America has been riveted and shocked by the testimony and the multiple damning revelations that have been made by multiple credible witnesses during the House Intelligence Committee’s public Impeachment Inquiry. Yet, it has become sadly evident that the Republican Party has become willfully blind to the truth. Republican Ranking Member, Devin Nunes, has made a fool of himself by ignoring all relevant evidence of Trump’s scheme to withhold military aid to Ukraine in exchange for personal, partisan political favors. 

Worse, Nunes has repeatedly lied about Republican participation in the hearings and their ability to call witnesses. Let’s not forget that he faced an ethics investigation for his role in trying to obfuscate the facts during the Mueller Investigation. Nunes’ blind allegiance to Trump has made him an absurd laughingstock and he’s shown repeatedly that he is capable of nothing more than carrying Trump’s dirty, swamp water.

The Ukraine scandal is simply the latest in a long list of Trump’s flagrant refusal to abide by the Constitution, the rule of law, or time-honored institutional norms. When confronted with any fact about Trump’s transgressions or faced with even moderate criticism, the Republicans have acted like they are consumed with an incurable type of aggressive Stockholm Syndrome. 

Alabama’s own U.S. House Rep. Bradley Byrne just penned a piece for this publication for which he should be deeply ashamed. It’s simply hyper-partisan spin and a pathetic attempt to minimize and distract from what is credibly happening in plain sight. Byrne wants us to suspend our disbelief and pretend that this is just a big misunderstanding that arose from “office gossip.” Laughably, he goes on to say that “… not one person has testified that they had any direct knowledge that President Trump ordered aid held in exchange for political favor.” Of course, he fails to mention that Mulvaney, Pompeo, Bolton, and Giuliani have all ignored lawful Congressional subpoenas by order of the White House. He also may not be aware of Ambassador Sondland’s first-hand knowledge contained in his damning testimony or, perhaps, Trump’s publicly televised pleas for foreign interference.

So, what will it take for Republicans to see the truth about Trump? Are they really ready to sacrifice their honor, integrity, and political futures for fear of being given a juvenile nickname in a misspelled tweet? It’s beyond ironic that a party that has embraced constitutional originalism has green-lighted blatant obstruction of justice, obvious abuses of executive power, and clear violations of the rule of law.

For the few Republicans that even acknowledge that a serious problem might exist, they claim it just doesn’t matter. It’s a surreal and bizarre groupthink that reminds historians about past political and religious movements that have caused the worst of human suffering and atrocities. It’s because not one Republican leader has the courage to proclaim that the emperor has no clothes. Instead, folks like Nunes and Byrne are offering to take the emperor’s pretend clothes to the imaginary dry cleaner! 

Republicans are not innocent bystanders who are struggling to account for a rogue, uncouth anomaly that stumbled into the presidency. They are deliberately complicit. They are aiding, abetting, and excusing unethical and illegal conduct that they would never tolerate from their political opposition. As the hearings wrap up, it’s clear that they are running out of excuses and alternative, remotely-plausible narratives. They are feverishly painting themselves into a very tight corner.

It will be fascinating to see what it will take for Republicans to find their spine and to acknowledge the reality before them. The Impeachment Inquiry is not a sham. The evidence is clear and undeniable and continues to grow.

The only sham is a Republican Party that refuses to see the truth. In the coming days and weeks, America will come to know who they really serve. 


Clete Wetli
Clete Wetli is former Chair of the Madison County Democrats and a liberal political activist.