Republicans don't want to have to address Trump's treason in Helsinki.
Congressional Republicans are telling cable news bookers, "'Thanks, but no thanks," after Trump created another massive political headache during his press conference with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Republicans don't want to face questions about Trump's attacks on U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and his stunning capitulations to Putin. They especially don't want to be pressed on why they aren't doing anything to try to contain Trump's damaging behavior.
"So our viewers know, we reached out to dozens of Republican lawmakers today to speak, to react to the president’s comments," CNN's Jim Sciutto announced, while introducing Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello, the only Republican willing to appear on CNN. "I want to thank you for being the only one who said yes."
And why was Costello willing to appear? Because he's retiring from Congress this year and doesn’t have to worry about any pushback from the GOP base for criticizing Trump. (Costello called Trump's Helsinki performance "pathetic" and "weak.")
Republicans were hiding even before Trump offered up an absurd explanation on Tuesday for his Helsinki debacle.
Addressing reporters from the White House, Trump claimed he had misspoken during his joint press conference with Putin when discussing who was responsible for attacking the U.S. elections in 2016.
"The sentence should have been, 'I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,'” Trump said. "Sort of a double negative."
"I guess he gets points for being creative," noted CNN Dana Bash, immediately mocking Trump's attempted walk-back.
Over the last 18 months, some Republicans in Congress have delivered occasional and mild criticism of Trump's outlandish and reckless behavior — often in tweeted statements that don't allow for follow-up questions from journalists.
Collectively, the GOP's response to Helsinki has once again been timid and irresponsible, with no leaders in sight willing to take concrete steps in response to Trump's borderline treasonous behavior.
Concrete steps such as passing a bill pass a bill that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, or forcing Trump to release his tax returns to see if there are longstanding ties to Russia. Or even, yes, starting impeachment proceedings.
Instead of answering questions about why they continue to enable Trump's reckless behavior, fearful Republicans go into hiding.
Even Fox News doesn't appear to be a safe platform for Republicans. At the typically loyal propaganda outlet for the GOP, and Trump in particular, a number of Fox hosts have been openly critical of Trump's capitulation in Helsinki.
There's a good reason Republicans don't want to answer questions on camera this week.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.