As a direct result of being a Trump-backing toady, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a hack during the best of times, is in serious danger of losing his seat to Democratic opponent MJ Hegar in the November elections. In an attempt to stanch the bleeding, Cornyn met with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s editorial board to (ahem) explain himself.
The results, which are being widely mocked around the internets for reasons that will soon become obvious, are an excellent preview of the defense every Republican will be offering up if Donald Trump loses his reelection bid. The less deft ones might want to go ahead and copy-and-paste Cornyn’s answers into their own notes now, rather than later; it may be, however, that the Republican Party will distribute them as talking points approximately five minutes after a definitive Trump loss. Or possibly crocheted on a pillow.
Sen. Cornyn wants the editorial board and/or Texas public to know that Actually, he has “disagreed” with Donald Blowhard Corruption Magnet on at least several important Republican things during these last four years. It is just that he did it in “private,” because reasons. The Star-Telegram reports that Cornyn told them he privately disagrees with Trump on “budget deficits and debt”—telegraphing an immediate Republican Party reversal-with-somersault switcharoo on whinging about those things endlessly, after allowing and encouraging the Trump team to blow enough holes in the federal budget to make it a colander. He privately disagreed on Trump’s bizarrely premised and ridiculously executed trade wars, he wants you to know—trade wars that conflicted mightily with previous conservative ideology, only to be crumpled into a pile of YOLO when Trump did the opposite. Cornyn private disagreed with Trump on pilfering military money for his stupid border wall—it’s not clear if this was before or after Cornyn publicly defended Trump doing exactly that and voted to let him do exactly that, so this one was a particularly private objection. He hid it so well he even hid it from himself!
“When I have had differences of opinion, which I have, (I) do that privately,” Cornyn told the board, calling it a “much more effective” approach but offering no apparent evidence that it has been “effective” even once.
The short version, then, is this: On the verge of potentially losing his office, Sen. Cornyn would like you to know that despite defending Trump at every turn, including when Trump was impeached for the criminal abuse of his office, he secretly has opposed Trump at least several times and secretly has, you know, the right and non-humiliating opinions on things. Yes, all hail the noble and brave John Cornyn, who absolutely has disagreed with the authoritarian thunderdunce’s incompetent moves and incomprehensible stances, but who nobly hid his disagreements rather than take action and risk being tweeted at.
Truly, a more noble figure has never graced public life. What a hero.
Oh—and if Donald wins, please forget he said any of these things. Parkour!
Sigh. Get used to these claims of secret Trump defiance, because if Trump causes Republicans nationwide to be routed from office you are going to be hearing a lot of them, and they’re all going to match. Republicans are going to claim they were “against” Trump’s incompetence and criminality the whole time, they just, um, did it when you weren’t looking. It isn’t that they were accessories to Trump’s worst behavior, and actively celebrated many of his worst actions. It isn’t that they actively worked to prevent criminal acts by Trump from being discovered, whether it be the constant grifting of government funds to line his pockets or an extortion scheme that the Republican Senate scurried to declare a non-issue. It isn’t that they used their offices, as lawmakers, to support Trump’s racist and white nationalist edicts, or used their committees to push obvious disinformation on his behalf.
Heavens, no. Actually, Cornyn and the others will insist, we were against those things all along. We were very unhappy about all of it. Secretly. Behind the scenes. Please give us new jobs, or hire us on as pundits, or whatever.
This new alleged rediscovery of morals and principles will be the subject of at least six (6) completely ridiculous Republican autobiographies released in the next six months, two dozen eerily similar Republican op-eds, and a full-on interpretive dance pageant held at Republican National Committee headquarters. You can count on it.
If it all sounds like bullshit, congratulations: Your skull has not yet been completely hollowed out by the last four years of insanity. Of course it’s bullshit. As senator, John Cornyn allied himself with nearly all of Trump’s moves, including the possibly-criminal ones, much less the only stupid ones. There’s no doubt he had private concerns about doing some of them, but that didn’t stop him. He chose the most craven approach each time, on every topic, and is slinking back to his voters with the most craven approach now, signaling that his principles are now whatever they need to be in this moment, and will be shifting yet again if the moment changes. Whatever you want, voters. Just tell him the tune and he’ll dance to it.
Hacks and scoundrels, the lot of them. There’s not enough integrity left in the Republican Party to fill a mason jar. If Cornyn saves his seat—and it’s going to be close, but he’s still a few points ahead—he will switch messages all over again, either surgically attaching himself to Trump or re-re-inventing himself with whatever newly discovered principle each week and month temporarily requires. The Mitch McConnell-led Senate has combined the conspiracy theorizing of House Republicans with a relentless drive to maintain conservative power using every available rule and, when those are not sufficient, inventing new ones; holding power is the only ideology remaining in a party that has gleefully shed all of the others.
Hacks. Just hacks, from top to bottom. They don’t even have the decency left to feel shame, when they pull this “well secretly I was actually against those controversial things I supported” nonsense.