Things are always worse at a Republican White House than Presidential aides and their sycophantic allies on the Hill are ever willing to admit publicly. Towards the end of his Administration, Nixon was reduced to lunacy, roaming the halls of the White House and talking to portraits on the wall, but that startling revelation didn’t come out until two years later, courtesy of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, in their book The Final Days.
After Ronald Reagan was shot and hospitalized in 1981, his aides pushed the narrative that the 70-year-old President was making a remarkable recovery – better than a much younger man could hope to accomplish. Later, the truth came out that he had been near death.
And so it is with the latest Republican President, Donald Trump. As bad as we knew his behavior was throughout his Presidency — and as increasingly treacherous as it publicly manifested after he lost the election but refused to accept that result — behind the scenes, Trump and his minions were even more deranged and diabolical than previously documented.
A few months ago, we learned of Trump’s repeated and persistent efforts to strong-arm the Department of Justice into claiming falsely that the election was “corrupt,” so that Trump and his allies on the Hill could use that declaration as a basis to overturn the election.
Now, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their book Peril, reveal that the notorious lies Trump’s lawyers were spreading about the 2020 election were examined by Senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee — who found them to be utter nonsense. Graham even likened a briefing paper prepared by Rudy Giuliani as being comparable to a third-grader’s.
Consistent with his findings, on January 6th, Graham did vote against the challenges to Arizona and Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. He spoke forcefully against the notion that there was a basis to change the outcome of the election. However, Graham did not publicly challenge Donald Trump and the role Trump played in advancing the claims that Graham knew to be bogus. He did not condemn Trump for persistently propounding falsehoods in order to cast doubt on the election results and erode confidence in our government.
As more and more Trump allies cash in with their own tell-all books, or serve as sources for others’ books, disturbing new details of how dreadful Trump was will surely be revealed. What isn’t likely to be revealed is why, when the country needed to know the truth of the depths of Trump’s depravity, they chose to remain silent – or worse, declared that the nation needed Trump’s “leadership,” all the while knowing that he was totally unfit to hold office.
Not too long ago, Graham proclaimed that the Republican Party can’t move forward without Trump, that it can’t grow without him. That is a far cry from publicly stating that Trump is a dangerous and seriously deranged individual who has no business leading a major political party, much less contending for the Presidency. Yet Graham must know this is true, based on Trump’s embrace of delusional conspiracy theories and his desperate attempts to thwart the peaceful transfer of power.
Of course, in 2016, Graham famously declared “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed … and we will deserve it.” So maybe now Graham is simply acknowledging the flip side, that the GOP has no future without Trump. Taken together, these statements from Graham indicate that the Republican Party has no future, with or without Donald Trump. May it be so.