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The GOP's time for choosing

E.J. Dionne Jr. on

Even if many Republicans have no problem these days labeling nearly all Democrats "socialists" based on the self-descriptions of a few in the party's ranks, it's obvious that no one should call out the entire GOP for the plotting of a fanatical would-be assassin.

One can, however, ask all responsible Republicans to deplore right-wing fanaticism and to take the threat of homegrown white nationalist terrorism as seriously as they do terrorism inspired from abroad. It is entirely fair to imagine that the GOP (and, especially, the president) would have a lot more to say if Hasson had been, say, a Muslim.

And it is important to examine the public statements of the president himself, his efforts to divide the country, and his constant demonizing of all those who oppose him.

Let's go back to Rockefeller's words: Day after day, Trump truly is a hawker of hate, a purveyor of prejudice, and a fabricator of fear. Prejudice and fear are at the heart of his invocation of national emergency powers to build his wall, an abuse of authority that ought to horrify all who proudly call themselves "constitutional conservatives."

The good news is that Republicans will soon have an opportunity to tell us who they are. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called a vote this week on a measure rejecting Trump's emergency declaration. The House is virtually certain to pass it. The Senate, by law, will be required to take it up.

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It's not too much to say that history will notice how many Republicans choose to separate themselves from Trump's extremism.

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E.J. Dionne is on Twitter: @EJDionne.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group


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