I’m sure you heard by now about former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ rebuke of Donald Trump in the aftermath of his Battle Hymn of the Trumpublic performance where he “marched” across the street from the White House to St. John’s church for a “save the evangelical vote” photo op.
In what is his first public criticism of his former boss since resigning in December 2018, Mattis nailed Trump for his police-state threats against protesters, and he criticized top military leaders who have been serving as Trump’s enablers. His statement read in part:
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.
Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the
consequences of three years without mature leadership.
“We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and
hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s ‘better angels,’ and listen to them, as we work to unite.”
Of course, Trump responded with a Tweet filled with lies about Mattis’ qualifications (Trump called him “overrated”) and his failure to do his job (only the best people, remember?). Trump also said he fired Mattis (the general resigned) and claimed to be responsible for giving Mattis his “Mad Dog” nickname (he has been called Mad Dog since the 2004 Battle of Fallujah in Iraq).
…His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom “brought home the bacon”. I didn’t like his “leadership” style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020
Reaction to Mattis’ critique and Trump’s response has been mixed, but Lisa Murkowski and a few other Republican “moderates” appear to support the general for saying things many in the GOP lack the courage to say themselves. In a statement to reporters, she said:
“When I saw General Mattis’ comments yesterday, I felt like perhaps we are getting to a point where we can be more honest with the concerns we might hold internally and have the courage of our own convictions to speak up.”
In the days before Trump, words like honest, courage, and convictions had meaning. But in the Age of Trump, where nationalism and socialism have replaced conservatism within the Republican Party, and where fealty to Trump has become the party platform, values such as these no longer exist.
Besides her admission, essentially, of the complete lack of character and courage within the Republican party (might hold?), many of Murkowski’s fellow cowards showed how the party isn’t endowed with even a fragment of the courage General Mattis possesses.
“It’s General Mattis’ opinion, he’s free to express it.”
~ Sen. Ron Johnson
“It’s just politically fashionable to blame Trump for everything—and I’m not buying it.”
~ Lindsey Graham (2013 enshrinee in my Gutless On Principles Hall of Shame)
Murkowski and members of the GOP who are just like her may or may not agree with or support Trump. But one thing they do agree on and support is their re-election. And that’s a lot more important to them than trivial things like courage and conviction.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.