Retiring Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) is the latest Republican to criticize Trump, but only once it no longer comes at their own political expense.
Retiring Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) criticized his fellow Republican lawmakers for having a "mindless sort of obedience" to Donald Trump, telling the Dallas Morning News in an exit interview before he leaves Congress that his colleagues' support of Trump's anti-democratic whims "undermines our institutions."
In particular, Thornberry chastised members of his own party for signing onto the lawsuit filed by his home state of Texas that sought to overturn Biden's win — which the Supreme Court summarily rejected.
"It was a totally bogus legal argument to say that one state has standing to complain about the way another state runs its elections," Thornberry told the Dallas Morning News. "They could do it just as easily to Texas, and you start getting this back and forth that undermines our whole system."
Of course, Thornberry's criticism of his party's fealty to Trump comes as he is retiring, and will no longer pay a political price for speaking out.
Thornberry had thus far only issued tacit criticism of Trump after he announced his retirement, and his hand-picked successor lost a primary bid to replace him. Thornberry will be succeeded by Ronny Jackson, the former White House doctor who has become a Trump apologist.
In fact, Thornberry only publicly admitted that President-elect Joe Biden was the winner of the election on Dec. 7, a full month after media organizations called the race.
It's a trend among Republican lawmakers, who stayed silent about Trump's bad behavior until they announced their retirement and thus will no longer face any personal damage to their political careers.
For example, Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) announced on Dec. 14 he was leaving the Republican Party, citing the Republican effort to steal the election for Trump as his last straw.
"This party has to stand up for democracy first, for our Constitution first, and not political considerations," Mitchell told CNN of his decision to leave the GOP.
Yet Mitchell is also retiring, meaning he also won't face political consequences for his party switch.
Republicans who are still in office and not retiring are reluctant to criticize Trump on the record.
One GOP lawmaker told ABC News' Jonathan Karl, "I am counting the days until he is gone." However, that lawmaker wouldn't put their name to their criticism, a sign they are worried about backlash.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of congressional Republicans have stood behind Trump as he lies about voter fraud in an attempt to steal the election from Biden.
One hundred twenty-six House Republicans signed onto a brief backing Texas' ill-fated lawsuit, which sought to overturn the results in four major states Biden won.
Those GOP lawmakers were criticized as being seditious for backing Texas' lawsuit, with at least one Republican now trying to back away from his decision to support the suit.
And another group of House Republicans are waging an effort to block the Electoral College results from being formally accepted, a move that is all-but-certain to fail, yet puts them on record as actively trying to steal a free and fair election.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.