At one level, Trump’s performance (“shameful,” “disgusting,” “treasonous”) with Putin yesterday on the Helsinki stage contained nothing he has not shown before.
But at another level — with the visible dynamics between the Russian autocrat and the presumed “President of the United States,” and in the wake of the wreckage Trump inflicted on America’s ties with its traditional friends during this European trip — Trump exposed himself as never before.
Trump’s performance has made more inescapable how monstrous and dangerous it is that this man is the American commander-in-chief. And so it is possible that this moment has brought us to a tipping point.
Any Democrat now facing a Republican opponent — especially (but not only) for national office — should make the most of the opportunity presented by this moment. Thomas Friedman, in the column Thomas Friedman published yesterday in the New York Times, offers one way of seizing that opportunity.
Here’s the relevant passage from Friedman’s column, “Trump and Putin vs. America.”
My fellow Americans, we are in trouble and we have some big decisions to make today. This was a historic moment in the entire history of the United States.
There is overwhelming evidence that our president, for the first time in our history, is deliberately or through gross negligence or because of his own twisted personality engaged in treasonous behavior — behavior that violates his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Trump vacated that oath today, and Republicans can no longer run and hide from that fact. Every single Republican lawmaker will be — and should be — asked on the election trail: Are you with Trump and Putin or are you with the C.I.A., F.B.I. and N.S.A.? (Emphasis added.)
The Republican Party has become the Trump Party. Part of that is because so much of the Republican base has supported this atrocity of a President, and the Republicans have put maintaining good standing with their base ahead of honoring their oath of office.
But at this moment, as can be inferred from the way even Fox News found fault with Trump yesterday, that cowardly “safe” political course has become less safe.
Every Republican should be compelled to choose between loyalty to Trump and loyalty to America. Trumpites or patriots– they can’t be both.
Either way they choose, they will pay a political price. Trump’s performance could provide the means of breaking the Republican Party apart.
(It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.)
The bill for the Republican complicity with this President is coming due. Democratic candidates can help build the necessary Blue Wave by making Republicans pay the bill now.