Until Donald Trump becomes “former president Donald Trump,” he will be able to get away with tweeting a lot of things that put the rest of us at risk for having our accounts restricted. Among them are his incessant claims that Joe Biden only won as a result of massive election fraud.
He has continued making these claims even though they have been shot down time and again in court. He has continued to do so even though they have put the lawyers making those arguments at risk of becoming former lawyers. And he has continued to do so despite the media doing its job–calling a spade a spade and calling these claims out for the hokum that they are.
Trump seems to be unwilling to accept that he will be a former president as of noon on January 20. Even after the administrator of the General Services Administration formally acknowledged that Biden is president-elect, Trump has continued to pursue his increasingly desperate and unhinged claims of fraud. In this effort, he has been egged on by some of the most diehard of his diehard supporters, both secular and religious.
Almost as unnerving as this drumbeat of alternative facts is the reaction from much of the Republican Party. A number of elected officials have outright endorsed Trump’s attempt to subvert the popular vote. Others have remained silent.
That doesn’t sit well with Joyce Vance, the U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during the Barack Obama administration. As a testament to the amount of legal firepower on the blue team, Vance is likely on the short list for a high post in the Justice Department once Biden takes office.
On Friday night, Vance noticed that Twitter had once again tagged a Trump tweet about election fraud as “disputed.” Vance took to Twitter to tell us what it really meant–and to call the GOP out on the carpet.
This is not an idle warning. Those who have remained silent on Trump’s incessant attacks on the integrity of the election forget that they swore an oath to defend the Constitution and the democracy that it enshrines. This silence would be appalling if a soon-to-be former Democratic president were making such baseless claims about a Republican successor, and it’s appalling here.
Indeed, the few Republicans who have been willing to push back against Trump’s alternative facting have done so knowing they have put their own political careers at risk. Take Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, for instance. Raffensperger refused to go along with Trump’s attempts to reverse his narrow loss in Georgia, which led Trump to brand him an “enemy of the people” during Trump’s unhinged Thanksgiving press conference.
Never mind that Raffensperger ran on a platform that checked most of the Trumpian boxes, and even got Trump’s personal endorsement. No, no–all because Raffensperger decided to be an American before he was a Republican, he effectively got a Code Red called on him.
It’s too bad that more elected officials haven’t followed Raffensperger’s lead. After all, Vance’s question is more than apt. When we have to ask whether Republican leaders are “committed to the republic” or committed to their party’s nominal leader, something is very wrong.
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