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Holding Mussolini’s Straightjacket

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Apparently Tim Alberta’s new book has a lot of entertaining anecdotes of Trump’s craven lickspittles (i.e. 99% of the influential members of the Republican Party) who once pretended to be Never Trumpers:

Alberta dings Vice President Pence and others for seeking to defend Trump as an evangelical and humble man behind the scenes seeking to help his country — while casting aside their core convictions. He reports that the vice president’s wife, Karen Pence, did not want to appear in public with her husband after the “Access Hollywood” tape and that Pence disagreed with Trump on many key issues, from immigration to trade.

Now, Pence’s oldest friends joke about whether Trump has blackmail material on him.

“Pence’s talent for bootlicking — he was nicknamed ‘the Bobblehead’ by Republicans on Capitol Hill for his solemn nodding routine whenever Trump spoke — were at their most obscene during meetings at the White House,” Alberta writes. 

Mick Mulvaney is cast as ambitious and clear-eyed about Trump before the election, telling fellow lawmakers that he read “The Art of the Deal” and could play to Trump’s ego while blocking his worst inclinations.

“We’re not going to let Donald Trump dismantle the Bill of Rights,” Mulvaney said to Alberta in 2016 when he was still a congressman from South Carolina. “For five and half years, every time we got to the floor and try to push back against an overreaching president, we get accused of being partisan at best and racist at worst. When we do it against a Republican president, maybe people will see it was a principled objection in the first place.” 

Now, as the president’s acting chief of staff, Mulvaney says to others that he “lets Trump be Trump.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who basked in Trump’s glory during a large rally that helped him win a tight Texas race down the stretch of the 2018 midterms, once felt differently about the president.

“[Cruz] told confidantes there was ‘no way in hell’ he was prepared to subjugate himself to Trump in front of tens of millions of viewers,” Alberta writes. “ ‘History isn’t kind to the man who holds Mussolini’s jacket,’ Cruz told friends in 2016.” Even later, he bemoaned Trump for seeking to end birthright citizenship, saying he was trying to cost the party seats.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Alberta in June 2016 that he wishes the Republican-controlled Congress could have done things differently to “avoid creating this environment that was conducive to someone like Donald Trump becoming the nominee.” Jordan is now on Fox News defending Trump more than almost any other of the president’s allies.

Perhaps no one has had a more tortured relationship with the president than former House speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) — who went from wanting to abandon Trump after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape to working to enact his agenda after the election all while doing his best to avoid commenting on his tweets and controversial statements.

If you can’t rely on the integrity of Gym Jordan, who can you trust?

Anyway, time for another Greenwald blog post about how Trump is facing staunch opposition from Republican elites.

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