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Who will challenge Trump's enablers?

E.J. Dionne Jr. on

WASHINGTON -- Great nations and proud democracies fall when their systems become so corrupted that the decay is not even noticed -- or the rot is written off as a normal part of politics.

President Trump has created exactly such a crisis. He has not done it alone. The corrosion of norms and values began long before he propelled the nation past the edge, and his own party is broadly complicit in enabling his attacks on truth, decency and democratic values.

In fact, Republicans are taking full advantage of the bedlam Trump leaves in his wake. They are using a twisted process to push through a profoundly flawed tax bill with scant scrutiny.

The convoluted proposal is so generous to the wealthiest interests in the country and so damaging to significant parts of the middle class and the poor that GOP leaders know it would not survive extended debate.

They dare not take on Trump because doing so might derail the pursuit of what are now their party's only driving purposes: court packing, the care and feeding of the privileged, and the gutting of federal social services and regulation. This, too, is a form of corruption, a refusal to face larger questions when partisan political victories are at hand.

We are so inured to the chaos and the lying that characterize Trump's presidency that we see each outrage as little more than another passing episode on an ongoing cable news drama.

 

But events of just the last few days should remind us that the longer this president is in power, the weaker our country will become.

On Wednesday morning, the nation learned that it has a president who traffics in fascist propaganda -- and I am not using the "f" word lightly. Trump retweeted three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos of unknown accuracy put out by an ultra-right British group called Britain First.

Britain's Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May was horrified and did not mince words in a statement criticizing Trump for distributing "hateful narratives." She added that "British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents: decency, tolerance and respect."

We'd like to think that the United States is also a nation of decency, tolerance and respect. We can't make this claim while Trump is president.

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