a resolution denouncing comments by President Trump targeting four progressive Democratic congresswomen of color on July 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. The resolution passed 240-187, with Republicans Will Hurd (R-TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Fred Upton (R-MI) Susan Brooks (R-IN) and independent Justin Amash (I-MI) joining Democrats. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

The one thing we don’t need to debate in America is whether Donald Trump is a racist. He makes racist statements. He makes racist policy. He tweets racist tweets. He dog-whistles racist dog whistles. If dog whistling doesn’t quite get the job done, he tweets that four lefty congresswomen of color should go back to whatever — paraphrasing here — shithole country they came from, knowing or not knowing, it’s hard to know which, that three of the targeted women were born in America and the other arrived as a child refugee. 

None of this is new. Trump began his presidency by trying to ban all visitors and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries. His journey to the presidency began by becoming the nation’s most prominent birther. Back in the day, he called for the Central Park Five to be executed. Upon their exoneration, he still believes they’re guilty.

Why does he believe they’re guilty? Ask yourself what a racist is. Try to come up with a way to explain why Trump doesn’t qualify. Remember Paul Ryan’s “textbook definition of racism” quote? Trump has written a new textbook. The Atlantic published an “oral history” of Trumpist racism, which could serve as a foreword to that book.

That’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is the GOP enablers who stand silent — most Republican lawmakers — or even defend him. They’re silenced out of fear of those who make up the Trump base, few of whom, let’s say, fit the long-past ideal of the Party of Lincoln. Or they’re silenced out of fear of Trump himself, who, as we know, holds a grudge.

As the House prepared to vote to condemn Trump’s racist tweets, Trump was tweeting that the Squad — as progressive Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are called — were “anti-USA” and “pro-terror,” also vile and disgusting for good measure. They’re not anti-American; they’re anti-Trump, which, to Trump, is much the same thing.

Meanwhile, on the House floor, where they were debating the bill, Republicans halted discussion to hold a vote as to whether Nancy Pelosi could describe Trump’s racist tweets as “racist” because that wouldn’t be, well, civil. It was an extraordinary moment in House history. And let’s just say it got a lot less civil after that. The word “shithole” would later be heard on the House floor. The chair was briefly abandoned. Pelosi won because who would argue civility in defending Donald Trump?

It’s likely that Trump decided to demonize the Squad because they had been feuding with Pelosi. But he inadvertently helped Dems to make up — Pelosi called them “our sisters” — while four Republicans and one independent — that would be Justin Amash, who just quit the party — voted along with every Democrat to condemn the tweets. One of the Republicans is retiring. The others are in swing districts. Trump would be fine watching them lose, of course. We remember his snide public farewell to sometimes-critic Mike Coffman after the midterms.

And so that’s why it took Cory Gardner, who is up for re-election next year, three days to figure out what to say about a president he has already endorsed for re-election — a president who lost Colorado by five points in 2016 and who, according to the polls, is even less popular in the state today.

Finally, Gardner told KOA NewsRadio: “I disagree with the president. I wouldn’t have sent those tweets. I think he shouldn’t have done it …I think we have to focus on things like bringing this country together and moving this country forward. Highlight disagreements, highlight the fact that we have better ideas – or you have better ideas – but I wouldn’t have sent that tweet. I just disagree with it.”

What he didn’t say was that the tweets were racist or un-American or that no president in our lifetime would have said anything like that or that George Wallace would have been proud.

And yet, when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked whether Trump’s tweets were racist, he denied it. He said the go-back-where-you-came-from tweets were about “ideology,” saying, “This is about freedom vs. socialism.” He said it with a straight face.

Bill Kristol, the conservative never-Trumper, tweeted in reply. “‘This is about freedom vs. socialism.’ LOL. By the way, has Trump ever told Bernie Sanders—an actual socialist running for his job—to go back where he came from?”

Sanders would be — double-checking to be sure — white. As Pelosi said on the subject of Trump and racism, his Make America Great Again slogan actually means: Make America White Again, a charge which Trump called racist. That’s straight out of the Trump playbook — calling someone racist for calling you out for being a racist.

Mitch McConnell, who also says Trump is not a racist, took days before embracing both-sidesism, saying that we all need to turn down the rhetoric. No, we don’t. We need to call Trump out again and again. McConnell was asked whether he’d think it racist if someone demanded that his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, go home to her own country. He dodged the question, twice, because what else could he do — tell the truth?

We need to call out Trump repeatedly because we need to be sure what 2020 is about. Let me quote George Will — yes, George Will — on how two-plus years of Trump have already undermined so much of democracy as we understand it in America.

In a New York Times Book Review podcast, Will said, “I believe that what this president has done to our culture, to our civic discourse … you cannot unring these bells and you cannot unsay what he has said, and you cannot change that he has now in a very short time made it seem normal for schoolboy taunts and obvious lies to be spun out in a constant stream. I think this will do more lasting damage than Richard Nixon’s surreptitious burglaries did.”

Worse than Nixon? Absolutely. Can’t unring the bell? God help us.

Did anyone else get the sense that, as impeachment talk among Democrats grows ever more fevered, that it wouldn’t be surprising — I’ll cite the Bard here — if what just passed was prologue?

If Trump hadn’t sent his tweets and doubled down on them and tripled down on them, we would be discussing the Trumpian cruelty at the border, the people locked in cages, the children who have been traumatized, all to show toughness to his base (no toothbrushes for those whiny kids) and to scare away would-be refugees who look to America as a beacon.

The photo of Mike Pence at the border facility — seemingly unbothered by the stench or by the notion that in America we can’t find a bed for those we lock in cages — seemed to undercut any beacon-like qualities. The photo of the father and his toddler lying face down in the Rio Grande, the little girl’s head tucked in her father’s shirt, her arm holding onto his neck, made the same point. Sure, life may be tough in your violence-torn country, but that’s your problem — not ours.

I don’t know how Americans will respond to Trump’s latest adventure in dividing the country or by the House vote to condemn it, but I do have an idea that we will be defined as a country by the response. In 2016, Trump became president running a racist, Mexicans-are-rapists, Muslims-cheered-9/11 campaign. He seems intent on trying the same tactic.

My guess is that something like 43% of the country will approve whatever Trump does, something like 53% won’t, schoolboy taunts will continue, lies will still be the coin of the realm, bells will not be unrung and somehow the coming election will remain a tossup.

27 COMMENTS

  1. I would venture to guess that no one knew just how fragile our democracy, civility, our cohesion as a country was until Trump and the Russians stole the last Presidential election. I would also venture that no one could anticipate how many persons he could appoint who would gladly assist (relish) the destruction of the Constitution, rules of ethics and morality embodied in our governmental processes, and willfully participate in undermining all we thought we were part of and for which we stood. However, the greater shock, for me, is that I am having to stand here and watch a Democratic leadership wring their hands, dither, and do little more than send ‘strongly worded memos ‘ as a response to the degradation continues.
    My undergraduate college professor and mentor, Dr. Jerzy Hauptmann was a young Lt. in the Polish Army and survived 42 days in Warsaw before being captured and spending the rest of the war in a prison camp, he was an arch Republican of the old European school and I know for a fact that he would weep for the country to which he came, became a citizen, and taught for over 35 years. I am glad he did not survive to see the shadows and mists of a repeat of what he fought against rise again and this time, this time, in his America.

  2. It’s time to start putting Conservatives in one of two camps.

    One group is complicit in the dishonesty, misogyny, bigotry, etc,etc…and will be treated as such by history.

    The other will rebuild the Republican party.

  3. The second group that Jay mentioned is, sadly, much, much smaller than the first group. That Trump has done such a remarkable job in drawing out the first group from the shadows and woodwork into the light is a horrifying illustration of just how far removed this society is from being “post-racist,” “post-history,” “post-sexist” and “post-misogynist.” The most depressing part of Trump’s term, for me at least, is that he has shown just how many Americans are thoughtless racists and misogynists. Hillary’s characterization of Trump supporters as “…a basket of deplorables” was politically tone-deaf, and (I hope) doesn’t apply to each and every one of them, but it applies to far too many. I am ashamed. Trump and his sycophants and supporters are apparently not capable of shame.

  4. Thank you Mike for speaking truth to power. My only question remains WTH do Republicans think is worth supporting!? And how does anyone justify supporting this travesty of a government of the United States of America. Trump and seemingly the entire Republican Party seem determined to destroy our country.

    • Mr. Littwin saved his best for last when he ended his column with this, “the coming election will remain a tossup.”

      Mr. Littwin very honestly and candidly admitted, “I don’t know how Americans will respond to (President) Trump’s latest adventure in dividing the country” but Mr. Littwin’s statement/prediction/wish, “that we will be defined as a country by the response (to President Trump’s tweets)”, may seem a little over-the-top but pales in comparison to this fear-mongering he wrote in February, 2017, “You can blame the Russians or Wikileaks or James Comey or you can blame the Electoral College. It doesn’t matter. What does matter, and what I’m arguing, is that Trump’s presidency is a danger to the country and to the world and that to pretend otherwise is to be a part of that danger.”

      Now that’s high-octane hysteria!

      And while George Will—-yes, George Will—-and Mr. Littwin may appear to share a simpatico relationship their BFF status is a day-to-day, issue-by-issue proposition. For example, Mr. Will believes Colorado’s own Democrat Senator Michael Bennet is the man to beat President Trump. Does Mr. Littwin agree? You decide.

      Here is Mr. Will, “Bennet is too serious a person to be content in today’s Senate, and if Democrats are as serious as they say they are about defeating (President) Donald Trump, Bennet should be their nominee.”

      And here is Mr. Littwin: “But for Michael Bennet……coming off prostate cancer surgery, with 20 Dems already in the field — many of them qualified, one from his own state — Bennett announced he was running, too. In adding one more Dem, the earth did not move. Much of the earth didn’t even take notice.”

      And while Mr. Littwin has not been shy about expressing his cynicism about the Democrat clown caravan of potential Democrat presidential nominees his skepticism doesn’t approach Mr. Will’s disdain: “And (Senator Harris) bumblings illustrate how many of the Democratic presidential aspirants, snug in their intellectual silos, have lost — if they ever had — an aptitude for talking like, and to, normal Americans.”

      Ouch!

      Mr. Littwin did generously promote Mr. Will’s new book “The Conservative Sensibility” but considering the amount of content Mr. Will has added, and will continue to add, to Mr. Littwin’s column it’s the least he could do.

      Here is another quote from Mr. Will’s book that Mr. Littwin is unlikely to use. In fact, the over/under is 1 on the number of times Mr. Littwin will use any portion of this quote. I’m betting under.

      “…..both (Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama) spoke in order to advance the progressive project of diluting the concept of individualism. Dilution is a prerequisite for advancement of a collectivist political agenda. The more that individualism can be portrayed as a chimera, the more that any individual’s achievements can be considered as derivative from society, the less the achievements warrant respect. And the more society is entitled to conscript — that is, to socialize — whatever portion of the individual’s wealth that it considers its fair share. Society may, as an optional act of political grace, allow the individual to keep the remainder of what society thinks is misleadingly called the individual’s possession. Note that “society” necessarily means society’s collective expression: the government. Note also that government will not be a disinterested judge of what is its proper share of others’ wealth. This collectivist agenda is antithetical to America’s premise, which is: Government — including such public goods as roads, schools and police — is instituted to facilitate individual striving, a.k.a. the pursuit of happiness.”

  5. So you agree that Donald Trump is the duly, legally and Constitutionally elected 45th President of the United States.

    See that wasn’t that hard.

    Congratulations and welcome to the 21st century.

    • pretty sure he doesn’t . “Any Blue will do “, Russia-gating, hysterical Trump hating, Democratic party cool-aid drinking statists are pretty easy to spot . They’re not ” strawmen,” they’re half the Dem party.
      Did you ever stop, for one second, and wonder how a piece of garbage like Trump ONLY lost Colorado by 5 points? Stop to wonder how utterly repulsive the Democratic party has become for people to even consider voting for him?
      Probably not, your comfort zone is easier to stay in when there is one easy target to pin all the blame on.
      Here’s your “defeat Trump at all costs” party Jay, suck it up
      politico
      “House Democrats (led by Pelosi and Hoyer) overwhelmingly joined Republicans on Wednesday to defeat an attempt to impeach President Donald Trump. Only 58 Democrats supported the bid to consider impeachment over the objections of House Democratic leaders, who viewed the measure as a distraction in a Republican-controlled Congress.?”

      Kicking this monster out of office is a “distraction”, LOL. Fully funding the war machine, that’s a priority. These are the people your are looking to to ” Fix America” ? Better take another sip of that Cool aid.

      • Yeah not so much. Maybe less whining next time someone calls out somebody for using an intellectually dishonest strawman argument.

        But hey at least you’re not hiding behind false equivalency.

    • Jay,

      In your fuzzy confused little head how do you define “duly elected”.

      Wait, never mind, you already did that on August 23, 2018 at 2:11 pm (link below):

      “Duly Elected
      elected in the way that is correct or expected according to the law or rules
      Synonyms
      appropriately, congruously, correctly, fittingly, happily, meetly, properly, right, rightly, suitably”

      In addition to defining “duly elected” you were thoughtful enough to provide synonyms so not only was President Trump duly elected, President Trump was happily elected. Thanks!

      You can’t hide like a 5trh grader forever although you continue to try.

      Is your last name McCormick?

      https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2018/08/22/littwin-trump-cohen-manafort-gardner-impeachment-conspirator/
      **************************
      “At this point, (President)Trump has won a huge political victory — there’s really no argument there — and Democrats and other anti-Trumpists who thought (the Mueller Report) would somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and then removal from office have to re-examine all their premises.”

      No conspiracy
      No collusion
      No impeachment

      • Sure seems like you’re still obsessing over the fact that Trump lost the vote.

        Don’t feel guilty…I’d be ashamed of it too if I were a supporter.

        • And you’re still obsessing over the fact that President Trump was, by your definition, not only duly elected but happily elected.

          Your own words used against you. Poor baby!!!!!!:

          “Duly Elected
          elected in the way that is correct or expected according to the law or rules

          Synonyms
          appropriately, congruously, correctly, fittingly, happily, meetly, properly, right, rightly, suitably”
          In addition to defining “duly elected” you were thoughtful enough to provide synonyms so not only was President Trump duly elected, President Trump was happily elected. Thanks!
          You can’t hide like a 5trh grader forever although you continue to try.
          Is your last name McCormick?
          https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2018/08/22/littwin-trump-cohen-manafort-gardner-impeachment-conspirator/
          **************************
          “At this point, (President)Trump has won a huge political victory — there’s really no argument there — and Democrats and other anti-Trumpists who thought (the Mueller Report) would somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and then removal from office have to re-examine all their premises.”
          No conspiracy
          No collusion
          No impeachment

          • Why do you lie so much? Is that what drew you to Comrade Chump in the first place?

            Or was it the racism?

        • “At this point, (President)Trump has won a huge political victory — there’s really no argument there — and Democrats and other anti-Trumpists who thought (the Mueller Report) would somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and then removal from office have to re-examine all their premises.”

          No conspiracy
          No collusion
          No impeachment

  6. No i thought it added a nice touch too, pretentious ain’t it? Got it the same place Mike’s buddy Ward got his.

  7. I had, what I thought was an eloquent appeal for saving our country for both parties. But I realized in time that no one gives a shit about facts anymore. No one will see anyone else’s point of view and no one will change their mind. If this keeps up, there will be only two tribes and one path, civil war.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.