Trump’s Hitler fantasies put Senate Republicans on defense

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a predictably useless response Tuesday when he was asked whether he was comfortable with his party’s “leading presidential candidate referring to illegal immigrants as ‘poisoning the blood of our country.'”

“Well, it strikes me it didn’t bother him when he appointed Elaine Chao secretary of transportation,” McConnell told reporters, invoking the name of his wife, an Asian American immigrant who served in Donald Trump’s administration.

Sure, reporters got to play up McConnell’s tart rejoinder, but the so-called “leader” dodged the actual issue at hand: the fact that the Republican Party’s leading 2024 contender is parroting famous fascists such as Adolf Hitler. However satisfying the dig, McConnell could have killed Trump’s political future after Jan. 6, 2021, but couldn’t muster the leadership skills within his conference to push a Senate conviction over the finish line.

Perhaps not surprisingly, when McConnell’s top deputies were asked about Trump aping fascist dictators, they similarly sidestepped the opportunity to take a stand in favor of democracy.  

“I think it’s unhelpful rhetoric,” Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina told The Hill.

Sure, “unhelpful” to Senate Republicans’ takeover chances, never mind Trump’s embrace of anti-democratic genocidal ideology. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia offered that she didn’t “agree with” Trump’s characterization, claiming to be mystified by the statement. “We’re all children of immigrants,” she said. “It’s just part of his campaign rhetoric, I guess. I don’t know, I can’t explain it.”  

Who even knows where Trump gets this silly stuff?! Rather than contemplating Trump’s flirtation with fascism, Senate Republican Whip John Thune of South Dakota took aim at President Joe Biden. “We are a nation of immigrants, we’re a welcoming country,” Thune said, noting that his grandfather was an immigrant and he disagrees with Trump on the issue. “But we’re also a nation of laws,” Thune added.  “We can’t allow this just rampant violation of law at the Southern border. It’s out of control. It’s insane.”

Sure, Trump’s a maniacal autocrat, but Biden’s border policies are the real problem here.

Once again, given the opportunity to draw a line in the sand—at fascism, no less—the Senate Republicans who dislike Trump took the easy way out. That’s exactly why Trump still has a solid shot at the presidency, and it’s also why MAGA Republicans will eventually own the establishment Republicans who failed to meet the historical moment with which they were faced.

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