Over the course of Donald Trump’s time in office, we’ve generally seen one Republican in Congress at a time speak up in opposition to his behavior, even as the rest of the GOP has remained quiet, thus allowing Trump to continue doing whatever he wanted. But something changed today, and not in a subtle way. We’ve seen at least four prominent Congressional Republicans come out against Trump today. They clearly know something.
First came Trey Gowdy, who went on national television this morning and asserted that if Donald Trump is innocent, he should “act like it.” Gowdy, a hyper partisan Republican, has been subtly trying to rehabilitate his image lately, as he seeks a career in the judicial branch. Gowdy technically addressed the remark to Trump’s lawyer John Dowd, as a way of addressing it to Trump by default, thus leaving him a sliver of nuance to fall back on. But this was such a startling shot across the bow that the words “act like it” began trending on Twitter. As it turns out, this would be the first of many GOP shots at Trump during the course of the day.
Marco Rubio, best known for his spinelessness, announced that Trump was wrong for having tried to take Andrew McCabe’s pension away. After Trump attacked Robert Mueller on Twitter, Lindsey Graham strongly came out in support of Mueller. John McCain, who has recently been absent from politics due to his health, then came out swinging on Mueller’s behalf as well. So what’s really going on here?
These are just words, and not actions. But this nonetheless represents a fundamental shift because so many prominent Republicans are now hitting Donald Trump all at once, on various issues, which has never happened before. Even if this hasn’t been specifically coordinated, it feels like the GOP knows something we don’t. They think the time is right to begin strongly distancing themselves from Trump’s actions in the eyes of the public, presumably to insulate themselves from what’s about to surface. There has to be a specific reason for that.