Pity poor Republicans. They have only one argument left to defend President Donald Trump for abusing the powers of the presidency by inviting a foreign power to intervene in an American election, the one transgression our Founding Fathers feared most. Even now that he’s covered in disgrace as only the third president in our history to be impeached, it’s all they’ve got left.
After all, they can’t say Mr. Trump didn’t ask the president of Ukraine to investigate his likely political opponent, because Mr. Trump admits he did. They can’t deny it was a quid pro quo, because Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Mr.Trump’s man in Ukraine, testified under oath it was. They can’t say the whistleblower lied, because 13 witnesses and documents released by the White House confirm that everything he alleged in his complaint is true.
Pity poor Republicans. They’re stuck with one lame argument: that those seeking to impeach Mr. Trump are doing so only because, as Sen. Rand Paul insists, “they don’t like Trump or his demeanor.” Or, worse yet, because they hate him. Even in his rambling, incoherent, demented six-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the eve of the impeachment vote, Mr. Trump accused her of acting only because of “your hatred of me.”
It’s one of the oldest and cheapest shots in politics: If you disagree with someone, it’s only because you hate them. We hear it all the time from members of both parties. When I opposed George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, I was accused of being a “Bush hater.” When millions of Democrats supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary, they were derided as “Clinton haters.” Mr. Trump himself still insists that the FBI investigation into his ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign was triggered by “Trump haters.” Nonsense.
Which is why Ms. Pelosi responded with such fury when James Rosen of Sinclair News shouted out: “Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?” Ms. Pelosi fired back: “As a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone.”
Like Ms. Pelosi, I was raised a Catholic. Like Ms. Pelosi, I believe in Christ’s dictate in the gospels: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And, like Ms. Pelosi, I don’t hate Mr.Trump. But I must admit, I hate a lot of things about him.
I hate the fact that we have an uncouth, racist, white supremacist, misogynist, xenophobic, serial sexual abuser, pathological liar and scientific ignoramus in the Oval Office.
I hate the fact that the president of the United States is no longer someone parents can point to as a role model for their children. Most parents wouldn’t even invite him over for dinner, afraid of what he might say in front of their children.
I hate the fact that leaders of the free world make fun of our president, while laughing at him — and us.
I hate the fact that Mr. Trump snubs democratic leaders like Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau and Emanuel Macron, while French-kissing Vladimir Putin, Kim Jung-Un, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Rodrigo Duterte.
I hate the fact that you can’t believe a word our president says. According to the Washington Post, as of December 10, his 1,055th day in office, Mr. Trump had made 15,413 “false or misleading statements” — more than doubling in 2019 the lies he told in 2017 and 2018 combined. And nobody cares.
I hate the fact that, under Mr. Trump, the media still feels compelled to cover both sides equally, when one side is full of facts and the other is nothing but lies.
I hate the fact that Mr. Trump has systematically attacked every one of our democratic institutions: the Justice Department, the FBI, the Defense Department, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the Constitution. He cares about nothing but himself.
I hate the fact that out of 250 Republicans in Congress, there’s not one — NOT ONE — who’s willing to put country above politics and hold Mr. Trump responsible.
Most of all, as one who loves this country, I hate the fact that we have such an embarrassment as president. We’re Americans. We’re better than Donald Trump. Republican or Democrat, we all deserve better.
Bill Press (firstname.lastname@example.org) is host of The BillPressPod, and author of the new book, “Trump Must Go: The Top 100 Reasons to Dump Trump (And One to Keep Him).”