GOP dis­cov­ers Trump’s flaws? Sorry, too lit­tle too late

The Mercury News - - Other Views - By Leonard Pitts Jr. Leonard Pitts Jr. is a Mi­ami Her­ald columnist.

Yes, he’s child­ish and in­com­pe­tent. Is that re­ally news by now?

But of course, it wasn’t that as­sess­ment of Failed Pres­i­dent Trump that made jaws drop over the week­end so much as it was the per­son mak­ing it. Mean­ing Sen. Bob Corker, who un­leashed an ex­tra­or­di­nary bar­rage of con­tempt on Twit­ter and in a New York Times in­ter­view.

The Ten­nessee Re­pub­li­can re­ferred to the White House as an “adult day care cen­ter,” ac­cused the failed pres­i­dent of treat­ing his of­fice like “a re­al­ity show” and fret­ted that he was steer­ing the na­tion into “World War III” with his reck­less be­hav­ior. Sig­nif­i­cantly, Corker, who is a lame duck, said that ev­ery Re­pub­li­can in the Sen­ate re­al­izes this, though they won’t say it openly.

And this was only one of two re­cent head­lines about Trump be­ing blasted by friendly fire. The Corker story broke just days af­ter NBC News re­ported that Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son called Trump “a mo­ron” fol­low­ing a meet­ing in July. For the record, a spokes­woman be­lat­edly de­nied Tiller­son used that word, but NBC is stand­ing by its re­port and CNN later ver­i­fied the quote in­de­pen­dently.

Once again, the opin­ion is less strik­ing than the per­son of­fer­ing it. But what­ever sat­is­fac­tion one might de­rive from hear­ing Trump ham­mered is in­suf­fi­cient to blunt the anger that rises close be­hind.

It’s all well and good to hear th­ese men ac­knowl­edge Trump’s un­fit­ness, but here’s the thing: He did not be­come un­fit overnight. He didn’t morph into an over­grown tod­dler with his fin­ger on the nu­clear trig­ger over the week­end.

To the con­trary, his de­fec­tive­ness was ob­vi­ous the mo­ment he rode that golden es­ca­la­tor down to the mi­cro­phone and pro­nounced Mex­i­can im­mi­grants rapists. It went from ob­vi­ous to glar­ing over the course of the most bizarre po­lit­i­cal cam­paign in his­tory, a filthy slog through men­stru­a­tion jokes, pe­nis size brag­ging, sex­ual as­sault boast­ing, calls for vi­o­lence and breath­tak­ing ig­no­rance.

Yet none of that stopped Tiller­son from agree­ing to be his sec­re­tary of state or Corker, dur­ing the cam­paign, from prof­fer­ing his sup­port. None of it has since stopped their party from in­sist­ing that Trump knows what he’s do­ing, has it all un­der con­trol. None of it has stopped them from ra­tio­nal­iz­ing and ex­cus­ing his aw­ful­ness.

Nine months in, we live in a state of en­velop­ing chaos — nu­clear ten­sions on the rise; so­cial ten­sions tear­ing at the thin fab­ric of na­tional unity; Puerto Rico in the dark, and ig­nored; Amer­i­can kids fac­ing mass de­por­ta­tion, and all of it presided over by a Twit­ter-holic ig­no­ra­mus. This is not a pres­i­dency — it is a na­tional emer­gency.

So one can­not help but be an­gry at this rev­e­la­tion re­mov­ing all doubt that Repub­li­cans do, in­deed, know how bad their guy is, how dan­ger­ous he is. They’ve al­ways known, but they went along with it, pri­or­i­tiz­ing their party over our coun­try — an act of craven par­ti­san­ship that would have been for­eign to the brave and prin­ci­pled Repub­li­cans who stopped Richard Nixon in 1974.

Un­til and un­less it evolves that sort of moral back­bone, that sort of pa­tri­o­tism, the GOP’s tardy will­ing­ness to “kinda, sorta” ad­mit the ob­vi­ous is just so much use­less, self­serv­ing noise.

Don­ald Trump is a lousy excuse for a pres­i­dent?

Gee, tell me some­thing I don’t know.

GETTY IM­AGES

Don­ald Trump’s feud with top diplo­mat Rex Tiller­son burst back into the open on Tues­day, with the pres­i­dent sug­gest­ing he and his sec­re­tary of state com­pare IQ scores.

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