Author:Lueders, Bill

When news broke that Donald Trump had decided to hold the 2020 G7 summit at one of his Florida resorts, meaning payments from foreign visitors would go to his private benefit, even some Republicans long accustomed to the President's casual lawlessness reacted with alarm, ultimately forcing him into a rare retreat. But U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, thought Trumps plan was praiseworthy.

"It may seem careless politically," he allowed, "but on the other hand, there's tremendous integrity in his boldness and his transparency."

Wow. That's taking brown-nosing to a whole new level. If Trump followed through on his musings about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, Cramer would no doubt laud him for not trying to hide his murderous instincts, as a common criminal might. (One of Trump's personal lawyers actually argued in court that the President could not be arrested or even investigated should he in fact commit a Fifth Avenue murder.)

Similiarly, when Trump likened the impeachment proceedings against him to "a lynching," much of the nation was taken aback. Could he really be so callous and ignorant as to use such an analogy, given the horrific role of lynching in our nation's past?

Not only could but should, opined U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. "This is a lynching, in every sense," Graham asserted. "This is un-American." He said lynching involves people "who are out to get somebody for no good reason" and who take "the law in their own hands."

Actually, lynching involves extra-judicial mob killing--often involving hanging people by their necks until they die--which between 1882 and 1968 happened at least 4,743 times, mostly to people of African descent. But Graham, who once correctly identified Trump as "a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot," has become a shameless, groveling apologist for the President, like much of his party.

That's one of the truly tragic things about Donald Trump--how he diminishes the people around him, by bringing them down to his tawdry level. Some Republicans, including Senators Cramer and Graham, will likely never rise from the muck, although Graham did briefly rouse from his moral coma to dissent from Trump's sudden and reckless decision to invite slaughter on the Kurds in Syria, to the delight of the despots the President kowtows to in Turkey and Russia.

Congressional Republicans keep lowering the bar for Trump, in terms of what constitutes acceptable...

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