Offensive? Despicable? That's all in the past, Mr. President.

Wednesday , December 06, 2017 - 5:00 AM4 comments

DON PORTER, special to the Standard-Examiner

I don’t know for sure whether it was old-fashioned respect for the office of the president of the United States or naked hypocrisy, but it certainly was a display of something Monday when Utah’s top politicians cozied up to tweeter-in-chief Donald Trump.

The civics lesson for the day was this: No matter how morally loathsome and intellectually deficient our president has proven himself to be, the choice made by our Beehive State leaders has been to embrace Trump. Why? Because he can, and he will, do their bidding when it comes to environmental and tax policy.

I believe their collective rationalization is that simple, because they cannot credibly argue against the fact that Trump is:

  • A compulsive liar.
  • A braggart regarding his confessed habit of sexually assaulting females.
  • An apologist for Nazi-loving racists.
  • A homophobe who wants to expel thousands of transgender troops from the U.S. military.
  • An enemy of the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press.
  • A politician who continues to undermine confidence in the nation’s electoral system.
  • A president who does not respect the separation of powers established in the U.S. Constitution.
  • An ignoramus who not only doesn’t understand U.S. foreign policy, but has done his best to undermine it with rude and childish tweets.
  • A sleazy old man who made reference to a friend’s risqué behavior in a speech to an audience of Boy Scouts.
  • An Islamophobe who retweets anti-Muslim videos from British hate groups.
  • An insecure leader who falsely accused U.S President Barack Obama of wiretapping New York City’s Trump Tower.
  • And … this is way too easy.

The whole thing reminds me of something George Bernard Shaw wrote: “What is the use of straining after an amiable view of things, when a cynical view is most likely to be the true one?”

I’m not a cynic yet, I would argue, but the sort of politics we all saw Monday are pushing me in that direction.

After all, think back to October 2016, in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” recording. Gov. Gary Herbert tweeted, “Donald Trump’s statements are beyond offensive & despicable. While I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I will not vote for Trump.” Even so, there he was on the Tarmac at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, big ol’ grin on his face and shaking the p-grabber’s hand. Enthusiastically.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, in October 2016, said Trump’s “comments were offensive and disgusting. There is no excuse for such degrading behavior. All women deserve to be treated with respect.”

Cut to last week, when Hatch said Trump is “one of the best (presidents) I’ve served under” during an MSNBC interview.

Makes me proud. Does it make you proud, too?

Sen. Mike Lee, also in October 2016, said, “Donald Trump is a distraction. It’s time for him to step aside so we can focus on the winning ideas that will carry Republicans through to a victory in November.”

On Monday, Lee and Hatch hopped a ride to Utah on Air Force One with Trump — the “distraction” who uttered “offensive and disgusting” comments and whose behavior is “degrading.” They were all back-slapping and chummy, as far as I could see.

Reps. Chris Stewart and Mia Love had called for Trump to step aside. Rep. Rob Bishop wouldn’t fake it, bless his heart; he said he’d still vote for the sexual assaulter to be president of the United States.

On Monday, true to form, all three were smiling, applauding and waving — along with just-elected Rep. John Curtis – from the podium where Trump made his remarks about reducing the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments.

Now I’m sure they’re all back in Washington, D.C., waiting to cast votes in favor of the GOP tax cut – yet another step in their quest to govern morally and ethically. I assume they sleep well, though I don’t know how.

You can email Don Porter at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @DonPondorter.

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