The near-silence of Donald Trump supporter Rep. Dave Brat (VA-7) on this week’s fiascos in the GOP is telling. Brat is famous for having ousted House Speaker Eric Cantor in 2014 by coming at him from the right. The support Brat received then from Steve Bannon of Breitbart and Dave Bossie of Citizens United, now the leaders of Trump’s national
campaign, was crucial to his victory and is detailed in
this article. Brat has since earned the reputation for being one of the most obstructionist and extreme members of Congress. He has high unfavorable ratings in the 7th District because he has accomplished nothing during his term in office; the conservative blog Bearing Drift has a revealing piece on Brat that shows how little respect he has among more moderate conservatives.
Brat did issue a statement on his Facebook page about the Trump tapes some days after they came out, but only about ten words were given over to criticizing Trump, and those were limited to the crudity of Trump’s language; he said not a word about the crimes the GOP nominee gleefully acknowledged having committed. Brat’s statement is not only too little, too late, it’s also hypocritical. After the initial ten words, Brat launches into a ramble about the importance of keeping speech elevated, yet at a Trump GOTV rally he held recently with way-crazy Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN) (for more on her, go here), he defends Trump, and gets a laugh from the crowd when he acknowledges Trump’s “creative language” (starting at about 7:56 minutes here). That is a fine way for a self-styled moralist to refer to Trump’s vitriol.
“The Republican Party is imploding nationally and Corey Stewart is leading the destruction here in Virginia.” (Susan Swecker, Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia)
Then came another earthquake: The firing of fiery Corey Stewart, co-chair of Trump’s
Virginia operation and ardent Trump loyalist, because Stewart had led a group of Trump supporters in a protest at the RNC over their recent treatment of Trump. Who did the firing? Brat’s old friend from 2014, Dave Bossie.
There was absolutely no word from Brat on Stewart’s firing. You’d think that one of the leading Republicans in the state would say something, right? But no. Dead silence. Wonder why….
Well, poor ole’ Dave Brat is in a bind. He’s trying to steer a course between Scylla and Charybdis – and he ain’t no Odysseus. But to be fair, even Odysseus couldn’t figure out how to navigate the roiling waters between the many-headed Scylla that is Brat’s Tea Party base, and the yawning maw of the Charybdis sinkhole that are Trump’s poll numbers. On the Scylla side are some die-hard Trumpers, some folks wavering now in their support of Trump because of their disgust at the tapes, and others angered at Trump for his firing of Stewart (see this Bearing Drift article with comments). And then there’s the sucking sound produced by Charybdis, as moderate Republicans come to grips with the character of the man who is their party’s nominee. Brat needs ardent support from all of these groups in order to win in the re-drawn 7th Congressional District (now more favorable to Democrats). He’s not going to get it and he knows it and he’s running scared. No wonder he looked so sweaty when a reporter asked for his comment on the Trump tapes. Yes, it is the wurst possible pickle for The Brat. How can he satisfy his now-divided Tea Party base AND appeal to centrist Republicans all at the same time?
To quote Susan Swecker again from the same press release: “Donald Trump is a disgrace and those who stand by him and defend him will be paying the price for years to come, not just with women, but within their own party.”
Democrats are fortunate to have a strong progressive candidate in Eileen Bedell. She’s been running an aggressive campaign against Brat and doing great on the hustings. She appeared at a candidates’ forum at which Brat didn’t appear, though he used to lambaste Cantor for the very same thing. Now a new invitation to debate has been issued; Eileen has accepted – will Brat?
Eileen needs and deserves our support in order to flip this seat. We’ve got the opportunity to rid Congress of one of its most obstructionist and extreme members and to elect the first woman to represent VA-7. To learn more about Eileen, go HERE. To donate to her campaign click HERE. And to pitch in personally to help get her across the finish line, click HERE.