GOP hopes to hold Senate by pretending to be 'independent' from Trump


Senate Republicans can't erase years of unquestioning allegiance to Trump and Trump's agenda.

After spending years consistently voting for Trump's reckless agenda, Senate Republicans are suddenly desperate to distance themselves from Trump before the 2020 election.

On Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Politico that his colleagues are "planning on running independent campaigns" — in other words, trying to pretend they have nothing to do with the disastrous Trump agenda.

McConnell apparently hopes Americans weren't paying attention when he led the Senate Republicans to rubber-stamp every single priority of the Trump administration.

From a tax scam benefitting billionaires to ripping away health care from families to sending an alleged attempted rapist to the Supreme Court, the Senate's most vulnerable Republicans — Susan Collins (ME), Joni Ernst (IA), Cory Gardner (CO), Martha McSally (AZ), and Thom Tillis (NC) — have almost universally backed Trump's most controversial and harmful actions.

Collins likes to sell herself as a moderate, but she has voted with Trump more than 72% of the time. And she was one of Trump's biggest supporters when it came to elevating alleged sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Collins didn't just vote to confirm Kavanaugh; she vigorously defended him amidst a series of credible allegations of sexual assault, and ignored her own alleged pro-choice views to insist against all evidence that Kavanaugh would support abortion rights — only to be humiliated when Kavanaugh recently authored an extremist anti-choice opinion.

As for Ernst, she turned her back on U.S. troops and supported Trump when he invented a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and forced troops to waste their time there instead of spending the holidays with their families. Ernst's support of Trump even in that situation is in line with her overall voting record; she has backed Trump nearly 92% of the time.

Gardner is already ignoring McConnell's advice and wholeheartedly tying his fortunes to Trump. The freshman senator, who votes with Trump more than 90% of the time, enthusiastically endorsed Trump's 2020 campaign even after saying in 2016 that he "cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women." Gardner's views on women have obviously devolved significantly in the Trump era, as he also backed alleged attempted rapist Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.

McSally, who became a senator by appointment after losing in 2018 to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, has nonetheless hitched her wagon to Trump by backing his agenda more than 95% of the time. McSally, formerly a House member, made waves in the 2018 election by lying about her vote to rip away protections from people with pre-existing health conditions. Her zeal for destroying the American health care system lines up perfectly with Trump's.

Tillis voted to allow Trump to rob millions from North Carolina military families in order to build a racist wall along the southern border. "Tillis chose his political career over our military, and North Carolina will not forget this easily," Robert Howard, spokesperson for the North Carolina Democratic Party, said in March. When it comes to choosing between helping North Carolina families and helping Trump, Tillis picks Trump 95% of the time.

While McConnell wants his colleagues to run away from the historically unpopular Trump, Politico reports that Democrats plan to tie Senate Republicans to Trump as often as possible.

Given their willingness to consistently embrace Trump's agenda at every turn, Republicans will have a hard time convincing Americans that they have any independence at all.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.