by Julie Kelly
Dear Leader McConnell and Members of the Republican Senate:
As Jack Nicholson said in “Terms of Endearment,” you were just inches from a clean getaway.
Armed with a wholly unimpressive list of accomplishments from the past four years, with the exception of confirming hundreds of federal judges, you were prepared to return home to defend your paltry record with little more than the argument that the other side is much, much worse. Which, lucky for you, is true.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the campaign trail: Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. Reliable news outlets reported that in her final days, the Clinton-appointed Supreme Court justice dictated a statement to her granddaughter indicating she wanted the “new president” to appoint her replacement, the latest in a series of Trump-fixated dying requests.
Fortunately, many constitutional scholars have assured us that no “Election Year Death-Bed Wish” provision exists. Nor does a “Feelings of Jeff Flake” clause or “MSNBC Meltdown” disclaimer. Subsequent case law does not affirm that the random rantings of bartenders-turned-congresspersons should in any way guide such a venerated process.
All of which means you have a big decision to make. And this could be the chance to redeem yourselves for a multitude of egregious mistakes made during Trump’s first term, conduct that many voters in the Republican base consider an unforgivable abdication of power.
Your success in defending the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh amid one of the most despicable character assassinations in modern political history notwithstanding, Senate Republicans have done nothing to confront the Left’s nonstop assault against the president, his family, his administration, and by default, his supporters.
Check that. It’s not that you failed because saying you failed would suggest that you even tried to defend the president of your own party. In too many instances, Senate Republicans acted as accomplices in the Left’s reckless anti-Trump crusade.
The appointment of Robert Mueller, Barack Obama’s longtime FBI director, to investigate the imaginary crime of Russian election collusion will go down in Republican Party history as one of the worst political mistakes of all time. You knew full well by the time Mueller was appointed in May 2017 that Trump-Russia “collusion” was a total falsehood fabricated by the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign operatives.
But you demanded a special counsel after the president fired the treacherous James Comey as director of the FBI. When the Justice Department tasked Mueller with continuing the charade, a charade you knew would cripple the president for months if not years, you swooned.
Leader McConnell, you repeatedly lauded Mueller and his work. Senator Ben Sasse, who has remained silent on the real scandal—how Obama’s White House weaponized the most powerful government agencies in the world against Donald Trump—called Mueller an “exceptional public servant” and applauded his “record, character, and trustworthiness.” Senator John Cornyn, you assured us that Mueller is a “well-respected law enforcement professional.”
Senator Susan Collins, remember how you insisted Mueller “has sterling credentials and is above reproach?” You had no qualms back then about the appointment of an unelected, unchecked, and extra-constitutional partisan prosecutor, but now that you’re up for reelection the idea of filling a legitimate vacancy on the nation’s highest court based on clear constitutional guidance and precedent gives you the heebie-jeebies? What gives?
While Andrew Weismann, er, Robert Mueller (wink, wink) spent millions of our tax dollars and concocted bogus charges against Trump associates, you protected him. Remember when the president and others raised legit concerns about Team Mueller’s conduct? Some of you collaborated with Senate Democrats to author a bill that ensured Mueller would be permitted to “conduct fair and impartial investigations” without fear he would be fired by the president.
For all we know, without the involvement of William Barr in the spring of 2019, Mueller would still be conducting early morning raids on senior citizens to the delight of CNN viewers and you guys would still be paying the bills.
At the same time, you’ve been completely impotent in exposing Obamagate or holding anyone accountable. Letter after letter went unanswered. Deadlines expired without any repercussions. Promised public reckonings never happened; subpoenas for Obamagate perpetrators are still threatened as the clock runs out and public interest wanes.
That’s only one part of your collective dereliction of duty. After the president tried to curb record numbers of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the country, 12 of you sided with Democrats and voted to overturn his emergency declaration to defend the southern border.
This included you, Senator Lisa Murkowski; you solemnly lectured us about your deep regard for the separation of powers. “This is about making sure that we respect the lines and the lanes of the authorities that are laid out in the Constitution,” Murkowsi preached way back in February 2019.
But oddly those lanes and lines have disappeared as Senator Murkowski plans to abdicate her constitutional duties by refusing to consider President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Apparently there is some “not before Election Day” lane in the Constitution that only Senator Murkowski knows about.
After the president was impeached on the thinnest of grounds in a successful attempt to bury bad news about the Biden family’s overseas grift, Senator Mitt Romney earned his long-desired place in the history books as the first senator to vote to convict a president of his own party. What was his intra-party punishment for that betrayal? Nothing.
Now we await yet another lecture from the two-time presidential loser about why he plans to “follow his conscience” and refuse to vote for Trump’s candidate before the election.
Senator Romney’s conscience, however, has been MIA since declaring his support for Black Lives Matter. While BLM thugs harass innocent people at restaurants and roadways, steal their way to reparations, and promise more violence until they’re satisfied, Romney is uncharacteristically quiet. Where are you, Pierre Delecto? Saving your fire for the Bad Orange Man instead of the perpetrators of the country’s race war?
Which reminds me that most of you have played along with the BLM movement in one way or another; bending the proverbial knee to agitators who despise everything you claim to honor. Some of you, including Leader McConnell, offered emotional tributes to George Floyd from the Senate floor last June and bolstered the Left’s mantra about “systemic racism.”
Senators Ron Johnson and James Lankford, remember when you suggested replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth Day after Senator Johnson worked with his far-left colleague from Massachusetts to invent a new national holiday? That did wonders for racial comity since BLM vandals and ambushers have really settled down since then.
So, fellow Republicans, you now have a chance to redeem yourselves for all the broken promises, craven capitulations, and straight-up betrayal of your constituencies. Accept the president’s nominee and move forward without delay on confirmation. And when the expected attacks against the nominee are unleashed by Democrats, don’t do what you did during the Kavanaugh debacle by appeasing the false accusers while making a bad situation worse. Move full steam ahead—before Election Day.
Then let the political chips fall where they may. You’ve been a big disappointment to the Republican base during Trump’s first term. End with a bang and show that you deserve to try again.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project.
Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Ken Lund CC2.0