When it comes to opposing Donald Trump, the conservative half of the country has no shortage of voices willing to speak out. However, they have always been in the minority. Unable to coalesce around a viable alternative, the Republican party nominated Donald Trump and went on to rally behind him in support as he entered the White House. The opposition voices coming from the right died down for a bit, and Congress coalesced behind the President. But then the pieces started to fall apart.
Over half a year since inauguration day, this chorus of objections to President Trump grows weekly. The latest member to enter the coalition of conservatives speaking out against the president is Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ). In an op-ed for Politico, Flake claims that “my party is in denial about Donald Trump. We created him, and now we’re rationalizing him. When will it stop?” Perhaps the time has come to seriously consider Senator Flake’s and many other conservatives’ concerns. Perhaps it is time for the conservative community as a whole to scale down the unbridled and blind support of everything this president does.
Of the many things that people call President Trump, “con man” is perhaps the most damaging of all. It implies that he fooled his base into voting for him – but this isn’t quite right. Instead, think of Trump as a mercenary. Conservatives hired him to beat Clinton, appoint Gorsuch, and “make America great again.” Two down, one to go. What are the exact terms of this third promise? Who are the key players? What is the specific legislation? Increasingly, it appears that the president has the answer to none of these questions and is primarily concerned with remaining in power, in the spotlight and little more.
How should we proceed from here? Should we, as conservative columnist Ross Douthat suggests, remove Trump using the 25th Amendment? Perhaps we should condemn every bad decision that comes from this administration, as David French at the National Review advocates. The latter option seems far more realistic and effective than the former. Witness the speed at which the White House removed Anthony Scaramucci from office after all sides widely targeted the former communications director. Observe the change in language when it became apparent that the majority of Americans were not on board with the House health care bill. Only then did the president label it as “mean.” Note the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who under any other circumstances would have been a footnote in history by now, remains in his role due to the outcry from the very voters that celebrated hardest when Trump won the election. The president, it seems, has a weak spot – public opinion.
However, he is immune to the judgments of the mainstream media and the left. Only the verdict of his base matters to this president. Therefore, it appears the time has come to not only cease blindly defending the indefensible actions of this administration but to also call them out when they are wrong. The honeymoon is over. The benefit of the doubt has long since run out. The presidential individual we hoped would emerge on his own has failed to materialize. What little trust we had in this administration should be shattered after the months of lies about the lack of Russian contact came crashing down in one shocking revelation. It is time to hold the White House to a higher standard. It is time to be the moderating voice. Note that this does not mean you must never support the president, or that you should turn your back on the administration completely, refusing to recognize and praise his successes and positive accomplishments. However, we must draw a line in the sand and police our party to protect its future. We must stop defending this man at every opportunity. Senator Flake is correct – most conservatives are in denial about who the president is and what he represents. We owe it to our philosophy to collectively speak out against the mistakes and the failings of this administration.