Although Donald Trump and surrogates like to tout fictitious Donald Trump triumphs, the fact remains that as of yesterday, Donald Trump has not been unable to deliver any substantial legislative promises. Trump promised his voters a “magnificent wall” on the U.S.-México border, the repeal of Obamacare and tax reform as his major signature items. Ten months into his presidency, Trump has yet to deliver on these promises. The Wall is mired in budgetary entanglements, the repeal of Obamacare has failed twice and is unlikely to be taken up by congress this year, and tax reform is meeting some resistance. Trump, a Republican, hasn’t been able to garner enough support from the Republican-controlled Congress for his signature items.
It really isn’t a surprise that the Republicans aren’t flocking to Trump’s agenda because the party membership does not consider Donald Trump a true Republican. The fact is that Trump was elected on the Republican ticket, but that is after he had been a Democrat and then an Independent. Trump is seen by the Republican establishment as a Republican in name only. But because of party politics, they are unwilling to publicly acknowledge it.
But Donald Trump has made life unbearable for the Republican establishment to remain on the sidelines. Steve Bannon’s war on the Republican establishment has made it even more difficult for the Republicans to remain on the sidelines as well. However, the party politics is forcing the Republicans to toe a fine line between calling Trump out and playing along with the politics. This necessity has forced the Republicans into a Republican civil war of words, on one side, Republicans are tacitly staying quiet on the sidelines, while those not seeking elections are being tasked with vocalizing what the Republican establishment has been privately grumbling about for sometime now.
Bob Corker and Jeff Flake are the first volley in what is sure to escalate into a full-blown war of words between the Republican establishment and Donald Trump. To understand how the civil war will playout, one only needs to look at two things about the Corker and Flake first volleys. Both will not stand for reelection allowing them to voice the Republican’s angst against Trump while giving the Republican party wiggle room to mend fences with Trump, if necessary. It allows them to play both sides.
But make no mistake, Bob Corker and Jeff Flakes are speaking for the Republican establishment when they go after Trump.
Look closely at the messages being delivered by Corker and Flake to both Trump and the voters.
Bob Corker said the following during a CNN interview earlier this week regarding Corker’s war with Trump.
“The shame of it is, there are some really good people around him, and if he would stay out of their way and let them perform…we could really make progress on things that matter greatly to our country.”
This is a clear message telling Trump to get out of the way.
But the crux of the problem for the Republicans is that they have figured out that they aren’t dealing with an honorable individual, rather they are dealing with a serial liar. Consider these two additional statements by Corker:
“I would hope the staff over there would figure out ways of controlling him when they know that everything he said today was absolutely untrue”
“The President has great difficulty with the truth. On many issues.”
Corker then delivered the Republican message of we’ve tried working with Trump, but it has been impossible. In Corker’s words; “I think that he’s proven himself unable to rise to the occasion … I don’t think that that’s possible. He’s obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president.”
Corker then delivered the Republican fear driving them towards a civil war against their banner bearer, Trump; “when his term is over, I think the debasing of our nation, the constant non-truth telling, and the name calling, the things that I think, the debasement of our nation is what we will be remembered most important, and that’s regretful.”
The Republicans now understand that Trump is defining them before the voters and they do not like what that means.
Now add to this context, what Jeff Flake said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Flake said, “our complicity,” clearly delineating that the Republican establishment now understands that they will be judged by Trump’s actions by the voters.
Jeff Flake then brings back the nexus driving the civil war, the inability for Trump to act honorably. Consider these phrases used by Flake, “the flagrant disregard for truth or decency,” “we know better” and “our worst impulses.”
The message is clear, the Republicans are on the verge if a civil war between the Republican establishment and Donald Trump.