John Oliver was on Stephen Colbert a couple of nights ago, and I love his approach to American politics. He’s an issue guy who can separate the politics from the substance, and he is amazing at taking a longer view of what’s going on in America. For instance, when Colbert asked him about Nancy Pelosi standing for eight hours and delivering a speech in an effort to save DREAMers, he was dismissive. He basically said, “That’s nice. It won’t mean a damn thing.” And you know what? He was right. Her filibustering in the House meant no more than Rand Paul filibustering in the Senate last night. It’s a dog-and-pony show, which is exactly what Donald Trump’s tweets are. Trump mashes the ALL CAPS button down and alerts the world to “bombshell” FBI texts that ultimately mean nothing. This, too, shall pass.
When the midterms roll around, yes: It will be a referendum on Donald Trump, but it won’t be a referendum on his latest series of tweets. It will be a referendum on DREAMers, on healthcare, on the economy, and — ideally — who Trump is as a person. And right now, the long view of the Republican Party is this: They don’t believe in climate change. They’re the party of tax breaks for the rich. They’re the party of big government, after last night’s budget vote. They’re the party of fiscal irresponsibility. They’re the party who doesn’t care about your healthcare, that is quietly chipping away at Medicaid and the social safety net. They’re the party of deregulation. Of payday loans. Of the border wall. They’re the party of racism. Of bigotry and sexism. And they are the party of Donald Trump — the traits of their party’s leader has been sewn into the fabric of the party. Everyone in that goddamn party, in one way or another, has defended Donald Trump, and they now stand for everything that Trump believes in. That’s how people will vote in November.
This Rob Porter business is exactly what the party of Donald Trump is about. They will hire an abuser, as long as no one knows. They will hide his abuse for as long as they can. They will defend the abuser until it is no longer politically palatable, and even though they have known about the abuse for months and months, they will feign surprise when the media reports on it.
John Kelly knew. The FBI told him a long goddamn time ago. It’s why Porter couldn’t get a security clearance (even though he was in charge of handling classified documents for the President). Two ex-wives and a girlfriend have reported the domestic abuse. There was a restraining order. There was a police report. There were pictures. And even after this all came out in the media, John Kelly was still urging Rob Porter to stay and fight.
John Kelly was trying to protect an abuser. He did not give a shit about the women. Donald Trump doesn’t give a shit about the women, he only cares about how this might all blow up on him. He apparently spoke to John Kelly’s predecessor, Reince Priebus, on the phone about his problems with Kelly, because everyone who has ever worked for Trump has Stockholm Syndrome. Trump is floating the idea of bringing in Mick Mulvaney to replace Kelly. But again, that’s all politics. That’s Donald Trump using the abuse of women as leverage to fire a guy that he has lost affection for because John Kelly no longer makes Donald Trump look good.
Ultimately, you don’t have to remember who knew what and when. You don’t have to remember how Deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah bungled the press conference. You don’t have to remember who Trump called, or what he tweeted. It’s all fucking noise. But remember this: The White House knowingly hired and subsequently hid and then tried to protect a man with a lengthy, credible, and vile history of violence against women only months after the President endorsed and campaigned for a man who preyed on teenage women. That’s who Donald Trump is, and that’s what the Republican party stands for. They’re the party that tried to protect a man responsible for this:
Fuck ‘em all.