Yesterday Donald Trump suffered two different kinds of bodyblows in the same day. One blow made clear his guilt is going to be fully exposed and brought to account. The other blow made clear just how ugly things are going to get for any Republicans who are seen as standing too close to Trump when he implodes.
When Gordon Sondland decided to revise his testimony and confess to the crimes that he was committing at Donald Trump’s instruction, the floodgates against Trump were kicked open. We’ll now see plenty more witnesses decide that their best bet at avoiding prison is to come clean now while they still can, in the hope of future leniency once Trump has been finished off. But the truly ugly part for the Republican Party yesterday was when Trump’s embrace of Republican Governor Matt Bevin helped cost Bevin his seat in the deeply red state of Kentucky.
Republican Senators just got a look at their own possible fates if they decide to acquit Donald Trump once his impeachment reaches trial. Sure, compromised stooges like Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul may be willing to go down with the Trump ship, thanks to whatever he’s personally holding over their heads. But career-minded Senate Republicans have got to be looking at Matt Bevin’s shocking ouster last night and wondering if that’s going to be their fate as well.
Even Mitch McConnell now has to be seriously worried about losing his own Senate seat in 2020. After all, McConnell has to run for reelection in the same state where Donald Trump just helped cause Matt Bevin to lose. Senate Republicans now have to start making difficult calculations about whether their own personal career prospects are better off if they stand with Trump, or oust Trump. They’ll instinctively want to stick with Trump if they can, but at this point everything is adding up to make it just about impossible for many of these Republicans to get reelected unless they decide to kick Trump off a cliff.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report