John Bolton Blasts GOP for Indulging Donald Trump in Scathing Washington Post Editorial
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton has absolutely had it with the Republican Party “collding” President Donald Trump as he “trashes the US electoral system.”
Trump has refused to concede losing the 2020 election to President-Elect Joe Biden, and the GOP has maintained a steadfast allegiance to the incumbent president despite there being no legitimate path for Trump to remain in the White House.
On Wednesday, Bolton wrote in an editorial published in The Washington Post that “as of this writing, the Republican Party has not suffered permanent damage to its integrity and reputation because of President Trump’s post-election rampaging.” But, Bolton said, “this will not be true much longer.”
The reason? Republicans are “coddling” Trump’s baseless accusations of voter fraud and “the grievous harm he is causing to public trust in America’s constitutional system.”
The president’s “time is running out, even as his rhetoric continues escalating,” wrote Bolton.
Consider, for a second, what is happening in Georgia, whose 16 Electoral College votes were won by Biden last Tuesday. The states’s two Republican-held United States Senate races are headed for runoff elections in January, and whoever wins those will determine which party controls Congress’s upper chamber for the next two years.
Bolton said that Trump’s ongoing assaults on the democratic process “is enhancing his own brand (in his mind) while harming the Republican brand. The party needs a long internal conversation about the post-Trump era, but first it needs to get there honorably.”
The “interests” of Trump and the GOP, Bolton said, are no longer aligned:
Donald Trump’s is simple and straightforward: Donald Trump. The near-term Republican interest is winning the Georgia runoffs. The long-term Republican interest emphatically involves winning those Senate seats, but it also involves rejecting Trump’s personalized, erratic, uncivil, unpresidential and ultimately less-than-effective politics and governance.
One approach holds that coddling Trump while he trashes the U.S. electoral system will help him get over the loss, thereby making it easier to reconcile him to leaving the Oval Office. But this coddling strategy is exactly backward. The more Republican leaders kowtow, the more Trump believes he is still in control and the less likely he will do what normal presidents do: make a gracious concession speech; fully cooperate with the president-elect in a smooth transition process; and validate the election process itself by joining his successor at the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Republican sycophancy, Bolton stressed, “will jeopardize the chances of victory in the Georgia runoffs.” But the outspoken far-right former United Nations Ambassador wrote, “that is true only if party leaders do not speak up, explaining to voters what the real facts are.”
Bolton posited a question to his fellow Republicans:
Do we in the GOP not trust our own base enough to absorb the truth? They will find out in due course anyway if Trump’s election litigation indeed crashes into reality. Once in court, state or federal, before judges appointed by Republicans and Democrats, actual witnesses will have to raise their right hands and tell the truth, and then face gale-force cross-examination from lawyers for President elect Joe Biden s campaign It s one thing to tweet; it’s another thing to testify.
Bolton implored “Republican leaders” to “lay that groundwork now and not cede the field to a president whose interests directly contradict the party’s. Otherwise, they will rue the day they stood silent.”
Bolton warned that if the GOP fails to cut ties with Trump, they risk inflicting damage upon the nation, specifically surrounding issues relating to national security:
Republican passivity risks additional negative consequences for the country. Trump is engaging in what could well be a systematic purge of his own administration, starting with the utterly unjustified firing of Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper this week and continuing through high- and mid-level civilian offices in the department. Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, head of the National Nuclear Safety Administration, was forced to resign. Washington is filled with rumors that the CIA and FBI directors are next.
This is being done with just 10 weeks left in the administration. All transitions bring uncertainty, but to decapitate substantial parts of the national security apparatus during such a period for no reason other than personal pique is irresponsible and dangerous. Republicans know this.
And while some of Trump’s most vocal champions have alluded to the messy presidential election in 2000 as a pretext for challenging this year’s results, Bolton said that too is a grave error:
Trump is frustrating Biden’s transition, based on the 2000 precedent, when George W. Bush’s transition was delayed for 37 days by Al Gore’s contesting the Florida results. Two wrongs don’t make a right. It implies no acknowledgment of Biden’s legitimacy as president-elect for Trump to facilitate prudent transition planning, certainly in the national security field, nor in finalizing distribution plans for a coronavirus vaccine, which will largely occur next year. At least, that’s how a confident, mature, responsible president would see it.
Bolton concludes that “for the good of America, the 2020 election needs to be brought expeditiously to the conclusion that all logic tells us is coming. National security requires that the transition get underway effectively. These are Republican values. We will acknowledge reality sooner or later. For the good of the party as well as the country, let’s make it sooner.”
Seventy days until the inauguration.