Donald Trump’s Niger scandal is becoming more of a problem for him by the hour. The conversation has begun to shift from his poor handling of the aftermath of the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger, to the question of what he had the soldiers doing in Niger to begin with – and why he’s been so desperate to cover it up. Now House Republicans are strategically trying to protect Trump from his Niger scandal, but likely only for the moment.
One of the House Republicans has had an aide leak the claim that the Niger debacle was the result of a “massive intelligence failure” (link). What’s notable here is that the Congressman in question isn’t even willing to put his or her own name on the claim. That’s because this is a cowardly attempt at scapegoating the intel community for whatever hijinks Trump had going on in Niger – and because that Congressman won’t want to be associated with the claim later, when the real story comes out. So why the temporary bandaid?
The answer is simple enough: the Republican Congress is still trying to keep Trump propped up until it can finish passing tax cuts for the wealthy. The Republican Party has failed in nearly every other aspect of its agenda for this congressional term, and as Trump continues to unravel in calamitously scandalous fashion, that agenda is about to go in the trash can entirely. The GOP desperately wants to ram through those tax cuts before the entire thing goes off the rails, so it can make its wealthy donors happy, and fool its gullible working class voters into believing that tax cuts for the rich are going to benefit them.
Once the tax cuts for the wealthy are passed into law (or end up failing), the GOP will no longer have any reason to keep propping up Donald Trump. At that point the GOP Congress won’t be willing cover for Trump in his Niger scandal, for fear that doing so might turn Niger into a Republican Party scandal.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report