(CNN) – On Thursday, standing in front of the White House, President Donald Trump urged two foreign powers to investigate their political rivals.
Here is the full quote:
“Well, I think if (the Ukrainians) were honest about it, they would start an important investigation into the Biden. It is a very simple answer. They should investigate the Biden Similarly, China should begin an investigation into the Biden because what happened in China is almost as bad as what happened with Ukraine. Then, I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, would recommend that you initiate an investigation into the Biden. ”RELATED
That Trump statement is difficult at the launch of the transcript of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump repeatedly reminds Zelensky of everything the United States has done for Ukraine before asking him to investigate the discredited corruption allegations surrounding former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Trump's behavior, although unorthodox, erratic, and unpopular, is not really so surprising. This is what it is, and it reflects the type of campaign he ran for president and how he has acted once in the office. The surprising, or shocking, could be the best word for it, is the fact that Republican elected officials seem willing not only to tolerate this type of behavior but even to defend it.
LOOK: Trump: I don't care about Biden's campaign, but corruption
“Since the middle of 2016, the Obama Department of Justice has conducted a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian influence, which led to an additional 2-year investigation into President Trump by Special Prosecutor Mueller , without filing charges against him ”, tweeted Texas Senator John Cornyn on Friday morning. “Now, the Trump Department of Justice is investigating the influence of the foreign government, the conflicts of interest of Vice President Biden and the possible corruption, as well as the provenance of the false investigation of the compiled opposition for the Clinton campaign produced by a former British spy, and is this a reason for political judgment?
"I want to find out what happened during 2016," Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said Thursday. “If there is possible criminal activity, the president of the United States is our principal law enforcement officer. We have adequate agreements with countries to investigate possible crimes, so I don't think there is anything wrong with doing so. ”
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham described the informant's complaint about Trump's call to Ukraine as a "political assembly" and dismissed it as "a rumor."
That closing of ranks is remarkable given what we already know about Trump's behavior.
Even the most superficial reading of the approximate transcript of the call to Ukraine, published by the White House, makes it clear that Trump was:
a) making sure Zelensky knew how much the United States did for Ukraine
b) emphasizing that the goodwill of the United States had not been properly reciprocated by Ukraine
c) asking Zelensky for a “favor” – to analyze a conspiracy theory about the possibility that the 2016 Democratic National Committee server was in Ukraine
d) suggesting, very strongly, that Zelensky investigate corruption allegations regarding Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine. (There is no evidence of any crime by Biden).
Nor is it debatable that Trump, standing in front of the White House, said that China, a clear adversary of the United States, should be investigating Hunter Biden's activities in that country.
READ: A guide on Trump's men in the midst of the political trial scandal
Like Tim Alberta, who wrote the book on how the Republican Party reacted to Trump's hostile takeover, posted on twitter Friday morning:
“Barack Obama stands in front of the White House.
"With everyone watching, he states:" China should begin an investigation into the Romney. "
“Republicans would not only ask for impeachment. They would call for treason charges. ”
Yes, that covers everything. And he speaks of one of the most underrated narratives of the first three years of Trump's presidency: the total and complete capitulation of the elected leaders of the Republican Party before the personality cult that is Donald Trump.
Trump's conservatism brand, as I have pointed out many times, is far from the vision of the movement that most Republican elected officials once embraced. Trump does not care much about debts and deficits, and his protectionist vision of trade goes directly against free trade policies defended by Republicans in the not too distant past. His turbulent personal life, and his rudeness in communication, contrast with the evangelical wing of the party, once proud.
And yet, despite the fact that his actions in office become increasingly erratic and without historical precedents, the party remains united behind him.
Why? Simple! Fear.
Every Republican elected official lives in fear of becoming the next Jeff Flake or Justin Amash: Conservative Republicans in good standing with the party until they decided to publicly criticize Trump for something or another. The president attacked, his base attacked and both men found themselves in very precarious political situations.
The fear of being "hanged" explains, for example, the absolute and total change of Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) on Trump. The same goes for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. And dozens and dozens of other Republican elected officials who expressed deep concern over the idea that Trump was the candidate of his party in 2016, much less the president of the United States.
If political survival is their only objective, then what Republicans are facing Trump is not only good, but it is correct. Of course, leadership is something very different from what we are seeing in Republican elected officials at the moment.
And there is a very real possibility that the damage that Trump is doing to the party (not to mention the country) will have an impact that will last long after he has left office, and will go back to chasing the Republicans who stayed in silence.