White House Officials and Other Republican Leaders Are in Hiding


With Donald Trump in the crosshairs of an impeachment
inquiry involving several administration officials, it’s no wonder no one from
the White House wanted to appear on Sunday cable news shows to defend him.
Neither did Republican leaders in Congress.

And guess what: It was kind
of nice
. With the
exception of Chuck Todd
, of all people, Sunday saw a lot less shouting. CNN’s Jake Tapper even looked a bit serene at
one point, as Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh handled a debate with
fellow GOP Trump challenger Mark Sanford about whether Trump should be

As several news show hosts pointed out, Republican leaders
are in hiding after damning evidence surfaced this week in the Trump
impeachment inquiry, including text
messages between U.S. officials
that show that Ukrainian officials were
pressured into an agreement to investigate Joe Biden and his son, along with
other 2016 election conspiracy theories promoted by the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Also on Sunday, it was reported that a
second whistleblower has come forward
to testify to the Inspector General
of the Intelligence Community, offering firsthand accounts of the Trump
administration’s pressuring of Ukrainian leaders to assist in discrediting
Trump’s political rivals.

That whistleblower is being represented by the same attorney
representing the first whistleblower, who prompted the impeachment inquiry.
Both whistleblowers reportedly are intelligence officers.

As CNN’s Tapper noted, “We invited the White House on to
answer questions on the show this morning, [but] they did not offer a guest. We
also invited both of the president’s personal lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Jay
Sekulow. They declined to appear. We invited every member of Senate leadership
and the top House Republicans. They all declined or did not even respond.”

He observed that the Republican no-show happened “on one of
the most critical news weeks of the last three years…”

Things seem to be falling apart for Trump and the
Republicans, regardless of their usual incessant shouting and perpetual gaslighting. What’s left, at least on today’s news shows, was Walsh
attacking Trump and making Sanford, a former U.S. representative and governor
from South Carolina, look weak, melancholy, and about as exciting as stagnant, lukewarm

“In terms of [impeachment] inquiry, ultimately, as I’ve said
previously, I don’t know that ultimately impeachment’s the best way to go,”
Sanford told Tapper, who looked like he was on autopilot. “I think probably censure
is, given the fact that we’re this close to an election. But that’s a larger
conversation. Would I want to investigate this? Yes.”

“I don’t understand that,” Walsh fired back. “This president
deserves to be impeached. Jake, nobody from the White House and no high-level
Republicans are on this show today, because there’s nothing to defend. This
president betrayed his country again this week.”

Walsh also tried to nail down whether Sanford believes Trump
has committed impeachable offenses. Sanford tried to wiggle out of it by
focusing on the “process” and the “politics,” and the fact that Trump would claim to be
vindicated if the Senate fails to convict him.

“Mark, that’s Washington, D.C. gobbledygook,” Walsh said. “Either the Republican Party stands up now and says, ‘We oppose this. We
oppose collusion. We oppose foreign governments interfering in our election.’
Either we stand up with one unifying voice with that right now, Mark, and we
don’t get involved in the gobbledygook of censure or impeachment, or is it
politically prudent—how about we Republicans do what is right, sir?”

While I’m certainly no fan of Walsh, who has
said some awfully racist things in the not-so-distant past, I will admit that it’s
refreshing to sit back and watch these Republicans argue with each other
about justice and decency, and the right thing to do.

Not that I expect them to actually
do the right thing, mind you.


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