Peter Wehner on Wednesday argued that the most worrying part of Donald Trump’s increasingly authoritarian rhetoric is the willingness of other Republicans to continue supporting the former president by simply looking the other way.
“That Trump would say what he’s said and done what he’s done is no surprise; he is a profoundly damaged human being, emotionally and psychologically. And he’s been entirely transparent about who he is,” Wehner, who was a senior aide to former President George W. Bush, wrote in an essay for The Atlantic.
But “the most troubling aspect of this whole troubling drama has been the people in the Republican Party who, though they know better, have accommodated themselves to Trump’s corruptions time after time after time,” he said. “Some cheer him on; others silently go along for the ride. A few gently criticize him and then quickly change topics. But they never leave him.”
Republicans ease their “inner conflict” of loyalty to Trump by embracing conspiracy theories and catastrophism, he added.
Trump remains the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 with polling numbers around 59%, despite his myriad legal woes.
Recent general election polls have also indicated he is leading President Joe Biden in swing states should they replay the 2020 vote next year. Commentators have urged caution about reading too much into polling so far ahead of Election Day, however.