How Republicans Got Trump Catastrophically Wrong

By McKay Coppins

During last year’s election—back before Washington Republicans awoke to the dangers of an erratic and impulsive commander-in-chief tweeting his way into “World War III”—there was a common argument deployed by party loyalists in defense of Donald Trump: He’ll behave himself once he’s in office.

GOP leaders generally acknowledged (on and off the record) that their nominee’s reckless campaign-trail persona was not suitable for the leader of the free world—but they insisted there would be a difference between Candidate Trump and President Trump. He would surround himself with competent advisers; lean on the good judgment of his running-mate Mike Pence; and mellow out as he confronted the full burdens of the office.

Pay no attention to the nervous nellies fretting about Trump’s temperament, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the time: “I think Donald Trump will understand when he’s sworn in the limits of his authority. He’ll have a White House counsel. There will be others who point out there’s certain things you can do and you can’t do. And it’s not quite like, you know, making a speech before a big audience and entertaining people. And I think he’s a smart guy, and I think he’s going to figure that out. So I’m not worried about it.”

Don’t get hung up on the frivolous personality issues, said House Speaker Paul Ryan: “It’s not just a choice of two people, but two visions for America”—and Republicans needed a president who would sign their conservative legislation.

Ironically, this sentiment was perhaps best articulated by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker—the Republican chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee who has emerged in recent days as the leading Republican voice sounding the alarm about the president’s volatility and incompetence.  In a 2016 interview with the Tennessean newspaper, Corker dismissed what he called the “caricature” …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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