We saw it again today, for the third time this week: a prominent Republican Senator bent over backward to publicly kiss up to Donald Trump in painfully forced fashion. None of them have the time of day for Trump anymore. Retiring Senator Bob Corker said last week that they all think he’s dangerously unstable, and none of them bothered to deny it. So what are these GOP leaders doing? They’re playing him, so they can get one last score out of him before showing him the door.
It started last Monday, when Republican Senator Lindsey Graham – who hates Donald Trump – decided to go golfing with him in what appeared to have been an impromptu event. Afterward, Graham went so far as to tweet that Trump had shot an impossibly good golf score that day. Why was Graham suddenly buttering him up? Then Republican Senator Rand Paul, who also hates Trump, also went golfing with him. Paul then also tweeted about how Trump had notched a great golf score that day. Then today, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stepped to the plate.
McConnell held a press conference with Trump in the White House Rose Garden this afternoon. McConnell hates Trump more than just about anyone in the Senate; the two have only recently communicated via profane shouting machines. Yet there was McConnell, suddenly claiming that he gets along with Trump fantastically. Why? The GOP Congress desperately needs one thing out of him before it can throw him overboard.
Thus far the Republican Congress has accomplished precisely zero that it can hang its hat on. It has nothing to campaign on in the 2018 midterms. The Republicans desperately need to pass the upcoming tax cut for the wealthy; it’ll please their wealthy donors and their delusional middle class conservative voters. Donald Trump is falling apart by the minute, but the GOP needs to prop him up just long enough to get the tax cut done before he’s toast. After that they’ll either shove him out the door or let Robert Mueller do it. They don’t want his dead weight on their shoulders heading into the midterms – but they need him for the moment.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report