Republicans in the Senate have found themselves in essentially a no-win position. They can vote against allowing John Bolton to testify in the Senate under oath, which would be overwhelmingly unpopular with the American public and could cost several of them their seats. Or they can vote to allow Bolton to testify, and face the wrath of the Trumpers they need to come out for them in November.
At this time, the GOP allows almost no room to defy Donald Trump’s wishes. Even worse for them, Bolton may end up either testifying before the House or simply revealing everything on television, since he clearly cares more about selling his book than he does about the fate of Trump and the Republicans who continue to prop him up.
Faced with a situation like this, it’s really no wonder that one by one, we’re seeing Senate Republicans circle the drain – from Martha McSally’s inane bullying of a reporter who asked her basic questions (which she then tried to use as a fundraising opportunity), to Joni Ernst’s open admission that the Ukraine extortion was just an attempt to erase Joe Biden’s popularity. Then on Wednesday, yet another Republican senator up for re-election decided to self-sabotage. Thom Tillis of North Carolina was pressed by Kevin Frey, a reporter from Spectrum News, on the contents of Bolton’s book – whether or not it contains the classified information the White House is claiming it does.
“I think it’s a hypothetical because I don’t know what he said,” Tillis responded. It’s probably safe to say the Republicans aren’t being coached on how to answer, because Frey quickly pointed out that Tillis and the Senate could find out if they just decided to subpoena Bolton. Tillis said that if Bolton had anything important to say, the House could have called him to testify, ignoring that they did that back in November. In trying to avoid the dilemma of voting to hear Bolton’s testimony, Tillis managed to explain exactly why the Senate should hear Bolton’s testimony. All that’s left for Republicans to do at this point is play dumb and hope it all blows over. It won’t.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making