Sherrod Brown: ‘In Private, Republicans Admit They Acquitted Trump Out of Fear’
Senate Republicans handed President Donald Trump the biggest — and most dangerous — win of his presidency to date on Wednesday, voting to acquit Trump of the impeachment charges against him as was expected.
But in private, GOP lawmakers have made clear that their decision was based on fear, according to their colleague Senator Sherrod Brown. The Ohio Democrat wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that Republicans are afraid of the president — of the massive power he holds to make or break them.
“Of course, the Republican senators who have covered for Mr. Trump love what he delivers for them,” Brown acknowledged. “But Vice President Mike Pence would give them the same judges, the same tax cuts, the same attacks on workers’ rights and the environment. So that’s not really the reason for their united chorus of ‘not guilty.’”
What underlies their acquittal is fear, he wrote.
“They are afraid that Mr. Trump might give them a nickname like ‘Low Energy Jeb’ and ‘Lyin’ Ted,’ or that he might tweet about their disloyalty. Or — worst of all — that he might come to their state to campaign against them in the Republican primary.”
And they worry that Fox News will turn on them, and conservative talk radio hosts begin their attacks. And they worry about social media — will the Twitter trolls sic their angry followers on such vulnerable Republican senators who stand up for what is right?
Despite the well-rehearsed talking points they spout on cable news, Republicans privately admit that Trump was wrong in seeking foreign election interference to benefit his personal reelection campaign. Some even admit his lies, Brown said.
“They know this president has done things Richard Nixon never did. And they know that more damning evidence is likely to come out,” he wrote.
Brown said he has asked his Republican colleagues, “If the Senate votes to acquit, what will you do to keep this president from getting worse?” Their responses? “Shrugs and sheepish looks.”
These are politicians for whom remaining in power is the ultimate goal.
“But history does not look kindly on politicians who cannot fathom a fate worse than losing an upcoming election,” Brown warned. “They might claim fealty to their cause — those tax cuts — but often it’s a simple attachment to power that keeps them captured.”
“Fear had its way” in the Senate on Wednesday, the lawmaker lamented. But he added: “In November, the American people will have theirs.”