Following the fallout when video was revealed of Donald speaking about women in a very lewd way, which came to be known as #pussygate on Twitter, Republicans had a moral dilemma on their hands. They knew that from that moment on they would have to decide if their own reputations were worth being dragged through the mud if they endorsed Trump, against their own better judgments.
Many Republicans called for Trump to drop out of the race, yet here we are on the brink of the election and Trump remains, with continued ignominious backing by the GOP. It’s a case study in how far they are really prepared to go to back their party over their own integrity and over the wellbeing of the country as whole.
As a perfect example of this baffling and waffling moral dilemma, these were the words of Republican House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman, Jason Chaffetz on October 7th on CNN following #pussygate:
‘I’m out. I can no longer endorse Donald Trump for president. There’s no possible way I vote for Hillary Clinton. But, these are abhorrent. They are wrong. To use a baseball metaphor, I’ve got to call balls and strikes the way I feel. And, you know, my wife, Julie and I, we’ve got a 15-year-old daughter. Do you think I can look her in the eye and tell her that I endorse Donald Trump for President when he acts like this in his apology? That was no apology. That was an apology for getting caught. To say that Bill Clinton did it, and did it worse. I mean, that should have been his first clue that it was the wrong behavior. I’m not going to put my good name and reputation, and my family behind Donald Trump for President when he acts like this. I just can’t do it.’
Then, on October 26th, Chaffetz tweeted the following, admitting that he would vote for Trump:
I will not defend or endorse @realDonaldTrump, but I am voting for him. HRC is that bad. HRC is bad for the USA.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) October 27, 2016
In some high-wire ballet of mental gymnastics, Chaffetz has rationalized that his admitting he will go ahead and vote for Trump publicly is not the same thing as an actual endorsement. Hmmm.
Chaffetz then appeared in another CNN interview, this time with Wolf Blitzer.
‘What is the difference? If you tell your supporters in Utah, ‘I’m voting for Donald Trump.’ That sounds to me like an endorsement,’ said Wolf Blitzer.
‘Well…I think they’re different. I think the endorsement is far different than who you actually vote for and uh…you know, it’s the one vote I actually do for myself. I don’t represent anybody else,’ said Chaffetz.
At some point, Chaffetz decided to mentally separate a formal endorsement from publicly announcing his vote. Wolf Blitzer pushed Chaffetz to find out if there was new information that led to his tweet.
‘I think I’ve been contemplating this for some time. There wasn’t some magical moment that happened, but you know, I’ve tried to champion openness and transparency. I thought maybe I could go through this without having to talk about who I was actually going to vote for. But people wanted to know, and I’m in a public spot, so I said, alright I’ll tell you who I’m going to vote for, and I’m going to vote for Donald Trump.’
But don’t call it an endorsement. Let that sink in.
Chaffetz then claimed he didn’t have inside information about leaked information from Anthony Weiner’s laptop before he choose to tweet his decision to vote from Trump.
In 2012, Chaffetz made news for outing a classified CIA operation on C-SPAN, with the presumed strategy of ‘aiming to embarrass the Obama administration over State Department security lapses.’ This put the national security of the United States at risk. So it comes as no surprise that he could rationalize his vote, as long as it has any chance of stopping the Democrat, right?
He continues to cheer on the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails just days before the election:
FBI Dir just informed me, "The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation." Case reopened
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) October 28, 2016
Chaffetz’s stance on voting for Trump echoes that of many Republicans, such as Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. They appear to put political gamesmanship above their principles. It seems that when it comes down to it, it becomes a simple choice of voting for the Republican candidate – no matter what. They will vote against their better instincts, and principles, to defend their partisan politics.
‘So they can’t win, and she can come in with Democratic congress — worst of all possible things — if Republicans do not turn out and do not vote,’ ~Paul Ryan
Republicans are trying to convince their party followers to let go of their principles – to let go of their concerns about putting a dangerous demagogue in the White House. They are asking them to ignore what they have seen and heard from Donald Trump and to vote down party lines instead. Will the voters ignore what they have seen and play into the political game, or will they prove that the game is over for Trump and the extremist-enabling partisan ways of current Republican politics?
See the video with Jason Chaffetz and Wolf Blitzer below: