Is There Just One Trump, Or A Houseful of Them?

We’ve all heard the prevailing narrative about the relationship between President Donald Trump and his staunchest allies in Congress.

The reason they’ve blindly supported Trump’s every action, utterance, and tweet (or blithely shrugged off the more outrageous of these) is that they were petrified to cross Trump’s “base” and thus trigger a primary challenge from someone even more Trumpian in their next election. So it’s not that they were Trump’s soul brothers and sisters, just fallible human beings trying to protect their careers. Not very admirable, perhaps, but arguably understandable.

Yet what if that’s wrong, or at least not totally accurate? What if Trump’s enablers supported him not out of fear, but because they saw in him a mirror image of themselves?

This is an important question, because it challenges the notion that getting Trump out of office will solve all our problems.

Think about some of the character traits for which Trump has often been criticized:

LACK OF RESPONSIBILITY

Sure, our 45th president has avoided ownership of anything that went wrong on his watch, most notably anything having to do with the ongoing pandemic. But when is the last time you heard someone in Congress admit to a mistake or apologize for an example of flawed judgment? After all, that wouldn’t play well with the voters.

Take, for example, the Jan. 6 charade in which a surprisingly large group of Congressional members decided to object to the results of the presidential election, even though they knew that it wouldn’t be enough to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. After this lame effort to have it both ways blew up in their faces (and one of those pipe bombs, don’t forget, was found outside the Republican National Committee building), it would have been nice to have heard: “You know, in hindsight that probably wasn’t such a good idea.”

Instead, we heard “It was all about Antifa,” based on information supposedly revealed by a facial recognition company. The problem is, that company not only squashed the Antifa rumor,  but demanded that the Washington Times delete that story from its Website.

In spreading this disinformation, Matt Gaetz, a Florida congressman and Trump enabler, said what Trump says all the time before retweeting some inflammatory statement: “I’m not sure if this is true or not  …”

Then don’t spread it.

DISHONESTY

It’s no secret that Trump lies a lot, but he’s not the only one. Anyone with a pocket calculator could do the math and see there was no way the Jan. 6 “alternative electors” scheme could have survived a vote in the House, or even the Senate. The architects of this plan also knew that the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were not “preventing audits,” but had actually recounted their votes several times. The problem is, by sticking with Trump’s version — even knowing it was false — these Congress members were lending official credence to it for a lot of Americans.

TUNNEL VISION

With Trump, you’re either on his side or you’re an enemy. Similarly, a lot of people in Congress don’t seem to understand the concept that he or she is supposed to represent everyone in their district, whether those people voted for them or not. The fact that some Republicans were quite willing to write off millions of votes in the hope that those votes would be Democratic speaks volumes.

ARROGANCE

OK, I’ll concede that some members of the media can be pretty annoying themselves. Still, politicians who were installed there by the public and are paid from public tax money have a responsibility to answer reasonable questions from the media. It’s disturbing, to say the least, when some public officials seem to echo Trump’s “anyone who disagrees with me is an enemy of the people” take on the First Amendment.

The majority of the current members of Congress are — like Trump — multi-millionaires, which makes it a little difficult for them to relate to constituents who live paycheck to paycheck.

I’ve always liked — and voted for — the Republican who represents me in Congress. She seems to understand the necessity of working with the other party at times, she doesn’t rely on dubious attack ads in her campaigns and she keeps an open line of communication with the public. I would probably like her as a person if I sat down to talk with her.

Her explanation for supporting Trump is “he passes the bills I send him.” Fair enough. Now that I’ve seen her name on that list of congressional members trying to overturn the last election, though, I don’t know if I can ever vote for her again.

Darrell Laurant
Founder at | + posts

Darrell Laurant is a veteran journalist who previously worked at the News & Advance (Lynchburg). He published over 7,000 pieces in three decades. Darrell has covered papal visits, the Olympics, American sports, and political issues in Virginia. He has also written a variety of books, including "Inspiration Street: Two City Blocks that Helped Change America."

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[…] the moment, let’s set aside Trump, Trumpism, Stop the Steal, and all the rest and simply look at what’s going on through the […]

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