Former GOP Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) helped draft articles for Bill Clinton’s impeachment back in the day. But now he says the allegations against Donald Trump are far more serious, and wants his party to stop being hypocrites and do something about it.
In June, he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post urging his fellow Republicans to get serious about investigating Donald Trump, his ties to Russia, and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) asserted last week that if the president were a Democrat, the House wouldn’t be pursing impeachment. He must know that’s not true.
Back in 1998, Bob Inglis excoriated then-President Bill Clinton for covering up his affair with Monica Lewinski, declaring, “If he had a shred of honor, he’d resign.” But unlike today’s GOP lawmakers, he’s holding Donald Trump to the same standard.
On Friday, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell brought him in to discuss his views further. First he mentioned that public censure or a reprimand may have been a better option. Then he pointed out that if Hillary Clinton were in the White house, the GOP would be “moving towards impeachment already.”
“Let’s say that Hillary Clinton had won, and let’s say that James Comey, Director of the FBI, had reopened the investigation into the private email server. And let’s say that she didn’t like that, and then she fired him. Republicans would be howling, and rightly so, because it would look very suspicious.”
He went on to say that Donald Trump has done all those things they’d be livid, but instead of going after him, “Republicans are whimpering.”
“…that’s a problem. We need to get to the bottom of this. We need to restore confidence in our government and in our electoral system. […] And it’s incumbent on my party to really get to the bottom of this and pursue this investigation of Russian connections with real vigor.”
But guess what? For the GOP, undermining our faith in our government and in our electoral system is the point. Since most of us would never willingly give up our Social Security, Medicare, access to health care, and other vital public services, they can only win elections by lying, cheating, and keeping voters away from the polls.
Bob Inglis went on to blame the current state of affairs on a “sycophantic media,” namely Fox “News.”
“What you end up with is a media that supports that 38 percent that is Donald Trump’s support and gives them the steady diet of explaining, rationalizing, and normalizing his behavior.”
He adds that the media was better at holding public figures accountable back in the day. When former President Richard Nixon got caught up in the Watergate scandal, GOP leaders knew they’d face tough questions from the three major news stations, and the nation would be watching. Now, we choose our own news.
The folks at Fox & Friends fawn over Donald Trump and report his wiretapping accusations and other lies “as though they were proven fact.” Meanwhile Donald Trump is “demeaning” the White House, and Bob Inglis wants his fellow Republicans to “show a little independent nerve and some real respect for the office and respect for the process to step forward.”
The former congressman explains that he gets why members of his party fear that “38 percent” who voted for Donald Trump. After all, he himself got “shot through” by a similar voting demographic in his final campaign.
Yet he hopes those still in office will find it in them to show that courage.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have some major soul searching to do. They helped create the Fox News monster by failing to revive the long-dead Fairness Doctrine when they’ve been in power and had the chance.
Since airwaves are a public resource, the FCC requires that news stations with broadcasting licenses give equal time to contrasting views on news and issues of public importance. This kept TV stations in check until President Ronald Reagan’s second term.
The FCC’s chairman, Mark Fowler, started chipping away at it, and in 1987 an FCC panel repealed the Fairness Doctrine entirely. This allowed Fox News to run rampant with its right-wing lies. Yet, for some reason, the Democrats have never bothered t0 get it reinstated, even when they’ve controlled the White House and Congress.
And now it’s about to get worse, because the Sinclair Broadcast Group is gobbling up local news stations like crazy, and they’re so right-wing, they make the folks at Fox look pleasantly neutral.
Watch: Former GOP Rep. Bob Inglis talks about his party’s hypocrisy with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
Featured image: Video screen grab/MSNBC.