Alaska Congressional delegation aids Trump with silence

I hope this doesn't happen, but I would not be surprised if President Trump creates a constitutional crisis over the FBI raid on his attorney's office. It would be a calamitous move for the country, Trump and the Republican Party.

Trump's personal fantasy of victimhood may be strong enough to blind him to the consequences of any action he takes to block the judicial process. The king of chaos has surrounded himself with an obsequious crowd unable to tell him he's wrong.

If Trump fires back with more than angry tweets, I'm not sure that the Alaska Congressional delegation will manage to offer more than expressions of disappointment and concern.

Along with about four dozen other GOP senators—excluding the ailing Sen. John McCain and the retiring Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker—the members of the Alaska delegation have, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski's health care vote as a rare exception, tried not to irritate Trump, call his actions into question or condemn his words. They got drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Nothing else matters.

The consistent silence, which equates with political approval, has given Trump confidence that he can do or say anything as far as Republican members of Congress are concerned.

The Anchorage Daily News published a piece last week crediting Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan with an imaginary effort to balance criticism of Trump with their desire to achieve GOP objectives. The truth is there has been sparing public criticism from the Alaska delegation and nothing more.

Murkowski told the newspaper "I do not like oftentimes the things the president says or the manner in which he says them" and "I feel like I have an obligation to express that."

Murkowski did say in January she found it "offensive" that Trump referred to Haiti and nations in Africa as shitholes. Sullivan responded at that time by making no reference to Trump, but saying immigrants are great and he believes in E Pluribus Unum.

Last June Murkowski tweeted "Stop it! The Presidential platform should be used for more than bringing people down" after Trump referred to TV commentator Mika Brzezinski as "low I.Q. crazy Mika," who was "bleeding badly from a facelift."

Those are the harshest things Murkowski has had to say since declaring on Oct. 8, 2016 after the infamous bus tape: "I cannot and will not support Donald Trump for president. He has forfeited the right to be our party's nominee," a statement she has never come close to repeating.

If oftentimes Murkowski opposes what Trump says, she often keeps those thoughts  to herself, along with other GOP officials.

Sullivan has found it even harder to say a discouraging word about Trump. In a speech to the Alaska Legislature in February, Sullivan referred obliquely to Trump by mentioning "an intemperate tweet or two or three or four," but Sullivan has not risked offending the president.

Sullivan said in late March he applauds the president's "continued focus" on infrastructure. Had Sullivan complained about the "lack of focus" and the running joke of "Infrastructure Week," he would have been correct. Instead, he flattered the president with a falsehood.

On Wednesday, Politico quoted Sullivan as saying there is no need for legislation to try to protect Special Counsel Bob Mueller from an attempt by Trump to end the investigation.  “I don’t see any serious indication that that’s going to happen, a firing. So I get where my colleagues are coming from, and I understand their concerns, but I’m not sure that kind of legislation is going to move," Sullivan said.

I don't know what he means by "serious indication" or why he presumes to know what Trump thinks from one minute to the next, but others believe that Trump is so angry it's impossible to say what he might do. Sullivan is sticking with Trump.

There is no chance that Trump would approve a  measure to protect the special counsel, but the value of a bipartisan warning about the danger of firing Mueller or firing those who could fire Mueller is obvious.

Murkowski took a more reasonable position, telling Politico she would consider backing something along those lines. "It’s something I would certainly consider,” she said. “Sure just wish we weren’t in this place in the first place.”

Politico said when asked whether she trusts that Trump won't fire Mueller, she said: “No. I don’t.”


Dermot Cole6 Comments