President Trump on Aug. 15 said that “there’s blame on both sides” for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
The party of Lincoln is now the party of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Southern slave owners who decided to kill fellow Americans so that they could keep men, women and children enslaved. The Republican Party, in other words, has obliterated its entire historical legacy and become the party of the Enemies of Lincoln.
And let’s be clear: Republicans cannot say, “That’s not us — that’s just President Trump.” They supported him, they elected him, they defended him and they gave him the aura of a normal presidency. They cannot be the party of Lincoln and be the party of Trump. In that vein, we can dispense with Republicans’ “outrage,” “frustration,” “anger” and all other meaningless expressions of internal sentiment. Unless and until they are prepared to do something — not just send tweets — to politically disown Trump, the party is toast and none of its members should be elected or reelected.
How would they do this? First, elected officials must deny Trump the audience he so desperately craves. They need not appear with him, nor invite him to the Hill. (The State of the Union can be delivered from the White House or in writing; he would besmirch the House by appearing there.) Lawmakers and state officials should not troop to the White House for photo ops. They can communicate with the White House by phone or through aides. In short, Trump must be shunned and ostracized. He is not fit for polite company, let alone the presidency. He has demolished the rules of civilized behavior, and therefore should enjoy none of the ceremonial niceties that are extended to normal presidents.