The Trump administration has put the United States in a precarious position, where many foundations of American life have ended up on trial. Donald Trump has lambasted the free press, undercut the integrity of the American electoral system, and made life more dangerous for some including low income individuals and minorities.
In light of these developments, Clinton era Secretary of Labor Robert Reich wants the more moderate GOP members of the U.S. Senate to abandon the Republican Party. The Senators he singles out in a new open letter include Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Bob Corker of Tennessee, and John McCain of Arizona. These Congressional members have all found themselves opposite the Trump administration at times, and Reich wants them to stop trying to realign themselves with the GOP after such instances.
‘A foreign power has attacked our democratic institutions and, according to American intelligence, continues to do so… What is America to do? We will exercise our right to vote on November 6. But by that time our system may be compromised. The President must be constrained, now. Putin’s aggression must be stopped, now. If just two of you changed parties — becoming Independent, and caucusing with the Democrats – the Republican Party would no longer have a majority in the Senate. The Senate would become a check on the President, as the Framers of the Constitution envisioned it would be.’
As Reich explained, President Trump has proven unwilling to confront the threat of Russian aggression. Standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin recently after a summit in Helisnki, Finland, he asserted that he found no reason to believe Russia to have meddled in the 2016 elections.
He eventually withdrew that assertion — before putting it out again on Twitter within days.
On Sunday, he tweeted:
‘So President Obama knew about Russia before the Election. Why didn’t he do something about it? Why didn’t he tell our campaign? Because it is all a big hoax, that’s why, and he thought Crooked Hillary was going to win!!!’
The Russia scandal is not a hoax; the Kremlin’s election meddling has been documented through numerous means including the recent formal indictment of twelve Russian intelligence officers.
Barack Obama, when in office, did work to counter Russian meddling, but he was undercut by the actions of Republicans including on Trump’s own team.
Trump remains committed to his lies anyway, so Reich wants the Senators to whom he addressed his open letter to do more to keep him in check.
He pointed out both the precedent for the individual Senators in question standing up to Trump and for Senators switching sides and thereby giving control of the upper Congressional chamber to a new political party.
In 2001, Vermont’s Jim Jeffords switched his affiliation from Republican to Independent and began caucusing with the Democrats, giving that party control of the Senate.
More recently, Arizona’s Jeff Flake — who tore Trump’s platform apart in a speech announcing his intent to not seek re-election — introduced a non-binding resolution in the Senate establishing support for the Russia investigation and seeking oversight of the president’s handling of the scandal. That resolution was killed by Republicans.
Whether or not any of the members Reich targeted decide to switch sides, the fact remains that a number of Republican members of Congress have firmly established themselves as Trump shills.
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